Local Obits

Obituary of James E. LeFever


James (Jim) E. LeFever was born in Wheeling, IL on October 16, 1927. Peacefully on Thursday, May 18, 2023 at the age of 95, Jim died surrounded by family at the Guthrie Cortland Medical Center. The family would like to thank the caring staff on floor 2C for the exceptional comfort and care they provided him.


Predeceased by parents: Claude and Charlotte and brothers and sister: Glenn, Willard, George, Leo, Max LeFever, and Anna Faye Miles. He is survived by his loving wife Rena, married for 73 years. Dear father to René Murray, Nancy (Buzz Barber) LeFever and Paul LeFever. Loving grandfather to Amy Rascanin, Adrienne (Adam) Sutton, Allison (Luke) Jones, Ryan LeFever, Rayann LeFever, and great-grandchildren: Luka Rascanin, Brooke Sutton, Quinn Sutton, and Ruby Jones. Buzz’s children: Heather (John) Lellig, Duston Barber, Holly Barber and their families.

Jim graduated from Virgil School and in 1946 and enlisted in the US Navy, where he served for two years. In 1949, he joined the Virgil Department as a volunteer and remained an active member for 72 years. As a member of the Virgil Fire Department, he held positions as Property Clerk, Assistant Chief, Fire Chief, and Chairman of the Virgil Fire Commissioners.

Having grown up on a family farm, Jim started work at George Muncey’s Farm, followed by 19 years at Reed Brothers Farm. In 1970, he was hired as the Cortland County Fire Coordinator, where he was employed for 25 years. He was an active member of the Virgil Fire Department, the Cortland County Fireman’s Association, Central New York Fireman’s Association, the New York State Fireman’s Association, and the New York State Fire Chiefs Association and New York State Fire Coordinator Association. At Jim’s retirement party, he was honored by being named an Honorary Member of numerous Cortland County Fire Departments.

Jim loved to travel and when he retired, he and Rena, along with his sister-in-law, Marion and her husband, Wayne, travelled across the US for a month-long trip. Over the next four years, they visited all 48 continental states.

Calling hours will be held on Sunday, May 21 from 2 to 5 pm at Wright Beard Funeral Home, 9 Lincoln Avenue, Cortland, NY. A funeral service will be held on Monday, May 22 at 10 am at Wright Beard Funeral Home, with the burial at the Virgil Cemetery. To stream Jim’s funeral service please visit www.wright-beard.com, click on Jim’s obituary, then click live funeral stream.

In lieu of flowers, please send donations to the Virgil Fire Department, 1195 West State Road, Cortland, NY 13045 or to a charity of your choice.

To offer condolences online visit www.wright-beard.com

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