James E. Hopkins November 12, 2021 James E. Hopkins, 61, of State Route 41A, Moravia, died suddenly November 12th following complications related to a breakthrough case of COVID-19.
Born in Cortland Memorial Hospital, he considered DeRuyter, NY his hometown, where he graduated salutatorian of his high school before going on to earn a B.S. degree in Journalism & Public Relations at Utica College of Syracuse University. His work ethic started at a very young age when he spent summers helping out at local farms. Post-college, he was a newspaper reporter in Little Falls, then went on to a position with Cortland County social services, where he met his late wife, Nancy. Jim put his all into every endeavor, personal and professional. Over the years he served several companies, including Schwan’s and Paychex, where he met many customers who adored him for his dedicated service and humorous personality. Most recently, he spent the last decade in Homer as a financial advisor for Edward Jones. He took great pride in being able to, in his own words, “help neighbors stay on the right path toward achieving their financial goals.”
Jim was deeply rooted in the civic organizations of his two favorite communities – Homer and DeRuyter. He was truly a people person and a go-getter, pursuing activities that would improve himself and improve the quality of life for others. His enthusiasm and can-do attitude meant he’d almost always end up in a leadership position in the local organizations to which he belonged. At various times he was the leader of the local Toastmasters Club, Past President of the Cortland Breakfast Rotary Club, President of the Homer Business Association, President of the DeRuyter Ruritan Club, and Board Chairman of the Center for the Arts of Homer, his “home away from home” and where he spent time on his last night, volunteering to help prep for an event.
Jim earned many top sales awards from Schwan’s, was honored with the Toastmaster of the Year award for 2015-2016 by his local club, and was recognized as May 2021 Extraordinary Person of the Month by WXHC-FM and Guthrie Cortland Medical Center. He would talk to everyone he encountered, listening to what they had to say to him in turn, and was a kind, giving man to absolutely anyone in need. He was the life of the party, the wry goofball, the pre-eminent ‘Dad joke’ teller, and the favorite person to his houseful of dogs and cats. He never shied away from a political or philosophical talk, sometimes playing the devil’s advocate to keep the conversation humming, but always maintaining his core beliefs.
To say Jim was proud of his child, Emily, is an understatement. No matter where in the country Emily’s career took them, Jim’s love, support, and enthusiasm followed. His niece and nephews will miss their “fun uncle” who traveled often to Pennsylvania for school performances and graduations, lent them a listening ear, and offered sage advice and pep talks. He had a big heart, his time on earth impacted countless lives, and his absence is felt deeply by us all.
He is predeceased by his parents, Harley and Janice (Marris) Hopkins; former wife, Nancy (Thiel) Hopkins; and stepson, Christopher Fox. Surviving are: cherished child, Emily Hopkins and their fiance, Allan Lasser of Indianapolis, IN; beloved girlfriend, Deborah Maconeghy Everts of Moravia, NY; loving sisters, Denise Hopkins of Ithaca, NY and Suzanne Hopkins of New Hartford, NY; adoring niece and nephews, Jennifer (Canuso) Thorpe, Joseph Canuso, Jr., James Canuso, and Stevie Canuso; and many aunts, uncles, and cousins through his extended Hopkins and Marris families.
Jim and Deb were active parishioners in the United Church of DeRuyter, located at 1632 Cortland St., DeRuyter, NY, where calling hours are planned for 5:30 p.m.-8:30 p.m. on Tuesday, November 23rd. A memorial ceremony with refreshments will start at 11:00 a.m. on Saturday, November 27th, at the Parish House of the United Church of DeRuyter, 1670 Cortland St., DeRuyter, NY. Burial to follow at the Quaker Basin Cemetery in DeRuyter. The family requests that those who come to pay their respects please wear a mask. In lieu of flowers, it is Jim’s wish that people send donations to the Center for the Arts of Homer, 72 S. Main St., Homer, NY 13077, or use the donate button online at www.center4art.org. Smith Funeral Home, DeRuyter, has arrangements.
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