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James Yaman

Obituary of James Yaman


James J. Yaman, 96, of Cortland, New York was surrounded by his family when he passed away March 22, 2016 at his home on 12 Hickory Lane in Cortland, New York. Jim was born May 9, 1919 in Cortland, New York, the son of the late Dieb and Martha Yaman.

Jim was a graduate of Cortland Normal School “Cortland State” in 1940 with a degree in history. After graduation, Jim faithfully served his country in World War II from 1942-1946. In 1950, Jim Yaman opened the doors to Yaman Real Estate.

Jim will always be remembered for being a man of integrity. He was passionately dedicated to bettering the Cortland community that he so loved. He touched countless lives through his generous spirit, being especially passionate about aiding those less fortunate.

In 1969, Jim donated land to the City of Cortland that would become Yaman Park. His only request was that the park be named after his father, Dieb Yaman, a peddler immigrant from Lebanon who loved children.

He was a beloved mentor to countless members of the community. He will be remembered for positively impacting lives of many, both personally and professionally.

Under his guidance, those that worked with Jim found him to be a man of true loyalty, humility, and vision. Many remember Jim as intensely focused and driven; relentless when pursuing a goal or vision in his life. He was a well-respected and admired businessman. He was very successful in his 60+ years in the real estate profession, yet will always be remembered for expressing that he never worked for money; he simply did the best he could for those that came to him.

It was his family that made him most proud. He was a man of old family traditions and values and held the family as the most important element in ones’ life. These strong values were the pillar of the teachings that he embodied, those of which he will leave behind.

He was always known for his exceptionally progressive thinking, and never held to a singular truth, rather always seeking to further educate himself.

Jim was a proud American Lebanese man. He held a particularly fond place in his heart for Lebanese families who called Central New York their home, and was noted to have actively reached out to others offering his assistance in any way they found useful.

Jim was often noted for giving others insight into his favorite quote by the Lebanese Ambassador to the United States, Charles Malik; he used it for the inspiration of his life:

“And let me add this….that the most important thing in life is not material success, although that is nothing to be ashamed of; nor social success, although that is very honorable; nor political success, although that is always a great thing to admire and to achieve….the greatest thing in life is friendship, and happy are those who know the secret to friendship and retain it through all stress and strain…and without being disloyal to their dearest friends.”

Jim was, above all else, a true friend.

He is survived by Dorothy “Dottie” Kelly, partner of 35 years, sons Paul (Jackie) Yaman, David (Susan) Yaman and Daniel (Debbie) Yaman, grandchildren Jamie (Valentina) Yaman, Emily Yaman, Molly Yaman, Jason Yaman, Alyson Yaman, Sara and Joe Sturges, Michael, Caitlyn, and Alex Stevens and great-grand-child Ariana Compardo along with and beloved brother in-law Russell Wanish. Jim was predeceased by his previous wife Jeanne Yaman and sister Laurice Wanish.

The family will receive friends at the Wright-Beard Funeral Home on Friday, March 25, 2016 from 3pm to 7pm at 9 Lincoln Avenue, Cortland, New York. A funeral service to celebrate Jim’s life will be held at St. Mary’s Church on Saturday, March 26, 2016 at 8:30am. A burial will follow the service at the St. Mary’s Cemetery. In lieu of flowers please consider a contribution to the Cortland Youth Bureau in support of Yaman Park at 35 Port Watson Street Cortland, New York 13045.

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