On February 26, James Bruce Tousant, a lifelong resident of Alexandria Bay, passed away peacefully at Hospice of Jefferson County in Watertown, NY where he had been a resident since February 16th.
Jim was born on February 9th, 1943, the son of James and Marie Wheeler Tousant, in the same house on Holland Street where he grew up with his sisters, Nancy (Leesburg, VA) and Sally (Alexandria Bay). Jim was predeceased by two half-brothers, Wallace Wilson and Stanley Tousant. Jim was the grandson of Chauncey “Chance” Wheeler, whose carvings are well known to those who appreciate and collect decoys.
On February 6, 1971, Jim married Carol Santuccio in Pittsford, NY. Jim and Carol lived in their home on the St Lawrence River year-round for 52 years. They had two children; Ryan, who resides in Syracuse, and Brianna (James) Uhlinger, of Carthage. They also welcomed two grandchildren; Ashlynne (5) & Chance (4). Jim is also survived by two nieces, Jill and Janet Santuccio (Colorado), and a nephew, Howard Dawley (Virginia). Jim also had a large extended family on the Uhlinger side, including Brandan (Kaylee), Harley, James III, and Madison.
Jim graduated from Alexandria Central in 1961, where he was an avid sportsman, playing iron man football, basketball, and baseball throughout his high school career. He briefly attended Buffalo State on a football scholarship. Growing up, Jim also loved music. He played the guitar with his good friend John Comstock and he was also the lead singer in a local band called The Stingrays with Neil Spence and John Petrie.
Jim had many business adventures with his good pal, Norm Hutchinson. Together they ran the Heads and Tails Diner on James Street and also the Crossroads Grocery Store. For nearly 30 years, Jim was a fixture behind the bar at Cavallario’s Steakhouse, known for his friendly smile and big personality. He would welcome and entertain customers with his stories, humor, and cocktails (he made the best muddled Old Fashioneds), with many of his customers turning into old friends. Cavallario’s is also where Jim met his wife Carol. After retiring from the bar, Jim was a rural mail carrier in Clayton, NY, where he made many more friends, for almost 20 years before retiring for good.
When he wasn’t working, Jim enjoyed time with his friends and family. He passed on his love of music, bar hospitality, and life in the Bay to both his kids. Growing up, Ryan and Brie were familiar with hearing “I know your Dad” most places they would go. For several years his favorite place was the golf course where you could find him playing a round with Murray Taitt, Frank Cavallario, and many others. He loved a good card game, and was a lifelong fan of the NY Giants and NY Yankees. When at home, Jim always welcomed visitors to sit at the counter, have a cold drink, tell stories, and listen to music. Jim was also a founding member of the Alex Bay Sportsman’s Association, along with Norm Hutchinson, Mike Bresnahan and other local characters. Their family-oriented fishing derby was a favorite in the community for 25 years.
“Tous” will be very much missed! He dearly loved his town and the people in it.
Calling hours will be held on Monday, March 6th from 3:00 until 6:00 pm at Costello Funeral Home.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Foundation for Community Betterment (Alexandria Bay Chapter) at www.communitybetterment.org/alexandriabay or to the Alexandria Bay Food Pantry at www.communitybetterment.org/alexandriabay