James A. Wilferth of Bristol, January 20, 2013 at age 51 years. Survived by his daughters, Sabrina (Joel) Wilferth of Honeoye & and Jillian Katrak of Canandaigua. Close friend, Kari Wilferth of South Bristol. Mother, Dorothy Wilferth of Brighton. Brothers, William (Becky) Wilferth of Venice,FL, John (Leslie) Wilferth of Pittsford & Thomas Wilferth of Bristol. His dog, Ziggy. He owned Victor Power Equipment in Victor.
Friends may call Sunday January 27, 2013 from 1 – 3 PM at Kevin W. Dougherty Funeral Home, Inc. 8624 Main St., Route 20A, HONEOYE, where services will follow visitation. Memorial contributions to the Serenity House, 1278 Brace Rd. Victor, NY 14564. To send condolences, visit: www.doughertyfuneralhomes.com
Victor, N.Y. — From The Messenger Post – Sunday January 27, 2013
Jim Wilferth was never one to shy away from hard work. Not a chance. The energetic, motivated giant stood 6 feet, 4 inches tall, and was 250 pounds of solid muscle. He lived life to the fullest and spent his days in hot pursuit of health and fitness, and it showed.
The Bristol resident and former owner of Victor Power Equipment carried himself with his head high — he was proud of the business he had built and the things he had accomplished.
But in June 2011, without warning, Mr. Wilferth suffered a seizure while driving that later revealed Stage 4 brain cancer — glioblastoma multiform.
On January 20, 2013, after a stubborn and courageous battle with cancer, James A. Wilferth passed away at age 51, surrounded by the people he loved.
The early years
Born in May 1961, Mr. Wilferth grew up in Brighton with three brothers. When he was just 10 years old, his father died, and Mr. Wilferth learned how to fend for himself, taking care of his mother with the help of his younger brother.
“He never talked much about he felt,” said former wife, Kari Wilferth. “He just said, ‘I don’t care what it takes, I’m not going to struggle like that (ever again).’”
In August 1991, Mr. Wilferth married Kari, and together they had a daughter, Sabrina, in December 1992.
“We met when I was 18 and we were best friends,” said Kari. “We had lots of ups and downs over the course of our marriage. We separated after five years of marriage. But it was the most amicable divorce there was. He always made sure we had what we needed.”
Mr. Wilferth and Kari remained close friends throughout his life.
Employed by his older brother at Oil Filter Service in Henrietta until 1995, Mr. Wilferth finally landed a job with the man who would change his life: John Oderkirk.
Rolling up his sleeves and digging in, Mr. Wilferth started at ground level in the parts and service department of Oderkirk’s on Maple Avenue in Victor — the business he would later own, and rename Victor Power Equipment.
“John always thought of him like a son and gave him that opportunity to own the business,” said Kari.
The store grew by leaps and bounds, and soon became known county-wide.
“As owner of Victor Power, Jim was able to elevate his business to a higher level of service, equipment sales, and customer satisfaction,” said Victor Village Mayor John Holden. “Jim’s innovative ideas for marketing made Victor Power a success in our community … a destination for Victor and surrounding communities. Jim was a great person to talk to and he will be sorely missed.”
In March 2012, after becoming ill, Mr. Wilferth chose Mike Knapp to take over his pride and joy — Victor Power and Lumber.
“Jim just thought so highly of him,” said Kari. “He wanted to choose somebody that would let his legacy live on. He knew that was Mike — they just clicked.”
Throughout his life Mr. Wilferth enjoyed his friends, camping, hunting, lake swimming, traveling, the Three Stooges, John Wayne and his western movies, and riding his Harley Davidson Motorcycle. He dreamed of one day retiring in New Mexico or somewhere out west in the desert. Mr. Wilferth also spent a lot of his free time in Swain, where he owned a home and had many friends.
A common thread over the years was Mr. Wilferth’s devotion to health and fitness. His diet consisted entirely of organic or all natural food, and he committed one to three hours each day of the week to working out.
“He wouldn’t even brush his teeth with a regular toothbrush,” said Kari. “He had to have an organic toothbrush. He was very into keeping healthy, and had his basement set up like a gym. That was his way of release.”
Life with Ziggy
From the day his daughter was born, Mr. Wilferth knew he wanted a dog. Seven years ago he finally got his wish in the form of a long-haired miniature Dachshund named Ziggy. From that moment on, the two were inseparable.
“If Jim had a pork chop or a T-bone for dinner, Ziggy had a pork chop or a T-bone for dinner,” said Kari. “He made him organic scrambled eggs and granola for breakfast in the morning. When Jim was driving, Ziggy was in his lap with his front paws on the wheel like he was driving.”
After he became sick, Mr. Wilferth reunited with his former wife’s family, along with many older friends. He did some traveling to Florida, Las Vegas, and Grenada, and spent time with family members. He became very close with an old friend, whom he cherished, Ross Anderson Sr. Mr. Wilferth also established a strong bond with his daughter, Sabrina’s, boyfriend, Joel Foti, and trusted that Joel would take care of his little girl.
In May 2012, Mr. Wilferth was also reunited with a second daughter, Jillian, whom he had never met.
“When Jim was diagnosed, it snapped him,” Kari said. “He became very carefree. He had such a new outlook on life. We reunited and we became best friends again. He taught us how to really live again.”
Focused on family
Sabrina Wilferth describes her father as one who gave over 100 percent, who was very hard working, and very devoted to his business.
“He was there seven days a week for many, many years,” she said. “I used to go on deliveries with him — he was a really good salesman. He was always giving personal service and building his business.”
Sabrina remembers her father’s ability to mentor people.
“They would always come up and want to ask his opinion on things,” she said. “They looked at him as a role model because he had built his business from the ground up.
“It takes a lot for someone to build a business,” Sabrina said. “But in spite of all of his hard work, he was still the best father I could ever have. He didn’t bring work problems home with him, and he wasn’t grumpy if he had a bad day at work. He was focused on family.”
Sabrina’s mother agreed.
“When Jim was running Victor Power Equipment, he would put on this persona,” said Kari, “but when he was with us, he could be himself. There was a whole different side of him from the business Jim to the personal Jim.
“If he taught me anything,” Kari said, “he taught me how to forgive and how to live for the moment.”