Jim Zieff

I have been given the opportunity to say a few words about Jim for his own page on
the Sailing Heals website! Imagine that? I can’t resist reminding those of you who
knew Jim what an interesting and unusual man he was. Among many things Jim’s
daughter, Karen, has written about him, my favorite is her reference to him as a “one
eyed wonder!” Jim’s sight in his left his eye was destroyed at his birth in 1933. It
never held him back, nor did a series of other ailments he endured as a youth.
He managed to build a career as a developer/contractor including projects in the
Boston suburbs and Virginia. Most acquaintances know his work at The Village of
Vinnin Square on the Salem/Swampscott border off Loring Avenue. It is a huge
development of condos, midrise buildings and town houses much in demand at the
time for families that had owned large homes in the area while they were raising
their families. When “empty nest” came about, the Moms and Dads wanted to size
down but they were not willing to loose the quality of their homes. Jim’s vision
afforded them that luxury and the homes were snapped up preconstruction.
His career was intensive, but Jim knew how to relax. (I am laughing to myself as I
write this!) He relaxed by getting involved with the world of amateur PHRF
(performance racing handicap fleet) sailboat racing! Kind of intense, don’t you
Jim had always loved being on the water. He built his first sail boat as an adolescent
youth and it actually sailed.
He married in his early twenties and had three children with Ilene. Ilene endured
illnesses all the time managing to raise three children and support Jim in his efforts.
She passed away at the young age of 51.
This is where I come in. I met Jim and was immediately charmed. Who could not be
charmed by this man with the gruff exterior and very soft interior? He was
extremely busy and active with work and sailing. I had my own business in food
service and catering. Coincidently, Jim told me he had been at a function I catered in
support of a political candidate at the home of a prominent businessman in Weston,
And “So it goes.” Someone once said!! We fell in love and married and combined
our families—Jim’s three and my two! Here’s another saying. “The rest is
history!” Together we shared in our children’s lives. We watched them marry and
have babies—altogether now we have 10 grandchildren!
Jim and I shuffled back and forth(snow birds) from Marblehead, MA to Aventura, FL
still enjoying a life on the water. Sailing was replaced by motor boating. We
traveled up and down the East Coast on June Abbey our, 46-foot aft cabin motor
yacht he named after me!!!!
And then, Jim left. It’s been two years since he passed on to another adventure. His
presence was so commanding that I know he is with me every day. He lives on in
the souls of Karen, Martin and Steven and their kids—and, yes, he lives on in the

souls of his stepchildren, Erik and Bethany and their kids. That’s really saying something, isn’t it!

~ June