Jim Laurent, age 81, passed away at his home in Rotonda West, surrounded by family on Tuesday, November 14, 2017. He was born August 2, 1936 in Point Marion, Pennsylvania to Joseph and Irene (Krovac) Laurent and spent most of his childhood in Mt Vernon, Ohio.
From his apprenticeship as a glass cutter to his mentorship of high school students in the Englewood area, Jim was a man who wore many hats and his passion for life was unlike any other. He served 24 years in the US Air Force, specializing in radio communications. Early in his career, he spent time in Germany as a part of the 6911 RGM division where he made many life long friends and met his wife Gisela. He later worked in the White House Communications Agency serving under former Presidents Nixon, Carter and Ford. After his lucrative career in the Air Force, he worked for Sun Air Electronics in Ft Lauredale, FL, was active in the South Florida Soccer community and enjoyed officiating basketball. He retired to Rotonda in 2007 and quickly became the man about town. Affectionately known to many as Buckeye Jim or Choo Choo, he was involved in the Rotonda Buckeye Club and could be found most Tuesday nights chugging along to the local bluegrass band, tooting his horn every chance he got. He was very proud of his association as a Fourth Degree with the Knights of Columbus as well as his involvement with Big Brothers and Big Sisters. He spent many hours being a role model and building lasting relationships along the way. As an executive member on the BBBS board, Jim played a vital role in annual events such as Chef's Cooking with Kids, golf tournament and many other fundraisers. He loved spending time with his family and friend, sharing stories of his life and making us all laugh. He was an amazing husband, father, grandfather and if you were luck enough to cross his path you had a friend for life.
He is survived by his wife of 57 years, Gisela; his children Christina Laurent, Michael Laurent and Corinna Laurent; granddaughter Kimberly Laurent; sister Joan (Ernest) Kalman and brother David Laurent; nephew Jeffrey Kalman and many beloved family and friends.
Visitation will be held from 5pm until 7pm on Monday November 20, 2017 at Lemon Bay Funeral Home. A Mass of Christian Burial will be held at 9:30 am November 21, 2017 at St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Church in Englewood.
In Lieu of Flowers, donations may be made to Big Brothers and Big Sisters of Suncoast in his memory.