The Obit For Jim Ursillo

James Ursillo, 66

By Staten Island Advance
January 16, 2010, 2:34AM

STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. — Longtime Staten Islander James J. Ursillo, 66, of Eltingville, a loving family man and former N.Y. Mets minor- leaguer, died Wednesday of colon cancer in Staten Island University Hospital, Prince’s Bay.

Born in Brooklyn, he moved to Grymes Hills in 1965 and to Eltingville in 1968.

For 33 years, he co-owned AAW Travel Co., Brooklyn, a tour company catering to senior citizens, retiring in 2005. Earlier, he worked for brokerage firms on Wall Street, including E.F. Hutton.

The graduate of New Utrecht High School, Brooklyn, captained its baseball team. He later attended Fordham University, studying business.

A left-handed pitcher in the Ty Cobb League in Brooklyn, he was scouted by the Mets and signed a contract to play for the minor-league Triple AAA New York Mets team, from 1964-1966. During his time in the minors, he shared a room with legendary pitcher Nolan Ryan, according to family members, and the two remained friends through life.

Ursillo was called up to the big leagues in September of 1965, and pitched in his one and only game at Shea Stadium, family members say.

For his 45th birthday, he attended Ulti-Met Week, where he visited former friends from the minor leagues including Jerry Koosman and Tug McGraw.

Mr. Ursillo was a devout parishioner of Holy Child R.C. Church, Eltingville.

He often was in severe pain but never let it show, said his wife, the former Rosalie Lacagnino.

“He was a fun-loving, family-oriented person. He was always the life of the party. He enjoyed life,” his wife of 44 years added.

Mr. Ursillo loved to travel and had taken more than 150 cruises to the Caribbean, Alaska, Hawaii and Greece. He also enjoyed music, trips to Atlantic City and playing the slots.

A former member of St. Bernadette’s Bowling League and an Island softball league, he was fond of playing couples’ tennis with his wife, and golf several times a week.

He loved to socialize and spend time with friends and family, especially his grandchildren.

Surviving, along with his wife, are his daughters, Monica Passante, Jennifer Zweier and Justine Miller; two brothers, Joseph and Arthur, and four grandchildren.

The funeral will be Tuesday from the John Vincent Scalia Home for Funerals, Eltingville, with a mass at 10 a.m. in Holy Child Church. Burial will follow in Resurrection Cemetery, Pleasant Plains.