He was born on Oct. 24, 1907, at Lumberport, W.Va., son of Italian immigrants, the late Joseph and Rachella Mazza Vennari.
He is survived by his wife of 39 years, Martha Ohlinger Vennari; two sisters-in-law, Mary (Albert) Schleicher and Mildred Bailey; one nephew and five nieces.
In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by four brothers: Frank, Alexander, Vance and Paul; three sisters, Mary Vennari, Beulah Hess and Kathryn Byers.
On Oct. 24, James Vennari observed his 100th birthday with a party hosted by the staff at Overbrook Center, where he resided.
Mr. Vennari began his coaching and teaching career in Meigs County in 1947 after serving his country during World War 11 a foreign war veteran and obtaining the rank of Master Sergeant. At that time, he was working as a professional baseball scout for the Pittsburgh Pirates. On his travels, he spotted a coach wanted sign for Rutland High School.
He was accepted, and coached all contact sports there for the next 15 years. His success as a football coach there earned him the enviable record of 11 winning seasons with 7 SEOAL Championships. He was Coach of the Year in Ohio in 1959 (AA Schools). As a result of his professionalism and dedication to sports the Village of Rutland dedicated and named a beautiful park in his memory in 1994.
Mr. Vennari married his beloved wife of 39 years, Martha Ohlinger, in 1968. After serving as Rutland Elementary Principal for seven years, he retired and scouted full time for the Cincinnati Reds. He joined that organization in 1968 and continued until his retirement in 1995.
Mr. Vennari is a graduate of Salem International University, Salem, W.Va, where he played football and obtained a Bachelors Degree in Education. Later he earned his Masters Degree in Education from West Virginia University.
He was a member of the National Education Association, Ohio Retired Teachers, Meigs County Retired Teachers, American Legion-Drew Webster Post 39, Meigs County Historical Society, He was honored as a Kentucky Colonel.
Funeral Services will be held at 10 a.m. on Thursday, Feb. 28, 2008, at the Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Pomeroy. Officiating will be Rev. Father Walter Heinz. Burial will be in Riverview Cemetery. Friends may call from 6 until 9 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 27, at Fisher Anderson McDaniel Funeral Home in Middleport.
A registry is available on line by visiting www.andersonmcdaniel.com
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to Sacred Heart Catholic Church, 161 Mulberry Avenue, Pomeroy, Ohio 45769 or to The Jim Vennari Park, P. 0. Box 151, Middleport, Ohio, 45760.