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470 Massachusetts Avenue
PO Box 882
Acton, MA 01720
Phone: 978-263-5333
Fax: 978-263-8193
James Paul Stefanis

James Paul Stefanis

Monday, May 20th, 2019
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James (Jim) Paul Stefanis, 67, resident of Stow, passed away May 20, 2019. He was the beloved husband of Cynthia M. Sacco, loving father of Katherine Lepri & husband James, Daniel and Jeffrey Stefanis, and grandfather of Olivia Lepri. Son of the late George & Mary Stefanis, son-in-law of Eva and the late Frank Sacco, brother-in-law of Frank Sacco & wife Pam, Leslie Todis & husband Paul, Lynne Miranda & husband David and cousin of Andrea Grasso & husband Manny.

Jim was born in Newark, NJ and attended St. Benedict’s Preparatory School. He spent his summers perfecting his sales pitch hustling the Boardwalk at the Jersey Shore and his winters selling Christmas trees with his father, sparking a lifelong passion. Jim completed his undergraduate degree at Georgetown University and his PhD at Cornell University, where he met his loving wife Cindy. Together, they opened Stow Gardens, a thriving business and cornerstone of the community. Jim recently retired his renowned green thumb, after 36 successful and fulfilling seasons.

Jim enjoyed life to the fullest. He was an avid traveler, equally happy at his home away from home in Palm Beach, Florida, exploring new countries, or sampling croissants in his favorite city, Paris. His only travel prerequisites were good food and wine, great company, and the potential to earn Marriott points.

Visiting hours are Friday May 24th 4-7pm at the Acton Funeral Home (470 Massachusetts Ave (Rte 111) Acton). The funeral mass will be held Saturday May 25th at 10 am in St. Isidore Church (429 Great Rd., Stow). In lieu of flowers please send us your stories and memories. Donations in memory of Jim may be made to St. Benedicts's Preparatory School, 520 Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Boulevard, Newark NJ. 07102.

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Service Details

  • Visitation

    Friday, May 24th, 2019 | 4:00pm - 7:00pm
    Friday, May 24th, 2019 4:00pm - 7:00pm
    Acton Funeral Home
    470 Massachusetts Avenue
    ACTON, MA 01720
    Get Directions: View Map | Text | Email
    In lieu of flowers please send us your stories and memories. Donations in memory of Jim may be made to St. Benedicts's Preparatory School, Newark NJ. Donation Information St. Benedict’s Preparatory School 520 Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Boulevard Newark, NJ 07102
  • Service

    Saturday, May 25th, 2019 | 10:00am
    Saturday, May 25th, 2019 10:00am
    St. Isidore's Church
    429 Great Road
    STOW, MA 01775
    Get Directions: View Map | Text | Email
    Rev. Jeffrey Archer


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Private Condolence

Brandyn Greeno

Posted at 07:29pm
Jim was an incredible friend and boss. I worked for him for about six years at the garden center, and have nothing but good memories from my time there. I learned invaluable life lessons, and skills there, and I am beyond thankful for everything he taught me about life. He was always interested in talking about sports, music — specifically his vinyl collection and his love of the Greatful Dead — and his travels, and I was always eager to listen and discuss over an afternoon coffee and glazed donut. He was an incredible person to have befriended, and work under for so many years. He will be greatly missed.

Manny DaFonseca

Posted at 10:58pm
I first met Jim about 40 years ago. Jim was still dating Cindy and I was dating Jim’s youngest cousin, Andrea. For the next 20 years or so we met occasionally during various family functions – his and Cindy’s wedding in NJ, kids’ baptism, and other holidays throughout the years.

Around 2000 our relationship changed in a meaningful way. Andrea and I had planned a fall vacation to Disney with our children, Catherine and Thomas and totally by coincidence Jim, Cindy, Katie, Danny and Jeff were also in Orlando during the same week. During that week we spent several days together at Disney, going out to eat and just enjoying each other’s company. That marked the beginning of the annual vacation with the Stefanis’s. A traditional that I personally looked forward to every year.

Over the next 20 years our families travelled together to various locations in Florida, California and the Caribbean. During that time Jim turned me onto a bad habit known as Marriott Vacation Club. He would buy a week, then I would buy a week and so on. But that bad habit turned into years of fun, enjoyment and lasting memories as we watched our families grow from pre-teens to adulthood.

Jim was extremely proud of his children Katie, Danny and Jeff and their accomplishments and more recently Jim became the proud grandfather of Olivia and was looking forward the arrival of a new grandchild.

Sadly, Jim has left us too soon and he will be missed by his family and friends - but the memory of how he touched us all will live forever.

Dana Koch

Posted at 04:41pm
Jim was such a fixture here in Stow. My wife Meg and I were regulars at Stow Garden, Christmas trees, spring annuals and perennials. We were always greeted with his huge smile and he always would ask about our girls and catch up on family. Ever since he sold Stow Garden I have missed seeing him drive down Packard Road in that famous white van. Now I miss him even more.

Sydney Hoffmann

Posted at 03:30pm
Jim Stefanis aka Steggie had a warm and indomitable spirit. When we were students at Georgetown and living on Kirkwood Road, he grew bored with the routine of studying and watching Twilight Zone and insisted we all chip in for a ping pong table. We all did (that smile of his made it happen). He aspired to be the champ but there was serious competition (Ed and Ray). Then there was Trivial Pursuit, the Fiddlers' Convention weekend in Union Grove, the trips to his parents' beach house in NJ (riding and crashing rental bikes on the boardwalk and nonstop volleyball), the surfing stories, Bruce Springsteen album releases, the succulent farm he started in our house on W Place while he plotted his move to Cornell. He was a man who could deliver bad news with such kindness and excellent news (the birth of his three kids) with such profound happiness. He was the kind of friend who you could see in person for lunch after years of only emails and calls and just instantly flip back to yesterday, laughing, teasing, arguing. He was enthusiastic and forward-looking. He loved Cindy, Katie, Dan, and Jeff without qualification. He nurtured his friends like a garden. It is an honor to have known him and a profound sadness to have lost him. Syd Hoffmann

Doug Aylaian

Posted at 05:21pm
At Stow Gardens, on many of my visits, Jim and I would talk for long periods predominantly about family. He made it very clear he loved each of his children and wife, and updated me about them with such joy and excitement. It was just always evident how good a dad and husband he was, and he was so proud of his family and their lives. Overwhelming joy seemed to radiate from him when he conversed on the family topics. I am saddened to hear this news, and considered Jim a "friend". My prayers are with all of the Stefanis family, but particularly with Jim, during this mourningful times of your lives. Doug Aylaian

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