James “Jim” Melvin Domachowski, 82, born on April 14, 1941, at St. Anthony’s Hospital in St. Louis, Missouri, died on Monday, June 12, at Mercy South Hospital in St. Louis County, experiencing heart failure after long suffering from Parkinson’s. A beloved husband, father, uncle, and friend, Jim is survived by his wife of nearly 60 years, Sharon, and his son, Sean. Jim was preceded in death by his two sons, James Scott and Kevin Leo, who tragically died in 1972. While we will miss Jim terribly, he received the Anointing of the Sick at Mercy South Hospital and was able to say goodbye to us in peace, and we trust in his reunion with his beloved sons. This gives us joy.
A Celebration of Life will be held at Friendly’s Bar and Grill, 3971 Bayless Avenue, on Wednesday, June 28, from 2pm until 6pm. Jim’s remains will be buried next to his sons’ Jimmy and Kevin’s graves at St. Mary Church in Moselle, Missouri, date to be determined, with a funeral mass celebrated there.
Jim was an energetic, extroverted, and entrepreneurial soul. Jim was expelled from St. Mary’s High School in South St. Louis for refusing to part with his car, a requirement at the time. (Everyone knows what cars were for.) While still in high school, he started a rock’n’roll band with friends from St. Anthony’s Teen Town called the Vibratones, which was good enough to be the replacement blues band at a real blues club in East St. Louis, but which otherwise played at sleazy night clubs. After getting home from East St. Louis at 4am, he would have to work his job as a stocker at the A&P at 6am, and in those hours his father would try to tell him to come to his senses and get a real job. Barber school was decided upon.
He and Sharon met at a pool party in House Springs, Missouri in 1959, when Sharon’s cousin Mary Margaret sat on the freshly polished bumper of Jim’s 1956 Buick convertible (the one that got him kicked out of St. Mary’s). Initially outraged, Jim was later pleased when he saw Sharon inside next to Mary Margaret, and they first danced. They were married at Immaculate Heart of Mary Church in South St. Louis in 1963, and continued dancing until Jim’s Parkinson’s took his balance away.
Jim was industrious. After being a barber, he and friends opened up Bourbeuse Valley Motorcycle Shop in Villa Ridge, Missouri in 1970. Selling the motorcycle shop before Harley Davidson was the big deal it became, he opened Video Visions video store in Washington, Missouri in 1980. Next, he sold New York Life insurance from 1986 to 1989. After that, he bought Bailey Brothers Bar & Grill on South Grand Ave., which he ran for ten years before returning to being a barber, first in St. Louis and Ladue, Missouri, and then in Sarasota, Venice, and finally Perrin’s Barber Shop in Englewood, Florida, where he and Sharon moved in 2008.
Jim and Sharon did many things together: they entertained, danced, loved, and fought, all spectacularly. Always haunted by the grief of losing their sons, they carried on in life, having their son, Sean, in 1974. Both sets of their parents, Anna Moore Domachowski Hartmann and Leo “Boots” Domachowski (until his death in 1967), and then Anna’s second husband, Lee Hartmann, and Sharon’s parents Margaret Reardon Young and Charles Young, were frequent visitors and guests and vacation companions throughout their lives. Jim refused to watch comedies – especially Seinfeld – without Sharon in the room, because of her infectious laugh. Jim made many friends over the years in all his different endeavors and travels, and spending time with friends was one of his great joys in life. In his last years, when his physical health declined, his wife Sharon looked after his day-to-day well-being diligently, and he loved, especially, talking to his friends and family, usually on the phone: Ed Fendler, Candy Mahon, Charlie and Carol Ottenad, Ken Hanscom, Brian Lang, Liz Stein, his cousin Earl Cobb, his “adopted daughters” Angie Cupp and Laura Manz, and his beloved niece and nephew, Debbie Bahre and Dennis Domachowski, as well as his recently deceased friends Bill Manz and Jim Bigelow.
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