Obituary of James J. DeCaro
Dr. James J. DeCaro
Pittsford, NY: Surrounded by his family on Wednesday, October 23, 2019 at the age of 71. Predeceased by his parents, Gabe & Mamie. He is survived by his wife and partner in crime of 47 years, Patricia; son, Jason (Erin) DeCaro; daughter, Tate DeCaro; granddaughters, Alexa & Rebecca DeCaro; sisters, Mary Coppinger, and Ann (Bruce) Vokes; nieces and nephew, Stephanie (Jim) Webster, Andrea (Clayton) Oles, Eric Vokes, and their families; adopted daughter and son, Kelly (George) Cardenas and Jeff Cavallaro and their families.
Jim grew up in an Italian-American family in Poughkeepsie, NY. He moved to Rochester in 1971 to begin his career at the National Technical Institute for the Deaf at the Rochester Institute of Technology (NTID/RIT). In his 47 years of service to the institute, he established the civil engineering department, and served as an instructional developer, department chair, and division director. He was Dean of NTID for 13 years, Interim Director, and Interim President.
Jim established PEN-International, a first-of-its-kind, worldwide post-secondary education network for Deaf & hard-of-hearing individuals. He also founded and directed the NTID Center on Access Technology. Jim conceived, helped design, and sought funding for the building of Rosica Hall, a state-of-the-art facility fostering innovation, entrepreneurship, and original research among Deaf & hard-of-hearing students, faculty, and their hearing peers.
Jim was a Rotary International Scholar in England and Senior Fulbright Scholar in Sweden, pursuing research related to career opportunities for Deaf & hard-of-hearing people. He was an Honorary Professor at Tianjin University of Technology in China, and was awarded an Honorary Doctorate from Bauman Moscow State Technical University in Russia. He received RIT's Four Presidents Distinguished Service Award and was in the inaugural class of the RIT Innovation Hall of Fame.
Jim has mentored and developed the careers of scores of individuals who have dedicated their lives to the education of Deaf and hard-of-hearing people. These many people continue to work at the intersection of Deaf and hearing cultures, access technology, and instructional development. His legacy will be felt at NTID and throughout the world for decades to come.
A deeply humble and kind husband, father, grandfather, brother, son, co-worker, and friend, he was an enthusiast of art, baseball, cooking & baking, fashion (shoes!), hunting, Native American culture, telling stories, travel (36 countries), and single malt scotch whiskeys. Jim & Pat loved to open their home to visitors from around the world.
Jim's celebration of life service & dinner reception will be held Sunday, November 24, 3:00 pm at the Panara Theatre & Dyer Arts Center at NTID/RIT. All are welcome. Interment private at Mt. Hope Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be directed to the Sasakawa-DeCaro Scholarship Fund, c/o NTID Office of the President, 52 Lomb Memorial Dr., Rochester, NY 14623.