Theresa J. James
March 28, 1951 – March 29, 2023
Preceded in death by husband Jerry H.; parents Rose and Frank Bozak.
Survived by son Jarrod (Ashley); daughter Tara Roberts (Chad); stepson Rich James (Charris); grandchildren: Brooklyn, Jack, Owen, Drew, Payton, Tanner, Nathan (Hannah); siblings: Lou Bozak, Mary Lou Parr (Pat); Katie Miller (Trace); special friend, Chuck Andersen; other relatives and friends.
VISITATION: Monday, April 3rd, 2pm, with family receiving friends from 5-7pm at West Center Chapel. SERVICE: Tuesday, April 4th, 10:30am, at West Center Chapel. Interment: Hillcrest.
To view a live broadcast of the Service, please visit www.heafeyheafey.com and click the “View Live Cast” button at the top of the home page.
Memorials are suggested to the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.
Theresa Josephine (Bozak) James was born on March 28, 1951, in Omaha, NE. She was the second of four children to Rose (Marcuccio) Bozak and Frank Bozak. Affectionately known as “Toots” and “Tootsie” by her family and close friends. She always looked up to and loved her older brother Lou Bozak (daughters Molly Brignall (granddaughter Maggie) and Nina Bozak) and absolutely adored her younger sisters, Mary Lou (Bozak) Parr (husband Pat; children Roz, Grant (daughter-in-law Abbey) and Vivian) and Katie (Bozak) Miller (husband Trace; children Max (daughter-in-law Rachel and granddaughters Quinn and Sloane) and Marcus) who she always wanted to make proud and serve as the best big sister one could have.
Tootsie grew up in South Omaha (Little Italy) and Ralston, where she made life-long memories with her extended family members. She loved all of her aunts and uncles. Still, she particularly loved her cousins, especially her Coco, Marcuccio, and Petak cousins, with whom she shared fond memories of holiday and other family gatherings. Later in life, she remained close to many of her extended family members and was one of the lead organizers for a family reunion started just a few years ago.
A lifelong resident of Omaha, she was a graduate of Ralston High School in 1969. She stayed in touch with many from her graduating class and served on the class reunion committee through which she so enjoyed several life-long friendships. After graduating from Ralston High School, she quickly began a path that would eventually lead to a high-level executive position at Securities America, Inc., where she worked for nearly 25 years retiring in September 2022. Her co-workers admired her experience, industry knowledge, and “can-do” attitude. But, it was her mentorship that people would truly appreciate, for which she would become an endearing part of the Securities America fabric. She was always willing to provide life advice and career guidance that made a positive impact on countless younger professionals. She formed lifelong friendships with numerous co-workers, including many of the financial advisors across the country. The outpouring from former co-workers, financial advisors, and their staff has been amazing. Our family so appreciates the stories and testimonials people have shared with us directly and on social media.
On June 14, 1975, Toots married Jerry James, also of Omaha, NE. Through marriage, she was blessed with a stepson, Rich (wife, Charris; son, Nathan and daughter-in-law, Hannah), James, who she considered her own and loved dearly. Jerry and Theresa were married for 27 years until Jerry’s untimely passing on September 19, 2002. Their son, Jarrod (wife, Ashley; children: Brooklyn, Jack, Owen, and Drew), was born September 12, 1977, and their daughter, Tara (husband, Chad Roberts; sons, Payton and Tanner), was born January 28, 1980. Jerry and Theresa poured their lives into their children serving as coach and team mom for many of their kids’ sports teams. They were very active as Sunday School teachers at West Hills Church, Westgate Elementary School community club members, and served as officers and volunteers for Westgate Westside Athletic Association. They were so proud of Jarrod and Tara’s athletic and academic accomplishments through their time at Westside High School and then on to Northwest Missouri State University for Jarrod and Peru State College for Tara.
Although they shared countless laughs and good times, life was not without struggle. Having been diagnosed with juvenile diabetes when he was only four years old, Jerry encountered nearly every side effect of that disease. His doctors told him he would not live past 27; then it was 30, then 34, then they stopped predicting. Through it all, Theresa served as the ultimate wife, companion, and caregiver to Jerry. She was his advocate through countless doctor visits, surgeries, and hospital stays while also being the main breadwinner for the family. It is common knowledge that Theresa is the single reason Jerry lived to be 54 years old – long enough to see his first grandson, Nathan, and the birth of his only granddaughter, Brooklyn – something he never dreamed of doing based on doctor predictions.
Jerry’s passing was a life-changing moment for Theresa and her family. Initially, it was a struggle, but she poured her life into her work and her family, particularly her grandchildren. She loved her grandchildren so much. Christmas-Eve-Eve sleepovers, trips to the mall, and car rides for ice cream are memories her grandchildren will never forget. She loved attending and was quick to brag about her grandchildren’s sporting events and quickly became well-liked by many other parents and grandparents. In addition to family, she kept active with her Saturday morning breakfasts with friends and enjoyed meeting her neighbors and serving on the board of her homeowner’s association.
In April 2010, she met Chuck Andersen, who was a Godsend. Chuck offered the companionship and love that she so much deserved. They enjoyed time attending the Shriner’s Big Red Dinners, family events, sporting events, traveling to Florida, and just generally spending time with each other.
In February 2020, Theresa was diagnosed with breast cancer. It was devasting news, but she fought cancer like a warrior and wanted to live an active life. She continued to attend her grandchildren’s sporting events, including Jack’s Westside football games in 2020 and 2021. She was able to travel to and attend Nathan’s Texas wedding in 2021. But in the past two months, cancer was just too much to overcome, and she passed away on March 29, 2023. We are so appreciative of the doctors and staff at Nebraska Cancer Specialists and CHI Health, along with the amazing compassion she received at the Josie Harper Hospice House.
Mom, we love you, we will miss you, and we will think about you every day for the rest of our lives. Rest in Peace.