James B. Murray was born August 19, 1938, to Gene and Wilma Lee Murray. He died on December 28, 2022, at KU Medical Center surrounded by his large and loving family. Jim is survived by his wife of over 60 years, Joyce Murray; grandsons, Joseph (Rebecca) Bobbitt and grandson, James Bobbitt; great grandsons, Jordan and Jackson Bobbitt; siblings, Michael (Marcia) Murray, Kathleen (David) Lanter, Patrick (Leslie) Murray, and numerous nieces and nephews living in Kansas and Texas.
Jim was a graduate of Saint Agnes High School in Fairway, Kansas, and the University of Missouri Columbia. He was awarded a full scholarship to play football and was a loyal and avid Mizzou fan all his life. He joined the Phi Kappa Psi fraternity and majored in journalism and art.
Just out of college, Jim was hired as an editorial artist by the Kansas City Star/Times where he worked 18 years, serving as art director before he resigned. His works there illustrated the careers of athletes, politicians, and well-known local regional and national citizens.
A member of the Baseball Writers of America, he was an award-winning sports illustrator with his work appearing in various newspapers and magazines. Jim co-authored, illustrated, and published a book with sportscaster Bill Grigsby, titled Don’t Spit in the Wastebasket. With four close friends who all had careers at the Star/Times, he wrote, illustrated, and published From Worst to First, a book about the inception of major league baseball in Kansas City through the time of the 1985 World Series. Shortly before his death, Jim completed work on a retrospective of his illustrations covering the Kansas City Chiefs and other NFL players from the 1960s into the 1990s. That book will be published posthumously and is entitled Just For Kicks.
Throughout his career, Jim completed commissioned portraits that included Astronaut John Glenn, United States Senator Stuart Symington, and Kansas governors John Carlin and Joan Fenney.
Jim once said to a good friend, “I am always interested in and enjoy old cars, old books, old houses, old hand-crafted furniture, and especially my ‘old’ wife!” In partnership with friends, he purchased and restored four historic homes located in Janssen Place and Central Hyde Park, and three homes in the Crown Center area. By working closely with then City Councilman Jerry Riffle and local lenders, he was instrumental in fighting the practice of “red lining” within older city neighborhoods. He served on the City Plan Commission for Kansas City in the 1980s, emphasizing the need to fight urban blight.
Jim was the owner and publisher of the Northeast World and The Sports Connection. He founded The Sports Connection in order to provide proper positive media coverage of high school boys’ and girls’ sports and activities throughout the entire Kansas City metropolitan area in Missouri and Kansas.
Jim served as president of the Saint James Catholic Church parish council, Hyde Park Neighborhood Association, delegate to UNICO National (an Italian-American service organization), and the Kansas City Chapter of UNICO National. He was a member of UNICO for over five decades and served two terms as president of this entirely volunteer organization dedicated to providing college scholarships to deserving students in the metro area. He was so proud to have been an integral part of awarding hundreds of thousands of dollars in scholarships and other donations.
He was an avid sports fan with a talent of recognizing, and having an appreciation of, the talents and sacrifices made by athletes. His keen memory allowed him to share his interests with his many friends and especially with his grandsons Joseph and James. He enjoyed attending Royals games with his grandsons, including the World Series playoffs. In recent years, they made special trips to see the Royals in spring training in Arizona and those were times and memories that he relished.
Jim was surrounded by his large and loving Irish family throughout his long illness and at the time of his death. He was a special gift to all who knew him—a man of incredible honesty, unimpeachable ethics, and kindness—and he possessed a gentle and inclusive acceptance of all those he met. His Celebration of Life will be held on March 11, 2023, at the Uptown Theatre in Kansas City. Memories and expressions of sympathy to his family may be shared by clicking on the below button.
As every member of UNICO knows, no matter what chapter or area of the country you reside, "Every dollar generated by UNICO events supports its charitable endeavors".
UNICO KC was proud to gift one of our own and one who is related to a member. Every dollar counts, but it's what those dollars buy that make it a blessing.
We made a donation to Vic Mancuso's fundraiser. Vic is battling cancer and hopefully he gets the treatment he needs soon. I'm told he's in line for a bone marrow transplant. Keep Vic in your prayers.
I think most of us heard about the Kansas City fireman, Anthony Santi, who was killed while trying to break up an altercation this past summer. Anthony left behind a 14 year old daughter. Our hope was to do what we could to make her Christmas a little brighter. We received a Christmas wish from her and we went shopping. We gave her Apple Earbuds, an Apple watch, UGG boots, and UGG backpack, Kate Spade jewelry, and some other fun stuff. I know these gifts won't make her problems go away, but hopefully she realizes people do care.
As we approach the New Year, know that all the hard work we put in does make a difference. Blessings for everyone and all their families this holiday season.
Born in 1958 John grew up on Van brunt in Northeast Kansas City. He graduated from Northeast High School and then attended Penn Valley Community College and the University of Missouri in Columbia. He is currently an Eagle Scout, was President of the Student Council and attended Boys State representing Northeast High School. He loved growing up in Northeast with lots of Aunts, Uncles, Cousins, and friends living on their block and throughout the neighborhood. It was a real community with one of his favorite quotes being “it takes a village to raise a child” and acknowledging that the Northeast had a hand in his upbringing.
He started his business career in Northeast beginning at “J & B Asphalt Paving, Stars and Stripes Forever Flag Co.” and worked at his mother’s drive in restaurant “Hav-A-Snak” before following in his Father’s footsteps and becoming a restaurant man at the “Italian Gardens”. He began at the Gardens in the kitchen learning how to cook, then to the bar mentored by his Uncle Mike DiCapo and finally becoming general manager under the guidance of his Uncle Vince DiCapo and his dad. Growing up at the Gardens was magical. He was able to meet celebrities, sports figures and local politicians, on a daily basis, and of course served some of the best Italian food in the world.
In the late 1990’s as downtown was in a depressed state and his dad decided to retire, John decided to make a move as well, from the Gardens, to open DiCapo Foods; a wholesale food manufacturing company producing Jim’s Famous Hot Tamales, Rongini rice balls, and Italian Cookies. Well, as you know, 25 years later they are still making the cookies, but John’s focus is now steering him in a new direction. As his food career is winding down, he NOW wants to give back to the city which has given him so much.
His Mother, Sugie (Donnici) DiCapo, and his dad, Carl J. DiCapo, have always been there for him along his life’s journey and have taught him many life lessons that he will always cherish. His Dad’s LOVE of Kansas City and his participation in many community groups, rising to lead most, and becoming the Man to call when you’re in need. As well as his mom’s love and dedication to family and friends who she always has, and will continue to, go the extra mile for.
John will be the first to say he has been very fortunate to have such a wonderful family and city supporting him and, in his mind, it’s time to step up and return the favor. Kansas City and Community, John David DiCapo is ready to help…
Feel free to reach out to John either through eMail or phone:
“You know what they call polite people at a buffet? Hungry.” Anyone who has been to a Boy Scout meeting with Troop 80 at Holy Cross has probably heard Scoutmaster Sam Valenti say this. That’s just one of the many sayings that Valenti tells his scouts, and if you talk to any of the scouts who have known Valenti over the years, they can recite more than a few of these, and they all have their favorites.
“Amongst the boy scouts who spent time with him… we all remember his witty and perfectly timed sayings and sense of humor,” said Thomas Henggeler, owner of the Liberty Tax franchise on Independence Avenue, who was a member of Troop 80.
Sam Valenti, Troop 80’s Scoutmaster for over three decades...
NEW HAVEN, Conn. – The Collegiate Sprint Football League (CSFL) announced its 2022 postseason list of All-League honorees. The Navy sprint football team had 14 different players earn All-CSFL accolades, with Alex Totta (Kansas City, Kan.) being named the CSFL Offensive Player of the Year. The Midshipmen tallied nine First Team All-CSFL honors with one player being named to the second team and four claiming honorable mention distinction.
All nine teams in the CSFL were represented on the All-CSFL squad. The All-CSFL team was selected by the head coaches in the league and is split into first team, second team and honorable mention recognitions.
Totta, who was also named 2022 First Team All-CSFL as a running back, was tabbed the Offensive Player of the Year. The senior started all eight games, tallying 1,113 yards rushing to average 139.1 yards per game. The offensive team captain scored 15 touchdowns and added a two-point conversion to lead the team in scoring with 92 points. Totta finished third on the team with 13 receptions for 109 yards, averaging 8.4 yards per catch. In addition, the running back finished the year 1-for-1 on pass attempts, completing an 11-yard pass. Totta tallied 1,124 yards of total offense to average 140.5 yards per game.