Jim Fuoco left his mark with cars, planes and a solid reputation | Western Colorado

A funeral will be held Saturday for Jim Fuoco, driver by soul, longtime Grand Junction car dealership manager, philanthropist, avid Grand Mesa fisherman; and his wife of 26 years, Afton Branscom-Fuoco.

Jim Fuoco died on February 1 at the age of 88. Afton Branscom-Fuoco died on June 27 at the age of 95.

Jim Fuoco came to head the Jim Fuoco Motors dealership founded by his father, also known as Jim, after serving in the US Air Force, where young Fuoco developed a passion for aviation.

In doing so, he followed his family’s wish to return to Grand Junction to work in the family car business with his brother, Earl J. Fuoco, said Jim’s daughter Julia Furry of Santa Fe, NM.

Her father often reminded her as she grew up that it was important to do business ethically, Furry said, “because you don’t want to sit next to someone in the room. church that thinks you ripped him off Your reputation is so important.

It’s a credo that has guided her throughout her own career in the auto industry, Furry said.

The current dealership at 741 N. First St. is on the site of the family home where Jim and other siblings were born, his sister, Katherine Fuoco-Fairchild said.

Fuoco “is agonizing over leaving the Air Force” and being able to fly these “big old cargo planes,” Fuoco-Fairchild said.

Fuoco got his commission and his wings at Reese Air Force Base in Texas. He was the pilot and commanding officer of the C124 cargo plane at Dover Air Force Base in Delaware.

By agreeing to help run the dealership, “in the end, he did it for the family,” she said.

Jim and Earl ran the dealership from around 1956 to 1989, when Earl’s son Bob bought out his father and was a partner in the business with his uncle.

Jim Fuoco retired in 2005, leaving Bob in charge. Bob has since retired for his sons, meaning the dealership is now run by a fourth generation of the Fuoco family.

Jim Fuoco had an “intimidating” business presence, said Jamie Hamilton of the junior college baseball world series committee and a Fuoco business associate.

While he often turned to business mentors for advice on what not to do, he turned to Fuoco for advice on how to treat people and make business decisions.

“He was a good coach,” said Hamilton.

Fuoco’s exterior was exactly that, her sister said.

“Under the blunt businessman there was a very kind soul,” said Katherine Fuoco-Fairchild.

Fuoco was active on the JUCO committee and offered to provide coaches with cars while they were in Grand Junction. He has also been active in other business, civic and charitable organizations, serving as president of the Rotary Club and the Quarterback Club. He was also a member of the board of directors and president of St. Mary’s Hospital and president of the Colorado New Car Dealers Association.

After his retirement, he designed and built aircraft hangars at the Grand Junction Regional Airport.

Fuoco married Afton Branscom in 1995, and the union “made him a happier person,” said Bob Fuoco.

In addition to fishing on the Grand Mesa, the Fuoco traveled the country in an RV, visited sights, met people and honed old skills, Katherine said.

“He was always helping someone get their motorhome or car back into operation,” she said.

Fuoco and Sharol Biber had two daughters, Furry and Amy Bass of Aurora. They were predeceased by a son, Steven.

Other survivors include six grandsons, his sister Katherine, and several nieces and nephews. His brother, Earl, and his sisters, Viola, Vera and Mary, predeceased him.

Mass will be celebrated at 10 a.m. on Saturday July 17 at Immaculate Heart of Mary Church.

The family is asking for donations from the Ara Parseghian Medical Research Fund, c / o Sean Kassen, Jordan Hall of Science 215L, Notre Dame, IN 46566.

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