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Obituary

James Sclafani (a/k/a Big Jim) - a loving husband, father, and entrepreneur, died on February 24, 2023, after living a fulfilling 92 years, with his sweetheart of 73+ years at his side. He was the father of three children who loved him dearly. They, his nine grandchildren, and seven great-grandchildren, with one on the way, are his defining achievements. He loved documenting their triumphs through photography and 8mm home movies and cartooning original cards for special occasions.

 

His story didn't start in Florida, where he made his home for 50+ years and won the admiration and love of generations. It began in Brooklyn, New York, in 1930 when James Sclafani entered the world to James and Dagny Sclafani. His father was born in Brooklyn, and his mother came to America from Norway when she was nine.

 

James graduated from Walden High School in Walden, New York, in 1950, where he met the love of his life, Arlene J. Sclafani, at a local Hi-Y dance in Newburgh, New York. He was 20, and she was 17 years old.

 

He went on to Alfred University, was a member of Lambda Chi Alpha Fraternity, and graduated in 1954 with a Business Degree. Soon after, he and Arlene married in July of 1954 in Newburgh, New York, and then moved to North Carolina, where Jim entered the Marine Corps at Camp Lejeune as a first lieutenant. They quickly started their family with the arrival of their two sons, James Victor (JV) Sclafani and Robert Sclafani, just ten months later.

 

After serving in the Marines, Jim returned to Walden, New York, and started Sclafani Foods, the first of his family businesses, producing spaghetti sauce and later expanding into frozen pizzas. Jim and Arlene were ahead of their time by offering samples of their frozen pizzas in local grocery stores with a smile, known today as "brand ambassador marketing" - a foray into their future business success.

 

In 1965, they welcomed their daughter Regina Sclafani.

 

In 1972, Sclafani Foods succumbed to the economic conditions of the early '70s, leading the Sclafani family to Florida, where Jim had found a role with Entenmann's. At the young age of 49, beginning daily at 5 a.m., Jim drove an Entenmann's truck, delivering pastries to local Miami retailers and making stately in-store displays. He unassumingly photographed and cartooned his work, displayed as a model for his peers. The work was noticed and praised by Entenmann founders Robert and William Entenmann, who asked what creative agency was responsible. They soon learned the driver, "Big Jim" was responsible for the work and, accordingly, promoted Big Jim to begin Entenmann's Information Center to promote the product using new Audio / Visual (AV) technologies. Big Jim accepted the position under one strict condition: "also to hire my wife, as she is the brains of the operation." Of course, they said yes.

 

Jim and Arlene successfully aided Entenmann's expansion into new markets across the country. Then, in 1979, the three brothers called Jim in the office to notify him of ""good and bad news."" The bad news: they needed to let them go. The good news: given the tenacity and talent of both Jim and Arlene, the brothers wanted to provide seed capital for Jim and Arlene to start a business of their own. Shortly thereafter, MIG was born.

 

Jim, Arlene, and their son Robert founded Multi Image Group (MIG), a corporate communications company, in August of 1979 with a little seed funding and unwavering, grit from their home in Wilton Manors, Florida. A few months later, their son JV joined the team, followed by their daughter Regina in 1987, establishing Jim's second family business.

 

MIG outgrew the Wilton Manors house by 1982, then briefly moved to Fort Lauderdale to Boca Raton in 1987, where the company currently resides in a 100,000 sqft facility with more than 150 employees. Jim has always been thankful for the incredibly talented people he's worked alongside and is forever grateful to know that Multi Image Group will carry on his legacy for many years to come.

 

Over the years, Jim enjoyed vacationing with their kids and grandkids. One of Jim and Arlene's favorite annual traditions with their grandkids was to travel to New York to see the Christmas Tree at Rockefeller Center, the Rockettes at Radio City Music Hall, and then upstate to Roscoe, New York, to Deer Camp in Lew Beach, where Jim was a member for over 50 years.

 

He also enjoyed giving back to the community while participating in the Rotary Clubs of New York and Boca Raton for more than five decades, volunteering for the Delray Beach Marine Patrol, and tailgating at the Miami Dolphins Football Games with his enormous helium-filled blue balloon to ensure everyone knew where he was set-up. Though, he always finished the evening by hosting his friends, neighbors (dubbed the "street people"), and his family at the Half-Moon Bar at his home in Delray Beach, Florida.

 

Cheers to Big Jim!

 

Survivors include his wife, Arlene Sclafani; his children, James Sclafani (Tina), Robert Sclafani (Alicia), and Regina O'Neil (Hugh); his grandchildren, Victor Sclafani (Sheri), Daniel Sclafani (Barbara), Alexander Sclafani (Elizabeth), Sophia Duffy (Jimmy), Julia Hillock (Joshua), Monica Ballerano (Chris), Adrienne O'Neil, Huey O'Neil, and Gabrielle O'Neil; and his great-grandchildren, Stella Sclafani, Sebastian Sclafani, James Duffy, Liana Duffy, Jordan Hillock, Jackson Hillock, Celine Ballerano, and one more great-granddaughter expected in Summer 2023.

 

James was predeceased in death by his father and mother, James and Dagny Sclafani.

 

There will be a small private memorial celebration for immediate family members.

 

In leui of flowers, voluntary donations to his favorite organizations/charities, The Rotary Club of Boca Raton (P.O. Box 272651 Boca Raton, Fl. 33486), or the Gary Sinise Foundation (https://www.garysinisefoundation.org) or Pilots for Paws (https://www.pilotsnpaws.org).