James Edward Gomez, 62, died May 22, 2013 at Kansas City Hospice House after defying years of illness and stroke with a grand appreciation of life. A celebration of Jimmy’s life is scheduled Saturday, May 25, at St. Thomas More Catholic Church, 11822 Holmes Rd., Kansas City, MO. Visitation begins at 9:30 a.m. followed by Mass of Christian Burial at 10:30. Reception and lunch to follow in the parish hall.

Jimmy was born September 15, 1950, the son of Doris and Jack Gomez, in Kansas City, Mo. He spent 28 years with the Kansas City Fire Department working in district 104 from stations 23, 24, and 27. He was proud of his service working with dedicated firefighters and friends in the busiest district. Jimmy joined KCFD after six years with the United States Marines, 4th Battalion, 11th Marines, 1st Marine Division. He served in Vietnam as a forward artillery spotter, earning a Naval Achievement Award for his expertise and valor. He received the National Defense Service Medal, Vietnam Campaign and Vietnam Service medals.

Between his military and fire service, Jimmy earned an associate degree in early childhood education from Penn Valley Community College. Deliberate in speech and open to all, Jimmy found contentment in simple and direct conversation. He was a loyal friend with a fondness for the underdog and downtrodden. It was hard for Jimmy to walk away from a fight. He was hardheaded about his opinions and even more so about his principles.

He leaves his wife of 20 years, Mary Ann, who shared the memorable times in Italy; Saratoga, NY; Sanibel Island, FL; Hot Springs, AR; Las Vegas, NV, and their south Kansas City home. Damon Gomez, of Reno, NV, and Gina Gomez, Boulder, CO, survive their father. Jimmy took quiet pride in their education and endeavors. Jimmy is survived by his mother, Doris Gomez, Overland Park, KS; his sisters: Deborah (Jim) Creasey, Boulder, CO; Diane (Jack) Bardo, Shawnee, KS; Terri (Scott) Dory, Leawood, KS; and many nieces, nephews, cousins and friends. He was preceded in death by his dad, Jack, sister Janet, her husband, Mike Gredell, and son Phil. Special thanks to Judith Raynor for her care and support

. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests contributions to Kansas City Hospice House, 12000 Wornall Road, Kansas City, Mo., 64145 and American Stroke Foundation, 5916 Dearborn, Mission, KS, 66202.

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