James Michael La Bella, aged 86, departed this life on Sunday, July 9, 2023, at his home in Warren, New Jersey. Born in Newark to Leonard and Mary La Bella, both of whom preceded him in death, James spent his childhood years in Newark before settling in Warren 52 years ago.
With honor and courage, James served in the United States Army during the Korean Conflict and the initial stages of the Vietnam War. After his military service, James dedicated 25 years to maintaining law and order as a police officer in Newark before his first retirement. Not one to remain idle, James embarked on a second career with United Parcel Services in Bound Brook, where he worked diligently for 12 years before his second retirement.
James was a faithful and active parishioner of Our Lady of the Mount Roman Catholic Church in Warren, where he selflessly served as an usher for many years.
During his leisure time, James found joy in watching baseball games and cheering for his favorite team, the New York Yankees. He cherished his dinner dates in New York City with his loving wife, Judith, and looked forward to their annual summer trips to Ocean City, Maryland - a tradition never missed. An adept poker player, James was an esteemed member of the Tavern League, and his skills even earned him a trip to compete in Las Vegas. But above all, James found the greatest happiness in spending quality time with his family, particularly his seven cherished grandchildren.
In addition to his parents, James was predeceased by his siblings, Anna D’Ascoli, and Paul, Frank, Lawrence, George, and Joseph La Bella.
He leaves behind his devoted wife, Judith (née Cohen) of 56 years, and their three children: Jeff La Bella and his wife Amy of Pohatcong, NJ; Jonathan La Bella and his wife Melanie of California; Jacqueline Beusan and her husband Vincent of California. A brother Anthony La Bella. His legacy continues with his grandchildren: James and Tommy La Bella, Gianna and George La Bella, and Nikolina, Vincent, and Dominic Beusan. He will be deeply missed by all who knew him.
Visitation will be held on Friday, July 14, 2023, from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the Higgins Home for Funerals, 752 Mountain Blvd, Watchung, NJ. A funeral mass in James's honor will be conducted at 10 a.m. on Saturday, July 15, 2023, at Our Lady of the Mount R.C. Church - Chapel, 167 Mt. Bethel Rd, Warren, NJ. Following the service, James will be laid to rest at the Somerset Hills Memorial Park in Basking Ridge, NJ.
In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to Alzheimer's research.