James Freeman Lauffer Jr.
- Born: 7 May 1916, Delmont, Westmoreland Co., Pennsylvania
- Marriage: Gladys Louise Ambrose on 10 Feb 1940 in Warren, Trumbull Co., Ohio
- Died: 13 Mar 1987, Beaver, Beaver County, Pennsylvania at age 70
- Buried: 16 Mar 1987, Beaver Cemetery, Beaver, PA
James F. Lauffer was known primarily as Jim, but went by "Free" in his earlier years. Jim spent his childhood in Delmont Jeannette Pennsylvania where he attended school until the age of 14 when the Depression hit. With no work available around Delmont or even Pennsylvania, Jim's father, James F. Sr., packed up the family and head West. They had a very interesting trip across the country traveling on what "highways" there were at the time. They slept in a tent that they carried with them. They traveled all the way to California but found no work available anywhere. The Country was in a deep Depression with most of the population trying to survive on what they could get.
In desperation, the family headed back across the Country, facing the hazards of poor roads, rugged mountains and hot desserts. They made it back to Ohio where they were able to settle down in Warren. Jim's father started up his own business with the Lauffer Coffee Company. This was a dry goods outlet that specialized in home delivery. The Lauffer Coffee was well known for the special blends they developed. A variety of coffee beans were brought in and ground to make the Lauffer Coffee blends. Jim worked with his father in a large area over the garage next to thier home 1701 Parkman Road on the north west side of Warren. They worked hard and got a very good business established.
Jim attended Warren G. Harding High School. When he graduated in 1935, he continued to work for his father and then went out on his own. Jim and his father did not get along well together and Jim had to get out on his own. He worked as a mechanical inspector with Taylor-Winfield Steel in Warren. Jim met his wife, Gladys Ambrose, after high school. In 1937, Gladys was in her last year of high school. Jim asked if he could take her home after her Zoology class. They stopped by the Warren Sanitary Dairy for ice cream and this started their relationship. Jim was dating a nurse, "Mary Jane", at the time and this caused a bit of a riff. Mary Jane tried to take Jim back, even after he married Gladys in 1940. With money still very tight, they lived with Jim's mother on Parkman Road in Warren. Jim's parents had previously divorced, and after living with Jim's mother for a short time, Gladys understood why Jim's father had left.
Their first child, James Richard, was born just short of a year before Japan attacked Pearl Harbor. Jim was called in for the draft but could not pass the physical due to flat feet. Jim spent the war supporting the production of war materials that went into the building of fighting equipment. Once he was settled in this new job, Jim and Gladys bought a house just up the road at 1456 Clemmens St. The house was bough from a neighbor for $3000. They had saved for a down payment and paid the house off in two years. Eventually Jim tried his hand at sales. This seemed to be his calling. He started with Freedom Oil in 1946 which later became Freedom Valvoline and then Ashland and then spun off to Valvoline Oil and Chemicals. Jim started with small sales routes with local gas stations and worked into sales management. He received several awards for top sales and outstanding sales performance during his career.
Jim enjoyed boating and purchased the family boat in the 1954. The boat was named: "Gladys Happy Bottom". The family enjoyed the times at Lake Milton where Jim belonged to the Boat Club. Jim also enjoyed working on cars and anything related to cars. He would take the family to car races and enjoyed the stock car races at the Canfield Fair Grounds.
Jim took a position in Freedom, PA in 1960 and moved the family to Beaver, Pennsylvania. James Richard had left home for the Air Force in 1958 so he did not make this move with the family. During the later years in Beaver, Jim volunteered with the Salvation Army, helping with food distribution and other activities to help those in need.
After a good life, Jim passed away on Friday the 13th, the one day he seemed to be afraid of. He had been ill with lung cancer which was found about a year earlier. His final hours were spent at home with all of his immediate family at his side. Jim was a heavy smoker which probably lead to the cancer. Services were held at Trinity Episcopal Church and were conducted by Rev. Reuel Kaighn.
James married Gladys Louise Ambrose, daughter of William Fulton Ambrose and Flora McPhee Jamieson, on 10 Feb 1940 in Warren, Trumbull Co., Ohio. (Gladys Louise Ambrose was born on 9 Dec 1918 in Canfield, OH, died on 13 Sep 2011 in Beaver, Beaver County, Pennsylvania and was buried on 1 Oct 2011 in Beaver Cemetery, Beaver, PA.)