Published in The Washington Post on Dec. 25, 2020.
James Edward Cafritz
1930 - 2020
James Edward Cafritz of Bethesda, MD, passed away
on Tuesday, December 22, 2020, at the age of 90.
Devoted father to Laurence (Sherri) Cafritz and Jodi
(Mark Bronsky) Cafritz; cherished grandfather to Daniel,
Ryan, Jeremy, Jack and Mick; beloved friend of first wife,
Sandie Cafritz; loving brother to the late William (Buffy) Cafritz; treasured uncle to Sandy
(Helen) Wilkes and the late Pamela Cafritz; grateful friend to his caregivers, Kiki and
Gaby; and fun loving pal to his numerous cousins and friends who he adored.
Jimmy's joie de vivre was legendary. He had an infectious smile, fun sense of humor, was
passionate about his children and grandchildren and he loved to dance.
Born to Dr. Edward A. Cafritz and Mildred Baturin Cafritz in Washington, DC in 1930, and
growing up at the Westchester Apartments, where he got into plenty of mischief, he
attended Sidwell Friends School, graduated from Western High School (1948), and
went on to earn his college degree from Indiana University. Following college, Jimmy
served in the US Army for three years as a Russian language translator, stationed in a
remote part of the Bering Strait of Alaska in the early 1950's. He would often reminisce of
his time there, trading coffee with the locals for beautiful hand-carved ivory figurines and
being rationed a daily case of beer per man for their nightly poker games.
Upon arriving home to Washington, he became a successful developer/home builder
throughout suburban Maryland, building thousands of homes and undertaking countless
other projects for over 35 years until his retirement. He was active and charitable in the
community, and has served on various boards throughout his life, including The Anti-
Defamation League, The Heifetz International Music Institute and The Montgomery County
Public Schools Educational Foundation, Inc. Jimmy loved sports. He was a fun
competitor, always smiling, and complimentary to his opponents no matter the outcome.
Whether it was playing tennis, swimming, skiing, jogging or golfing, he stayed active
throughout his life and was obsessed with fitness and maintaining good health. He
enjoyed his regular weekly tennis matches with his friends at Woodmont Country Club for
many decades and with his children and grandchildren. He would often change to his left
hand to give his kids a chance to win, but rarely did he lose. Though not much of a golfer,
he enjoyed golf when he played and as luck would have it, even pulled off a hole-in-one at
Woodmont on one fortunate day. Watching his local sports teams and attending games
with his family was a passion of his. Jimmy enjoyed sports so much that when his friend
and next-door neighbor, Abe Pollin, asked him to be a minority partner in the new
Washington Capitals NHL franchise in the early 1970's, he jumped at the chance and
went all in. Thirty-eight years later, celebrating his 80th birthday at a game with 13
members of his family, he was hit in the head by the puck. After returning from the
hospital, with stitches in his head, he exclaimed: "what are the odds of that ever
happening...like a hole in one?". Jokes about the incident ensued and continued through
the next decade of his life.
His month-long battle with COVID did not diminish his sense of humor or his warmth and
love for his family and those who cared for him, especially all the wonderful and dedicated
doctors and nurses, up until his passing. Jimmy's loving energy will always be present in
the Washington area and beyond.
Services will be held privately.
The family asks that in lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Anti-Defamation
League www.adl.org and The Heifetz International Music Institute www.heifetzinstitute.
Services entrusted to Sagel Bloomfield Danzansky Goldberg Funeral Care.