James Para

GORHAM – Surrounded by his family, James Para of Gorham passed away at his home Wednesday, Feb. 19, 2020 following his second battle with late-stage lung cancer.

Jim will be deeply missed by those whose lives he touched – as a dear friend, a mentor, a cherished relative, a business partner, and as the friendly guy who runs the local pizza shop. A devoted husband and an adored father, Jim is survived by his wife, Flora; his two children, Christa and Mina; as well as his sister, Katerina Dede, and her children Vilma Ademi and Redi Dede. He is predeceased by his mother and father, Kasiani and Minas Paras.

While we are deeply saddened by the departure of a beloved man gone far too soon, we rest assured knowing that Jim’s life was one that was fundamentally joyous and redemptive. James was born in 1963 in Communist-era Albania to Minas and Kasiani Paras, who bore their son while exiled together in a labor camp. James’s father, Minas, a Greek resistance fighter at the end of World War II, spent most of his adult life as a political prisoner. Despite the tremendous hardships of Jim’s early years, he would tell wonderful stories of how he outwitted the Communists in order to survive. That spirit of survival is what defined Jim throughout his life.

At the age of 25, Jim fled a collapsing Albania with his wife Flora, to build a new life in America. After years of working in local pizza shops and saving every dollar they earned, Jim and Flora opened their own pizza restaurant in 1995 – the Standish House of Pizza. The restaurant would serve as the bedrock of their lives for the next 20 years as Jim lived the American Dream, becoming a successful entrepreneur with various real estate holdings and eventually opening a second pizza shop – the Westbrook House of Pizza.

With his spirit of survivorship, Jim beat a diagnosis of lung cancer in 2015. He spent the following years continuing to build his businesses, enjoy his family and friends and to travel. He was involved in his community and gave generously to local sports teams and school efforts.

Jim had an engaging personality and a deeply caring spirit for all who came to know him. His legacy as a kind and loving man will survive him.

A Funeral Service will be held 11 a.m., Tuesday, Feb. 25, 2020, at Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church, 133 Pleasant St., Portland, ME 04101. Interment will follow at Forest City Cemetery, 232 Lincoln St., South Portland, ME 04106.

Please visit www.jonesrichandbarnes.com to view James’s online guestbook.

In lieu of flowers,

memorial contributions may be made to:

The Jimmy Fund at the Dana-Farber

Cancer Institute