James H. Janke, 80, of Stamford, Connecticut, died June 1, 2023. Jim was born in Stamford August 5, 1942 to the late Herbert and Grace (Nevard) Janke. Jim grew up in the Glenbrook and Cove areas of Stamford, and later lived in Darien, returning to his beloved Stamford in mid-life. He graduated from Stamford High School in 1960, after which he served in the U.S. Air Force.
Jim was on the track and cross-country teams in high school, and was the Connecticut AAU Track Mile Champion in 1966. He set course records numerous times for the Westport Road Runners Summer Series road races from 1966 to 1973.
Jim was one of the early members of the 4F Striders, a track club based in New Canaan. In 1971, the 4F Striders reorganized to form the Fairfield County Striders; he was a founding member and served as president for two years. He helped expand the club to include high school and junior high members. While involved in club organization, he still found time to compete and win.
From 1966 to 1972, Jim was the assistant boys' cross-country and track coach at Darien High School, working with distance and middle-distance runners. He wrote a column, "Then and Now", for two local running newspapers, the Running Tab and the Strider.
Jim established and organized a Christmas road race, the "Holiday Handicap", a five-mile race that started and finished at Pear Tree Point Beach in Darien. The race was held yearly from 1969 to1978.
He worked for decades at Stamford, Sand & Stone, and for the Stamford Advocate in the 1990s. In his later years, he devoted much of his time to writing, and enjoyed attending meetings and sharing his poetry with the Poem Alley group at Curley's Diner in Stamford.
Jim is survived by his brother Thomas Janke of Darien; sisters Susan Janke Baeslack (Brent) of Bradford, MA; and Pamela Janke (Brian Merrill) of Cambridge, MA; his aunt, Daryl Nevard of Darien, and many cousins. He was predeceased by his parents Grace and Herbert Janke, and his sister, Linda Janke.
A celebration of Jim's life will be held at the Lawrence Funeral Home, 2119 Post Road, Darien, on Saturday, June 24, with visitation at 10:00 a.m. followed by a service at noon. Feel free to join in sharing your favorite memory of Jim. Masks strongly encouraged. A private interment will be held at a later date.