James Cheney

James P. Cheney

Thursday, April 26th, 1951 - Saturday, September 7th, 2019
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James P. Cheney, 68, of Syracuse, passed away September 7, 2019.

Born in Syracuse on April 26, 1951, he was the son of John and Marian Cheney, Jr.

James was a life long and avid musician and enjoyed aviation, history, space and hobby modeling.

Surviving are his family, Ryan Patrick Cheney, Elena Nims Cheney, Rebecca Alexandra Cheney, Sandra Conner, Walton B. (Jeanine) Cheney and Elizabeth C. (Steven) Suddaby.

Calling hours will be Friday, September 13, from 10am to 12pm at Eaton-Tubbs Fayetteville Chapel, Fayetteville. There will be no services.
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Service Details

  • Visitation

    Eaton-Tubbs Fayetteville Chapel
    7191 E. Genesee Street
    Fayetteville, NY 13066
    Get Directions: View Map | Text | Email


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Stuart Siegel

Posted at 10:32pm
OMG. I can’t believe that Jim is no longer with us. The last time I saw Jim was 38 years ago. For a time I was the manager for a few of the bands he played in, Roadhogg and the Allan Fuller Band. He was a great drummer, one of the best I’ve ever heard.

I met him on Cape Cod when he was living with Al Dorr in the early 70’s. Over the next few years we had some “wild and crazy times” playing across New England and living in the “wilds” of Western Mass.

It is crazy how I came across Jim’s obituary. Just recently Ric Ocasek of the Cars also passed away. That’s when I started looking for Jim online and this is what I found. 😢

For those of you who are not aware Jim played drums with Ric on several demo tracks at the Poor Farm Recording Studio in Hudson MA as part of Richard and the Rabbits.

They liked Jim’s playing so much that they asked him to join the band. Jim in his indomitable style said No Thanks I have friends back home that are counting on me !!

A better friend could not be had . Will always be thinking of ya man.

Nancy Bill

Posted at 01:41pm
James was a very dear friend of mine. I knew him for almost 40 years. We shared some pretty great adventures together throughout the years. Jim always stood by me even when I was wrong. He always told me that he would give me one more chance to shape up before he shipped out. He came to visit me in California many times. Last year we went to Yosemite together and I had him dress up to go out to dinner there at the Awanee Hotel. He wore a white suit that he bought for the occasion. He looked fabulous in it! I also got a friend of mine to take him up in an old World War Two plane. James was right in his element with his goggles and flight gear on. He was the life of the air show! He recently emailed me that a year ago in May he was flying high in California! It was a special memory for him. Now James is flying high again watching over us. I hope is that he will still willing to give me one more chance. Jon and I love you Jim. Nancy

Ken Kilpatrick

Posted at 03:35pm
That's me above playing the fire extinguisher. I'm sad today as I hear this news but I am also thankful for all the joy and positive energy Jim created and dispensed with his playing. I am grateful for the time I got to spend with him. Music was very deep in Jim. I think there was no choice for him but to dedicate his life to music.
I always enjoyed Jim's spirit. He ALWAYS wanted the band to sound good and keep growing. During the Windsors run, he was constantly / feverishly working on his technique, his sound, and his drums. Rogers. He always wanted all the other guys to keep searching and growing too - realizing more than I did that this wasn't a gig, it was a journey. He was the guy who would always walk up to you holding a new LP asking... ' Man, Have you heard this???' I remember him dragging me into his basement in Fayetteville to listen to the great jazz record 'Rich versus Roach'. He kept saying '...Man,... Listen to that!!! LISTEN TO THAT !!!!!. Much of what he was hearing was beyond me, but he knew what he was hearing and wanted to share it. I tried to keep tabs on him through the years. We met by chance several years ago at Beat Street Music and talked for a long time. It was one of those discussions where it's as if no time had passed since we last saw each other and played together, as if we were chatting on a break between sets. He was super interested in what I was doing now - instruments, bands, what and where I was playing, on and on. Still searching. I had to drag out of him what HE was doing. That's Jim, brother...
Jim wanted to play drums. He HAD TO play drums - and he figured out how to make it happen. That's wonderful. I'm glad he was able to have a lifelong career in music. Let's all remember Jim driving the band, rocking the joint, making people feel good and helping along the way. I'll always see him smiling up at me mid-song from behind his drums... 'Yeah, That's it !!!' Thanks for everything Jim. You played great !!!


Allyn Dorr

Posted at 09:35am
I formed a band with Jim Cheney in the early 70s on Cape Cod and continued to play in various bands with him until well into the 80s. Jim was one of the most passionate and interesting people I’ve ever met. He had a huge breadth of knowledge and loved to learn. He was the first person I’d ever heard who could make music on the drums and with his encouragement, he helped me believe that I could be a fulltime musician. I doubt I’ll ever have a more loyal friend. Jim, we’ll miss you. My sincere condolences and love to the family

Bob Cannistraro

Posted at 05:48pm
I have great memories of playing music with Jim - he was really "into it" and also helped me with many aspects of my music - sending my love, Bob Cannistraro

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