Saturday evening, friends, acquaintances and patrons of James "Jimmy" Boukas met at Zorba's to celebrate his life. More than 100 well-wishers overflowed from the restaurant where they all had spent many hours with one of St. Thomas' most loved restaurateurs.
It was a close crowd with many individuals greeting old friends who had been away or simply drifted away, but had come together to remember this loving man.
Boukas died in Chicago on New Year's day after a year-long battle with brain cancer.
James Anderson, one of Jimmy's many "best friends," provided the music and got the formal celebration going by recounting memories of Jimmy. Then a good baker's dozen of Jimmy's close friends recounted anecdotes that held special meaning for them.
One woman included a moving reading from the Illuminata by Marianne Williamson giving Jimmy to God and thanking God for sharing Jimmy with us all.
One of the messages of the evening was what Jimmy gave to community — over and over offering a place for friends to meet and organizations to hold meetings and artists to show their work.
Zorba's was less of a restaurant and more of a living room for all who gathered there.
In Zorba's garden there is a message on the trellis that Jimmy had inscribed and that appears to say it all: "You have your brush, you have your colors, you paint paradise, then in you go! Nkos Kazantzakis."