It’s been a long time since Jim Soroka left Westport.
But the death of the 1965 Staples High School graduate earlier this month — in a cycling accident in the White Mountain National Forest, while on a 100-mile training ride for his next Ironman — hit his adopted and beloved community of North Conway, New Hampshire hard. He was 69.
Soroka moved north 35 years ago. A graduate of the University of Miami and president of his own construction firm, he built over 30 custom homes, and many more additions and remodeling projects, around the Mount Washington Valley. He also built surfboards, for sale and to use on his own trips throughout the Caribbean and Central America.
But he was best known as a sports enthusiast. A noted baseball player, surfer and nationally ranked Masters swimmer, Soroka became a passionate triathlete at age 58. In 2012 he competed in the Ironman World Championships in Kona, Hawaii.
He also helped develop the White Mountain Aquatic and Fitness Foundation. The organization is planning a complex with 2 swimming pools, a weight room, childcare room, fireplace, lounge, basketball court, walking track, and rooms for yoga, exercise, Pilates and spinning.
Soroka donated time and money for many Conway-area projects, including playgrounds and baseball dugouts. He coached baseball, basketball and football.
A column in the Conway Daily Sun said:
“Jim embodied everything great in sports and life, and he amazingly intertwined both into his world. When you spent a minute with Jim it was a quality minute….
“[He was] humble, always upbeat and loved life. He loved his fellow competitors as much as he loved to compete.”
Friend Paul Kirsch thought Soroka would “live forever. He seemed to be getting stronger with age, his muscles bigger, his drive a little stronger.”
Soroka is survived by his wife of 39 years, Margie; his daughter Jessi and son David. His brother Stuart, a well-known Boston meteorologist, predeceased him.
Donations may be made to the White Mountain Aquatic and Fitness Foundation, PO Box 767, North Conway, NH 03860. For more information or to leave an online condolence message, click here.