Cover photo for James Porter Kaufman's Obituary
James Porter Kaufman Profile Photo
1943 James 2024

James Porter Kaufman

May 11, 1943 — January 17, 2024


James “Jim” Porter Kaufman, 80 of Carmel, passed away January 17, 2024.  He was born May 11, 1943 to the late Karl Lincoln Kaufman and Mary Jo Rettig Kaufman in Richmond, Virginia.  Jim joined the United States Air Force following his high school graduation from Shortridge High School in Indianapolis.  Jim trained to be an Air Policeman while on active duty.  After resigning from the Air Force, Jim began working as a body shop repairman working his way up to Body Shop Managers in various shops throughout Indianapolis.  He then went on to appraising damaged vehicles and handling insurance claims on vehicles.

In 1987, Jim returned to the United States Air Force with the Reserves as a Training Instructor and Equal Opportunity Investigator.  He retired in 2003.  Jim continued working in the insurance industry handling claims as an adjuster and retired from Ohio Casualty Insurance Company in July of 2003.

Jim was a member of Calvin Prather Masonic Lodge, Scottish Rite, and Murat Shrine Temple for most of his adult life.  He was recently honored by the Scottish Rite for being a member for 50 years.  While a member of Murat Shrine, Jim joined the Murat Shrine Clown group in 1990.  Jim visited Shriner Hospitals, marched in numerous parades, visited handicapped and the elderly all while in his clown persona.  Jim worked many hours as Koppo, a Keystone Kop, while raising funds for the Red Sneaker Fund.  The charitable work done by all clowns within the various Temples in the United States, Canada and Mexico contributes to this fund which is used exclusively for burns research at the various Shrine Burn Hospitals.

When Jim’s Parkinson’s Disease had progressed to the point he couldn’t put his makeup on perfectly and when he was afraid his tremors were scaring the children, he stopped dressing as a clown but kept serving the Shrine Clown organizations by working through the line of officers for Murat Shrine Clowns, Great Lakes Shrine Clowns, and International Shrine Clown. Jim continued his philanthropic work until he could no longer do so due to the Parkinson’s Disease.

Jim is survived by his wife, Rande Kaufman; children, Kevin Kaufman, Kristen Harper (Vince), and Brandy Eldridge (Robert); step-son, David Riley; 8 grandchildren; 2 great grandchildren; brothers, Karl L Kaufman and Robert Kaufman (Marie); and his two best friends, Abigail and Apollo, his companion and support animals – the family Doberman Pinschers.

There will be memorial gathering on Friday, January 26th from 1-4 PM at Aaron-Ruben-Nelson Mortuary, 11411 North Michigan Rd. The family asks that in lieu of flowers, contributions be made to one of the following in Jim’s memory:

Michael J. Fox Parkinson’s Foundation for Parkinson’s Research, P. O. Box 5014, Hagerstown, MD 21741 or their website - ; or

The Red Sneaker Fund – please make checks payable to the Great Lakes Sneaker Fund and send to: c/o Murat Shrine Temple, 510 N. New Jersey St., Indianapolis, IN  46204

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of James Porter Kaufman, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services

Memorial Gathering

Friday, January 26, 2024

1:00 - 4:00 pm (Eastern time)

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