James is Jerry's dad. He works as a pharmacist and seems to be walking around in a fog of grief. Since he lost his wife only a few months ago, we'd say this is normal. From what we gather, his wife was his life, and he's not having an easy time dealing with this strange new world where she doesn't exist. James seems like a kind man, and his love for Jerry is obvious. But they are isolated from each other for most of the story.
They shared a tender moment at the funeral, both crying for the loss of their beloved:
Jerry didn't know where his own tears began and his father's left off. They wept without shame, out of a nameless need and walked together afterward. (9.1).
Jerry's thoughts reveal that this connection sort of fizzles out afterwards. Jerry's attempts to get beneath his father's surface are met with lots of opposition. His dad is like a brick wall. If only Jerry had confided in him, or he'd figured out that Jerry was having problems, this story might have been a little less tragic.