James L. Disney, 49, of Aldan, an Upper Darby police officer who received an award for heroism, died of cancer of the appendix Saturday at home.

Mr. Disney served with the Upper Darby Township Police Department for more than 20 years. After his cancer diagnosis 31/2 years ago, he continued to work through chemotherapy treatments until a year ago, his wife, Aimee Jamison Disney, said.

In November 2001, Mr. Disney responded with other officers to a fire in a rowhouse in Upper Darby. When he learned that a 5-year-old boy might still be in the house, Mr. Disney, a former Norwood Fire Company volunteer, entered the burning building. He crawled through the smoke toward the sound of a child's voice, found the child on the stairway, and carried him out. He and the boy, Jerome Powers Jr., were treated for smoke inhalation. For his deed, Mr. Disney received an award from the Carnegie Hero Fund.

After graduating from Interboro High School in Prospect Park, Mr. Disney worked for Korman Suites, for the Delaware County Department of Parks and Recreation, and at the Media courthouse before becoming a police officer.

He enjoyed golf and boating, fishing and hunting in upstate Pennsylvania. He also played softball for local leagues.

"He had a wonderful sense of humor and was always ready for a party," his wife said.

Mr. Disney is also survived by his mother, Joan A. Disney; a son, Michael; daughters Lauren Cavage, Stephanie and Brianna; two sisters; four grandchildren; and his former wife, Terry Kerick.

Friends may call from 6 to 9 p.m. today and from 8:30 to 9:30 a.m. tomorrow at Donohue Funeral Home, 8401 West Chester Pike, Upper Darby. A Funeral Mass will be said at 10:30 a.m. tomorrow at St. Joseph Church, 500 Woodlawn Ave., Collingdale. Burial will be in Edgewood Memorial Park, Glen Mills.

Memorial donations may be made to the Jim Disney Memorial Fund, Eagle National Bank, 8045 West Chester Pike, Upper Darby, Pa. 19082.

Contact staff writer Sally A. Downey at 215-854-2913 or sdowney@phillynews.com.