JJ, as his friends knew him, graduated from Southington High School in 1963 and Geneva College in 1972. JJ proudly served his country with the 334th Armed Helicopter Co. during the Vietnam War. While there, he distinguished himself in combat and was awarded 3 Purple Hearts, the Bronze Star for Valor, and 40 Air Medals amongst other commodations.
JJ continued to serve fellow veterans as a National Service Officer for the DVA, PVA, and VFW. After retirement he continued to help veterans on their cases, and happily volunteered his time as a coach at Montgomery Catholic High while his sons were attending, and with the Military Order of the Purple Heart association. He was much loved and respected by many, and was nominated by his peers to carry the Olympic torch down Federal Dr in Montgomery in 1996.
JJ was a loving husband and father, a doting Papa, a proud veteran and unwavering patriot, a scholar, and a gentleman.
He is survived by his wife, Ellen, sons James III, Joseph and his wife Selamawit Kassie, grandchildren Aden Kalkidan, and Ava Rain of Montgomery AL, brother Tom, nieces Wendy and Angela of Destin, FL, Linda Marie of Jacksonville, FL, and Michelle Aretz, and nephews John Aretz, Jr. and Philip Aretz of Ohio. Aunts Eileen Shillings of Mechanicsville, MD, JoAnn Drinkwater of Milford, ME, and Uncle James Wheeler of Des Moines, IA.
Services will be held Thursday December 19th at White Chapel funeral home in Montgomery from 5-7:30 pm and Funeral Mass on Friday December 20th at Church of the Holy Spirit at 11 am.