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Lt. Col. James Francis Xavier Shanley Jr., (“Jim” to most) born Oct. 23, 1954.
Graduate of Notre Dame High School class of 1972 in West Haven, Connecticut, and the U.S. Air Force Academy class of 1976. Callsign: “Shan.” Husband, father, brother, uncle, pilot.
The son of James, a U.S. Army Air Corps WWII bomber veteran and his wife, Marion, Jim was brought up in Woodbridge, Connecticut. Following in his father’s footsteps, Jim chose a career that saw him serve his country first as an aircraft commander, then as an instructor pilot and test pilot, and ultimately as commander of the 346th Test and Evaluation Squadron.
In his leisure time, Jim loved the 49ers and the Yankees almost as dearly as his own children. Later in life, thanks to his English son-in-law, he developed a transatlantic kinship with Liverpool Football Club, whose Saturday and Sunday matches he would never miss.
But above all, what made him most happy was helping those he loved. He was often seen marshalling at Peninsula Catholic High School cross-country races, cheering on the Summit Christian Academy baseball team, or volunteering for many wounded veterans charities. All who knew him will remember him as a selfless, honorable man.
He passed away on Friday, Sept. 11, surrounded by those he loved. To the end, he loved his God, his family and his country.
He is survived by Casey, his loving wife of 39 years – and the companion with whom he traveled much of the globe in his youth – hitching rides upon military cargo planes. He also leaves behind four children who adored him: Catherine, who now lives with her husband Bobby in Austria; Clare, who works as an Emergency Room nurse in Richmond; James, in his final year at William & Mary; and Connor, currently studying at Christopher Newport University.
His sister Jan Shanley of Branford, Connecticut and brother Justin Shanley of Bethany, Connecticut and their families also mourn his loss.
The funeral services will be held at 4 p.m. Friday, Sept. 18 at the Bethel Manor Chapel, 1793 1st Ave, Hampton, VA, 23665. Reception to follow.
In lieu of flowers, the family asks for any kind donations to be sent to Catholic Relief Services, with attention: Syrian refugee relief (www.crs.org)
Please leave online condolences for the family at Amory Funeral Home.
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