Ernest W. James

Lieutenant Commander Ernest W. James, (12) USN (Ret.) passed away peacefully on 25 March 2017 at Memorial Hospital, Belleville, IL following a short, hard-fought battle with cancer.

“Ernie” was born in New York, New York, on 21 July 1931.  After graduation from the USNA, Ernie received orders to flight training, followed by a tour with Fighter Squadron 33. Ernie subsequently attended the U.S. Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, CA, earning a degree in Aeronautical Engineering.  Following graduation Ernie served two tours at the Intermediate Maintenance Activity, Naval Air Station, Atsugi, Japan as the  their Aviation Joint Power Plants and Material Officer.  He was then assigned to Tactical Electronic Warfare Squadron 130, during which he made two cruises to Vietnam, including one spent ashore at Danang.  While in Danang, Ernie was temporarily assigned to VAO-135 and was instrumental in the formation of its first maintenance department.  After leaving VAQ-135, Ernie was assigned to Chief, Naval Air Advanced Training Command Staff as Aviation Maintenance Engineer, Planning. During this tour, he was a member of the Naval Air Systems Command committee which re-wrote the OpNav 4790 maintenance manual. He was then assigned to NAS Moffitt Field, California, as Quality Control Officer.  Ernie retired on July 1, 1976.

Following his retirement, Ernie entered St. Louis University Law School on August 26, 1976, and graduated on May 26, 1979.  Ernie was hired as the Manager, Safety and Loss Control by the Bi-State Development Agency, the metropolitan St. Louis transportation system where he later moved on to fill the newly-created position of Manager, Claims and Litigation where he was responsible for all legal matters related to property damage and bodily injury claims against the Agency.  Leaving Bi-State, Ernie “hung his own shingle” establishing the law firm of James & Trakas in St. Louis, MO.  Following the death of his partner, Ernie subsequently became a partner in the law firm of Stuart, Maue, Mitchell & James in St. Louis.

Pedeceased by his parents, Ernest and Lola, nee Clancy James; and his son, William “Bill” Bartsch; Ernie is survived by his wife, Jane Ann James, nee Gallagher; six children, fifteen grandchildren and two great grandchildren.

A Memorial Mass was celebrated at the Kassly Mortuary, Fairview Heights, IL on April 1, 2017.  Ernie will be buried with full military honors at the Arlington National Cemetery, Arlington, VA.