In Memoriam

 
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In Memory of

James Lee Fleishell

September 23, 1927 - August 7, 2019

Obituary

James Lee Fleishell, 91, a longtime resident of East Lyme, died peacefully Aug. 7, 2019, at his home in Chester surrounded by family.

He is survived by his wife, the former Norma Deveau, to whom he had been married for 68 years; his four children, James of East Lyme, Thomas of Montville, N.J., Anne Kelly (John) of Wilton and Mary Lee Tucker (John) of Medfield, Mass.; and his five grandchildren, Christopher and James Kelly, Connor Fleishell and Ellen and Annie Tucker. He is predeceased by his brother William Fleishell; and his sister Jean Hammer.

Jim was born Sept. 23, 1927, in Washington, D.C., to William Sheldon Fleishell and Anna Mae Shank. He was raised in DC, surrounded by a large extended family, and attended St. John's College High School. He graduated from the U.S. Coast Guard Academy in 1950, and later received a master's degree in Public Administration from George Washington University.

Jim served proudly for 30 years as a Coast Guard officer in various overseas and domestic assignments, including command of two Coast Guard cutters, USS Cartigan (Panama City, FL) and USS Mackinac (Staten Island, NY). Following his sea tours, he enjoyed major shore commands as Commander, Group Long Island Sound, Commander, Group New York, and Captain of the Port of New York. He was the first to preside over the combined Coast Guard activities on both the north and south shores of Long Island Sound.

It was in his role as Captain of the Port that he achieved distinction which resulted in the award of the Legion of Merit, the nation's second highest peacetime award. Ed Koch, then Mayor of New York, pinned it on his breast and personally thanked him for directing Coast Guard operational forces during the nation's 1976 Bicentennial celebration in New York harbor. The Governor of New Jersey also awarded him for leading Coast Guard efforts to ameliorate the impact of severe chemical explosions, fires and various oil spills in the waters of New Jersey. Upon retirement from the Coast Guard in 1980, Jim worked for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, serving as the Executive Director of the New York Harbor Festival for several years.

He later joined General Dynamics in their Electric Boat Division in New London, working in their Trident Training Facility Construction and Support Program, retiring fully in 1991. Jim enjoyed playing golf with his friends at New London and Great Neck Country Clubs and in the Connecticut State Seniors Golf Association. He was a member of the Board of Directors of the New London Maritime Society, Sons of the American Revolution, a life member of the Retired Officer's Association and a former member of the Navy League, American Legion (Tampa Post), the American Society of Naval Engineers, the American Society of Public Administration and Pi Sigma Alpha, an honorary political science fraternity.

For many years, he was an active (and often vocal) member of the East Lyme Republican Town Committee, and a communicant of St. Matthias Parish in East Lyme. Family and friends will remember Jim as a true Southern gentleman - engaging, unfailingly courteous and solicitous, and generous with his time and attention. His passing will leave his family and many friends yearning for his quick wit, his presence, his love and his passion for learning.

Calling hours will be held from 4pm to 6 pm Sunday, September 8, 2019 at Fulton-Theroux Funeral Home, 181 Ocean Ave., New London. A Funeral Mass will be held at 11am Monday, September 9, 2019, at the U.S. Coast Guard Academy Chapel, in New London.

https://www.fultontherouxnewlondon.com In lieu of flowers, donations in Jim's memory may be made to the U.S. Coast Guard Academy Alumni Association, 47 Mohegan Ave, New London, CT 06320 or https://www.cgaalumni.org

Published in The Day on September 4, 2019

 


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