James W Wasdyke, also known as Jim, Dutch, and Santa, passed away peacefully in the early morning hours of September 13th, 2020 at St Mary’s Hospital in Jefferson City Missouri. He was 77 years old.
Born on October 13th, 1942 in Passaic NJ, James was the oldest of four children from Walter Joseph Wasdyke and Margaret Ann McAteer. Walter passed away when James was still a boy, yet he was able to arise from poverty to make something of himself. He joined the Army in 1960 and retired after 20 years, only to become employed with the Department of Defense and retire again after 34 years. During his time in the Army, he served one tour in Vietnam. After he joined DOD, he participated in Operation Desert Shield in Saudi Arabia, was part of the recovery team for Hurricane Andrew in Florida, and was also part of the whale rescue effort in northern Alaska that was the subject of a movie. He earned his BS in Aeronautical Engineering from Embry Riddle University after he left the Army. He was very active in the Catholic Church and the Knights of Columbus; he loved to play Santa Clause and spent many holiday seasons volunteering at orphanages in Korea during his last overseas tour. James was a fine man, a loving husband and father, and was well liked and respected wherever he found himself.
James is preceded in death by his wife Tammy, his son Walter, and his sisters Mary Ellen and Monica. He is survived by his sons James and Sonny, his daughter Barbara, his sister Margaret, thirteen grandchildren and nine great-grandchildren.
James will be transported from Missouri to Huntsville, Alabama for burial. Visitation will be at Legacy Chapel on Hughes Rd, Madison, AL on Thursday evening the 17th from 6 to 8 pm. A short visitation at 11 am and Funeral Mass at noon will be on Friday the 18th at St John the Baptist Catholic Church. Graveside services will be at Huntsville Memory Gardens on University Drive in Huntsville.