Cover photo for James John Sheehy, Jr.'s Obituary
James John Sheehy, Jr. Profile Photo

James John Sheehy, Jr.

August 18, 1945 — December 20, 2023

Huntsville

James John Sheehy, Jr.

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Retired Lieutenant Colonel James J. Sheehy Jr. took his final flight in the early morning hours of December 20, 2023.

Jim was born August 1945, in Berea, Ohio, to the late James and Mary (Gotab) Sheehy. Jim was a 1963 graduate of Medina High School in Medina, Ohio. He volunteered for military service in the Army and in the spring of 1967 married the love of his life, Judy. Jim embarked on a military career spanning over twenty years: as an Army Aviation helicopter pilot, then later managing the research and development of helicopters, followed by missile defense management.  He loved to jokingly refer to the helicopter cockpit as “his office.” His awards and declarations include Master Army Aviator, Vietnam Gallantry Cross Unit Citation, Bronze Star Medal, Vietnam Campaign Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Army Commendation Medal with 1st Oak Leaf Cluster, Meritorious Service Medal with 1st Oak Leaf Cluster, Army Achievement Medal, and the Legion of Merit. Jim felt most honored for receiving the Army Broken Wing Award for extraordinary flying under fire, saving lives as well as his wounded Huey.

Jim earned a B.S. degree in Production and Operations Management 1975 from The Ohio State University, followed by an M.S. in Computer Science from Kansas State University. He remained in Huntsville, Alabama after his retirement from the military to work in the strategic defense industry. Upon retirement in 2016, Jim Sheehy completed a career that spanned service as an Army Officer, a Senior Scientist/Engineer, Program Manager and CEO/President with over 30 years technical, managerial, and executive experience. His work and professional contributions earned him the prestigious Marion Rose Award in 2021 for his outstanding service and significant contributions to the Hardened Electronics and Radiation Technology Society (HEART).

Jim was often described as an encourager, mentor, and counselor to those around him. Through his gentle wisdom, many considered Jim a “father-figure.” All who knew him well understood that God, family, and country came first for Jim. He believed that everyone possessed a better angel to guide them in making life’s hard choices, and the only way to face big decisions was to follow one’s true north. He was the embodiment of a self-made man, an inspiration to many, and his words and wisdom will be truly missed.

Jim is survived by his wife of 56 years, Judy (Warner) Sheehy, their children Susan Sheehy-Carter (Chris Carter), James Sheehy (Jennifer Sheehy-Knight), Sean (Megan) Sheehy, his grandchildren Charles James “C.J.” and Caitlin Grigsby, Ian and Hudson Sheehy, Eileen and Merida Sheehy, his brother Stephen Sheehy, and several close nieces and nephews. Jim was preceded in death by his brother Joseph Sheehy and his grandson Seamus Sheehy.

Services will be held Saturday, January 27, 2024, at St. Joseph Catholic Church in Huntsville, Alabama. There will be a visitation at 10am, followed by a mass at 11am. Jim will be buried in Maple Hill Cemetery with Legacy Funeral Home & Crematory directing. In lieu of flowers, the family requests those who wish to express sympathy consider a donation to The Tunnel to Tower Foundation in Jim’s name.

Past Services

Visitation

Saturday, January 27, 2024

10:00 - 11:00 am (Central time)

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Mass

Saturday, January 27, 2024

11:00am - 12:00 pm (Central time)

Burial to follow at Maple Hill Cemetery @ 202 Maple Hill Street SE, Huntsville, AL 35801.

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