(March 25, 1927 - Aug. 27, 2011)
James Raymond Detrio died Aug. 27, 2011. He was 84.
James — known as Jim, Daddy, Pa, G-pa Detrio, Jimmy Blue Eyes — was the second son born to Mary Catherine Casey (Mae) and Joseph Anthony Detrio March 25, 1927, in Richmond Hill, Long Island, N.Y.
Immediately after graduation from Newtown High School, he enlisted in the Navy. At just 18 years old, he entered the Navy at the end of WWII. The war ended while at sea and he was part of the occupation of Japan. James was very athletic and played on the competitive Navy baseball team while in Japan.
Upon returning from Japan, he made the switch from Navy to the Marine Corps where his only brother Joseph Detrio, a JAG Marine, performed the swearing in ceremony. James started college using the GI bill at University of Miami and later graduated a Rambling Wreck from Georgia Tech. Shortly before receiving his chemical engineering bachelor of science degree, the Korean Conflict had begun.
He was promoted to captain and upon returning from Korea, he worked for U.S. Rubber Co. in the NY Chrysler Building. He met a fellow Marine, Maria Anita Gutierrez, in Detroit, Mich., where they fell in love at first sight. This union brought four children into this world: Linda Maria Majoris (Joe), Dianne Maria Pavao (Tony), James Casey Detrio, Dawn Maria Malan (Dave).
James’ engineering career moved the family from Mexico, California, New York, Louisiana and finally to Utah. James and Maria were later divorced, but remained good friends.
He completed his career at Thiokol, where he was assigned to the O-Ring fix of the solid rocket boosters after the space shuttle Challenger tragic crash in 1986, due to his knowledge of non-metallics and what a bambury rubber mixer was during a meeting. James worked on the fix and retired shortly after the first successful launch.
He was an avid sports fan and followed the Yankees since childhood, where he would take the subway to attend the games in the bleacher section with mitt in hand. He was also a diehard Buffalo Bill fan and his family will miss his ability to be their personal living room announcer where he would state things before the TV announcers almost word for word.
His grandchildren are Jennifer Maria Cooley (Gareth), Roxanne Maria Schaffer, Casey James Detrio, David James Malan, Jessica Dawn Detrio, Leila Maria Naderi, Derek Max Malan, Desiree Dawn Malan, and great-grandchild Noah Valdeolivar. His grandchildren always knew he could solve any math problem they encountered or stop by for a hug, talk, watch a game or a bite to eat.
Funeral Mass was held Sept. 3 at Saint James Catholic Church in Ogden, Utah.
Memorial donations in his name may be made to the National Mall, where the Korean Memorial is located. Visit www.nationalmall.org/donationform.php.
Condolences for the family can sent via email by visiting www.thompsonfuneral.net.