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James H. "Lotz" Lotzgesell Jr. was born November 7, 1921.
Graduating from Sequim High School in 1938, he was at the University of Washington when the attack on Pearl Harbor occurred.
Leaving college, he flew seaplanes during World War II. While on the Chester, they bombarded Paramushir Island.
On the Nashville, MacArthur's Philippine invasion flagship, he flew in five island landings, winning an Air Medal. On December 13, 1944, a kamikaze killed 133, wounded 190. In 1945, Dad was in an airplane crash.
After World War II, he married Shirley Harper. The Korean War found Dad flying P2V patrol bombers.
VP-2 flew from Kodiak, Alaska, to the Arctic Circle, west above Siberia, then down the Bering Strait, probing for radar and submarines.
Toward war's end at Oahu, Hawaii, he flew DC-6Bs, linking both sides and the middle of the Pacific. Volunteering for intelligence in the mid-1950s, he participated in the U-2 program in Washington, D.C. His next assignment was in Morocco.
In 1961, he was sent to Norfolk and was involved in the Cuban missile crisis. In the summer of 1963, he retired as lieutenant commander.
In Port Angeles, he worked for 10 years as a bank officer.
Subsequently, he ran a motel, taught real estate, made cabinets and drove a school bus. He also became a P.C. guru.
When, in the late 1990s, mill smoke forced Shirley to leave, they spent time in northern California, then moved to Oak Harbor, Washington, in 2005.
On June 21, 2013, our beloved "Jimmy" passed away.
Surviving him is his wife, Shirley; children Dana Lotzgesell, Tonah Potter and Bonnie McWilliams; and grandchildren Cari, Amy, Seth and Jeffrey.
Arrangements were entrusted to Burley Funeral Chapel in Oak Harbor. Friends may go online at www.burleyfuneralchapel.com to sign a guestbook and leave memories for the family.
Published in The Peninsula Daily News on July 14, 2013