James Bilodeau

Obituary
  • "Sorry for the late response; Jim was a great boss and..."
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  • "Just a real great guy to be around and to work with. ..."
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    - Nicole

AUGUSTA, Ga. - Mr. James (Jim) William Bilodeau, 92, beloved husband of Jean H. Bilodeau, passed away peacefully on Tuesday, March 15, 2016 at the Georgia War Veterans Nursing Home. A memorial service will be held at 4 o'clock P.M. on Saturday, March 26th at the Cumberland Village Clubhouse, 3335 Wise Creek Lane in Aiken, S.C. Jim was born on November 14, 1923 in Minneapolis, Minnesota to George Joseph and Lenora Jenny Bilodeau. After completing high school in 1942, he enlisted in the Army Air Corps and was commissioned a second lieutenant after training as a fighter pilot. He was sent to the Pacific theater where he joined the 58th Fighter Squadron as a P-47 Thunderbolt pilot. On his third combat mission, Jim was shot down in the Philippines while attacking an enemy airfield. With the aid of local villagers and Filipino guerrilla forces he escaped capture and was returned to his unit. He completed his tour of duty and was discharged as a first lieutenant at the end of WWII. Upon returning home, Jim enrolled in the University of Minnesota where he received a bachelor's degree in Aeronautical Engineering. After college, he met the love of his life, Jean Victoria Hitchcock and they were married in 1948. They moved to Dallas in 1951 when he was hired by Chance Vought Aircraft. While working there, Jim contributed to the design of the Vought F8 Crusader. During these years, he and Jean were blessed with two sons, Paul Alan and David James Bilodeau. In 1962, they moved the family to Houston, and then to Friendswood, Texas after Jim accepted a job at NASA. He ultimately became Chief of Astronaut Flight Crew Training and Procedures. Jim worked at NASA from the Mercury Program until the Space Shuttle became operational. He was an integral part of the team that landed men on the Moon. While at NASA, Jim received numerous awards and accolades for his service. During this time, he served as an Elder at the Webster Presbyterian Church. After leaving NASA in 1984, he worked for NASA support contractors until his retirement in 1992 when he and Jean moved to Augusta, Georgia to be near family. Jim is survived by his wife of 67 years, Jean; two sons and daughters-in-law, Paul (Jan) Bilodeau, Augusta, Georgia and David (Terry) Bilodeau, Carrollton, Texas; seven grandchildren: Jim Bilodeau and Alan (Lizzy) Bilodeau, both of Augusta, Georgia; Leigh (Eric) Staggs, Hilton Head, South Carolina; Fayelyn Bilodeau, Los Angeles, California; Taylor (Jay) Peterson, Plano, Texas; Tucker Bilodeau, Carrollton, Texas; Turner Bilodeau, Austin, Texas; and one great-granddaughter, Presley Peterson, Plano, Texas. Jim was predeceased by his parents and a sister, Marilyn Hay Fredstrom. The family wishes to thank the staff of the Georgia War Veterans Nursing Home. Special thanks to Dr. Nidhi Gulati and the excellent second floor staff at Georgia War. In lieu of flowers, please send memorials to: Georgia War Veterans Nursing Home, 1101 Fifteenth St., Augusta, Ga., 30901-3196. McNeill Funeral Home, 109 Shaw St., Augusta, Ga. 30907


Funeral Home
McNeill Funeral Home & Cremation Service
109 Shaw Street
Martinez, GA 30907
706-364-9122
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Published in The Augusta Chronicle on Mar. 25, 2016
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