James Joseph Shannon

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James Joseph Shannon passed away on Holy Thursday, March 28, 2013, after a long and fruitful life. He was born in Laurel, Miss., to Charles Rushing Shannon and Alta Marie Haynie Shannon. He was the youngest of four children, the only son. After high school, James joined the Army Air Corps and served until the war ended. He studied engineering at Mississippi State University and after graduation went to work for the Tennessee Valley Authority -- surveying to bring electricity to rural America. From there, he took a civil service job with the Navy in Washington, D.C. While on assignment in Portsmouth, Va., he met the love of his life, his wife Shirley Marie Kilpatrick. He had met her at a banquet, but found her again at church. He missed mass at his parish when out on sea trials, so when he returned he went to a later service at St. Paul's downtown. There she was, and he never let her go. They would have celebrated their 62nd wedding anniversary on April 7. With the Navy, they moved to Pascagoula, Miss., then Newport News, Va. In 1961, James joined Manned Space Program (which became NASA) and began an adventure to put a man on the moon. It was such an exciting and challenging job that he often said he would have done it for free. NASA took them to Houston, where they would live and raise their family for the next 33 years. The only son of an only son, he was blessed with five sons and three daughters. He relished the love and chaos that came with a large family. He retired from NASA in 1986, and spent the next 27 years enjoying his family, traveling, gardening, and volunteering at church. They moved to Georgetown, Texas, in 1995 near their daughter Cynthia and were active at St. Helen Catholic Church in the Knights of Columbus, Hospitality and the Droll Patrol. In 2008, at 82 years of age, James fulfilled a life-long dream -- to build a house. He found an architect and builder to help and built their current home on Lake Nacogdoches, next to their daughter Betsy. They have lived in Nacogdoches and attended Immaculate Conception Church since August 2009. Left to cherish his memory are his wife, Shirley; his children, James Joseph Shannon Jr., Cynthia Jean Shannon Davis and husband Bill, Ann Marie Shannon Falloure and husband Jack, Elizabeth (Betsy) Haynie Shannon Bales and husband Malcolm, John Gregory Shannon and wife Tiffany, Patrick Michael Shannon and wife Nastasya, and Timothy Sean Shannon and wife Katherine; grandchildren, Jeffrey Davis and wife Selma, Scott Davis and wife Heana, Byron Davis, James Davis, Sean Falloure, Craig Falloure and wife Mackenzie, Stephanie Falloure, Shannon Bales Morrison and husband Josh, Sarah Bales Mikkelsen and husband Emil, Brigid Bales Pitts and husband Joey, Kelly Bales, Patrick Bales, Christopher McGee, Taylor Shannon, Kaitlynn Shannon, Zachery Canon, Mackenzie Canon, and Maggie Shannon; great-grandchildren, Luna Davis, Kaden Callahan, Liam Falloure, Audrey Morrison, Clark Morrison, Alex Morrison, Elle Morrison, Margot Morrison, Molly Pitts, Charles Pitts, James Pitts; sister, Stella Shannon Clark; and many nieces, nephews, cousins and friends. He was preceded in death by his parents; his sisters, Ann Catherine Shannon Fitts and Gertrude Shannon Collins; son, Charles Byron Shannon; and grandson, Malcolm Bales. His family would like to thank those who helped care for him, Dr. Scott Oh, Dr. Monica Jauregui, Dr. John Scroggins, the nurses and aides of Trinity Mother Francis Hospital fourth floor Ornelas Tower, Advancing at Home Health, Angel Care Hospice and Latoya Hill. A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at 11 a.m. Tuesday, April 2, at Immaculate Conception Church, 1422 County Road 724, Nacogdoches, Texas 75964, by the Rev. Joseph Lourdusamy. Visitation will be at 5 p.m. Monday, April 1, with a Rosary at 7 p.m at Laird Funeral Home, 2116 South Street, Nacogdoches, Texas 75964. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations can be made to the Immaculate Conception Church Building Fund, 1422 County Road 724, Nacogdoches, Texas 75964, or the , 1701 N. Beauregard Street, Alexandria, Va. 22311. Laird Funeral Home.
Published in The Daily Sentinel on Mar. 31, 2013
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