MESSER, James Gardner 70, of Riverview, passed away on Dec. 20, 2012, attended by his adored wife and partner of 40 years, Monica, and family and dearest friends. He was born on June 19, 1942 in New Orleans, LA, to the late Judge John Seward & Charlotte Elizabeth (Steeger) Messer. A Marine Corps veteran, James enjoyed sharing his restored 1942 Marine Corps Willys jeep with veterans at military events in the Tampa Bay Area and was a member of the Military Vehicle Preservation Association. He was a scuba diving instructor, served many years as a Ski Patrol member at Killington, VT, and was an ambulance rescue squad member in the Washington, DC area. James earned his private and commercial pilot's licenses in Washington, DC. As an Air Traffic Controller with the FAA, he served at Andrews AFB, Washington, DC; Eielson AFB, Alaska; and San Carlos Tower in California. He earned his Bachelor's Degree in Adult Occupational Education and certification as NRA Firearms Instructor, and assisted the San Antonio, TX Police Department with police firearms and SWAT training. In both San Antonio, TX, and Albuquerque, NM, Jim volunteered his time as a Reserve Deputy with the local sheriff's departments. During his wife's military assignment at MacDill AFB Hospital in Tampa, James served as Red Cross Disaster Chairman, assisting with relief efforts in Homestead after Hurricane Andrew. After he and Monica retired to Riverview in 1997, James became an active leader and trainer in the local Community Emergency Response Team. He was also an officer in the Boyette Springs Homeowners' Association. James is also survived by sister, Dede Allen of San Diego, CA; brother-in-law, Richard Shutts of Tampa; and cousins, William Messer of Austin, TX, and Helen Watkinson of CO. James was preceded in death by a sister, Sarah Fischer. Military honors will be conducted at Sarasota National Cemetery on Friday, Jan. 25, 2013, at 2 pm. Serenity Meadows Memorial Park, Funeral Home & Crematory (813)677-9494.
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Serenity Meadows Memorial Park & Funeral Home - Riverview
6919 Providence Road Riverview, FL 33569
Published in the Tampa Bay Times on Jan. 21, 2013