David W. James

1942 ~ 2022

Obit Photo David James

   Captain David James, age 80, died on December 16, 2022.  He was predeceased by his wife Catherine Ann (Cathy) on September 30, 2022, and previously a son, Kevin James. David and Cathy are survived by Greg James, Lori Menalis, Josh James, Elizabeth Studenski and four grandchildren. An excellent family obituary can be found at this website: https://robersonfh.com/obituary/david-william-james/

An aviator’s obituary

   David James received flight lessons at Southport Airport in Apple Valley, MN.

Obit Photo David James student pilot

   David James student pilot

If you tried to land at Southport Airport today, you would end up in a Target shopping cart. Little did David know that in a few short years many of his copilots and Second Officers would be living in homes just south of the airport where he learned to fly. Veterans could buy new homes there and qualify for a loan, nothing down and a gross paycheck of $550 @ month in a new community.

   David's father Keith James was an NWA pilot and owned a Lake Buccaneer amphibious aircraft that David flew at times.

   The best part of David’s flying career started in October 1966. He was hired as an NWA pilot. In the months following airlines hired a massive number of pilots thru 1970, So David advanced rapidly to a Captain seat on the 727. David’ father, Keith, retired in 1973. 

Obit Photo David James Radio City Picture 002

Cathy and David James early in his career

   The following was written by NWA instructor pilot Jack Cutler.

So very sad to hear of the passing of my good friend Dave James. Dave and I were classmates and later "teammates" in the 747-training program during some of the most intense times of that programs history. Dave worked tirelessly during that phase to insure the "Paul Soderlind Legacy" held strong within the 747 program. There were many, many hours spent in his office working hard to ensure that standard was not lost as we faced a large influx of new faces as the 747 flying expanded rapidly. It was not always an easy task dealing with the influx of glass vs. steam gauge cockpits and the introduction of "boilerplate" SOPA amongst the newer fleets - and new crews without international experience. Dave held strong and under his guidance the program proceeded safely and smoothly. We flew many training flights doing touch and goes for those who had never flown a wide body before. Fun times they were. I will truly miss him and his dear wife Cathy.

 Fair winds to you both.”

 I felt honored when Bill Day asked me to help on David James obituary. As you can see from his NWA classmates' comments, David was not your average pilot. Having never flown the 747, in 2006 that all changed as we bought a home in Punta Gorda, Florida where David and Cathy lived.

   Not sure how we initially got together, but it became one of the best friendships in my life of 80 years.  David and his wife Cathy had been buying and flipping homes in the area for many years. He and Cathy helped me make my present home a wonderful place to live. If I had a problem a call to David would make great help available in a short period of time. He and Cathy had an incredible ability to turn homes into a palace.

Obit Photo David James Pier Picture 002

Now they are both gone, and I miss them every day.

(~ Donnis Bergman)