Cover photo for Cdr Mary Catherine James, Usn (Ret)'s Obituary
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1935 Cdr 2023

Cdr Mary Catherine James, Usn (Ret)

November 16, 1935 — October 20, 2023

Commander Mary Catherine James, USN (Ret) passed away peacefully on October 20, 2023, several weeks short of her 88th birthday. Born on November 16, 1935 in Hartford Connecticut, she was the daughter of Dr. Lewis P. and Catherine Carpenter James of West Hartford.

She grew up on Walkley Road, spending summers at Lake Garda and in Clinton along the shores of Long Island Sound. Mary graduated from Mount Saint Joseph's Academy in 1953 and from Connecticut College in 1957. After a short while in the insurance business, Mary joined the Navy. She graduated from Officer Candidate School in Newport, Rhode Island, in 1960, and was commissioned an ensign. For the next 26 years, through the height of the Cold War, she worked in Anti-Submarine warfare, tracking Soviet submarines primarily in the western Atlantic. Her career in the Navy took her to Hawaii, Norfolk (VA), Halifax (Nova Scotia), Argentia (Newfoundland), Minneapolis (Minnesota) with several stops in the Washington DC area.

Following her retirement in 1986, Mary remained in northern Virginia, living quietly in the company of her cats. And although Mary was a very self-contained person, comfortable living quietly alone, she loved music and was a gifted piano player who could be counted on to bang out some oldies at family gatherings. She also loved old movies and was probably one the more talented movie bootleggers in northern Virginia. Mary is survived by her five nieces and nephews.

Services for Commander James will be private.
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