James Cassidy was with loved ones just before he passed away peacefully the night of Sunday, April 27th, 2014. Fiercely intelligent and well read, he spent his last morning engaging clearly with his family about current events. Though he would never take himself so seriously to say so, he brought curiosity, interest, and knowledge to conversations with loved ones and strangers. Having been diagnosed with lung cancer just one month prior, he charmed his new caretakers who were disappointed to learn they wouldn’t have the chance to get to know him better. But lollygagging was not his way-he always said he’d like to leave this world before he found himself asleep with his head in his soup at the dinner table-and he passed with pride intact.
James earned what he had, and preferred it that way. He left Montreal in 1953 when he was 22 to start a life in America, knowing he’d be drafted into the U.S. Army. With high school sweetheart, his wife Sheila by his side, he spent two years serving our country in Germany before settling down in Southern California as an insurance broker. With gumption and an entrepreneurial spirit, he started his own business in 1965.
Challenges (or perhaps solutions) were his specialty. He ensured a fireworks manufacturer, Lear jets, Dr. Gene Scott’s ministry and famous L.A. sign “Jesus Saves,” among other clients and products that required creative thinking. Industrious at work and present at home, he loved being active with close family, going skiing every winter, taking flying lessons with his daughter, and being a boy scout leader for his son’s troop.
He was a craftsman who believed in quality of life and an army-neat workbench, and was full of ideas for small improvements and imagination for big projects. Hammer and nail in hand, he devised ways of making broken things useful again, built a 13-room Victorian dollhouse for his granddaughter shingle by shingle, and transformed his basement from a game room into a home when he and Sheila welcomed relatives to stay.
Education was paramount to him, neither missing a parent-teacher conference, nor his granddaughter’s college graduation. He encouraged his children and grandchildren by setting a good example and investing personally in their interests and future.
Witty and sharp, he brought a sense of levity and perspective to even serious conversations, developed great relationships with his clients, and was a reliable pillar of strength for his family. With Sheila, he provided a life full of opportunity for their two children, and a life full of love for their four grandchildren. He is survived by these two children, four grandchildren, his sister and brother.
The memorial service will be held on Wednesday, May 7th at 10am at O’Connor Mortuary in Laguna Hills, followed by a burial service with military honors at Miramar National Cemetery in San Diego.