by: Joe Pirozzoli
Our dear friend and fellow member, James (JD) LaVasseur, passed away at approximately 5 am on Friday,
November 11, 2022. JD passed away as a result of complications from diabetes, which is also what took his left
leg several years ago. JD requested, of his sister, that there be no services or formal gatherings after his passing.
However, there will be an opportunity (in the near future) for the Club to honor JD in a very special way.
Our records show that JD had just turned 65 years old last September. They also show that JD had been a
member of AAM since 1993. However, I remember meeting him in the late 1980’s, shooting off large scale
2rockets at the old field (at 5 Parks). JD was a lifelong modeler which included control line, RC, rocketry, trains (as
well as many other things). He was also a HAM radio operator.
JD was an extremely accomplished builder and pilot, and was very generous with his talent and knowledge. He
had a passion for warbirds of all vintages, which is obvious from his model collection. His latest project, which is
still on his workbench, is a Balsa USA, 1/4 scale Fokker D8. The project remains incomplete because his vision
had degraded to the point where he could no longer read the instructions. He mentioned to me that he had
acquired everything needed to complete the project.
JD also served as an officer of the Club. JD was Vice President for 2 years in 2016 and 2017. He served briefly as
our President for the first 2 months of 2017 as we searched for a person to replace the outgoing President from
2016. JD’s leadership skills were very apparent during that transition. He also served on committees to review
and change our rules and bylaws. I am sure that JD was involved in many other aspects of our Club throughout
his years with AAM.
JD’s last trip to the Field was on Saturday, November 29th. We flew his Top Flite P-47 that day as we had done
at the past two AAM Warbird events in 2021 and 2022. The attached picture of JD was taken at the 2021 event.
I know that being at the field and hanging out with the guys meant a lot to him. He knew, at that time, that his
days were numbered, but he seemed very at peace with that knowledge. Our conversations that day were all
about the Club, and building and flying model airplanes which he loved so greatly.
I want to say “thank you very much” to the many members and friends that have been of service to JD over the
past several years. Many, many of you have donated time, materials and funding to help JD through some
pretty rough times. Believe me when I tell you that JD was extremely grateful to every one of you. We (the
entire Club) should all feel very good about the way we took care of one of our own!
In the words of Lanny Hansen… “may JD soar with the eagles!” Amen to that!