PAUL JAMES LACKEY
1922 – 2019
Our father passed away peacefully on October 9th at the age of 97 in Escondido, CA. Predeceased by his wife Martha in 2005, he is survived by his son Stephen (Janet), daughter Susan (Jerry), four grandchildren (Emily, Amy, Brian and Sarah), four great grandchildren (Adam, Eli, Maggie, and Miles), and Finish exchange daughter, Marja Vilanti. Dad was born in Bakersfield, California and lived in many areas of California as his parents followed employment opportunities in the 1920’s, but settled predominantly in the Los Angeles area in the 1930’s. He graduated from Hoover High School and attended Glendale Junior College, both in Glendale, CA. Following his marriage to (literally) the “girl next door” in 1943, he enlisted in the US Army Air Corps. He attended OCS at Yale University and entered WWII as a commissioned officer and pilot, being deployed to the North African theater serving with US and British troops. His initial responsibility was to establish radio communications systems for allied operations, starting in Bahrain on the Arabian Peninsula, and ending in Tripoli, Libya. While in Cairo in 1944, he was assigned to a British squadron of Bristol Bauxfighters and flew over 100 missions over the Mediterranean and Adriatic Seas over a four month period in 1944/45. Once home after the war, he completed his degree in electrical engineering at the University of California, Berkeley on the G.I. Bill, and he and mom settled in Whitter, CA. in 1949 (and eventually to Hacienda Heights, CA. in 1961) where he worked as a maintenance and design engineer in the elevator business. In 1955 he joined North American Aviation in Downey, CA. (later to become Rockwell International) and worked on many new defense and aerospace programs including guidance systems for the Navajo, Minute Man and Hound Dog missiles, and the F-4 Fathom fighter. His greatest joy and professional achievement was as a project engineer on the pre-flight check out team for the Apollo capsule and Saturn V launch vehicle for man’s journeys to the moon throughout the 1960’s and early 70’s. Following the temporary collapse of the aerospace industry in the 1970’s, Dad went to work for the State of California as an electrical engineer where he finished his working career. He and mom spent their retirement years living aboard their 34 foot sail boat Love Affair in Oceanside, CA. which they built from the keel up themselves and sailed for many years around the coast of Southern California, finally moving to “dry land” in San Marcos, CA. in the late 1980’s when their sailing days were over. Following mom’s passing, dad eventually moved to assisted living in Escondido, CA. where he resided until his death. Dad loved the outdoors, and lived a long life of adventure, hard work, professional and personal integrity, and uncompromised commitment to his family and his country. The family would like to express their sincere gratitude to his primary care physician, Dr. Christopher Cutter, the doctors and staff at Palomar Hospital, and the amazing care givers, staff and management at Cypress Court Senior Living Community in Escondido. A private family service will be held at a later date.
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