Commander James Featherstone, 83, of Orlando, died Saturday, Feb. 2, 2019 at the Advent Hospice of the Comforter in Altamonte Springs, surrounded by his wife and daughters.
Jim was born Nov. 7, 1935 in Hannibal. He was the son of the late Clare and Ruth (Smith) Featherstone. He graduated with the class of 1953 from Hannibal High School in Hannibal and then graduated from Hannibal Lagrange College in 1955.
On Sept. 2, 1962, Jim married Elizabeth Josephine Geary in Saint Mary’s Catholic Church in Waltham, Mass.
Jim entered the Naval Academy, 24th Company, on a Congressional appointment in 1955. He graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1959 and earned his Master's Degree in Science for management in 1967, from the Naval Post-Graduate school in Monterey, Calif., and he was a graduate from the National Defense University, Industrial College of Armed Forces in 1976. Jim was first called to service while at the academy and served during the Lebanon Crises/Invasion in 1958. And during his first tour of duty, his ship is noted for intercepting the first Soviet ship trying to pass the blockade during the Cuban Missile crisis in 1962.
Jim moved into the role as the Weapons Officer of the USS Gearing and left in 1963 to serve as the Navigator and Executive Officer on the USS Fidelity. In 1965 he assumed command of the USS Frigate Bird, MSC 191.
His next duty station was at the Bureau of Naval Personnel where he served in the Officer Plans Branch as head of Officer Promotion Plans in 1967.
He then served as Executive Officer and Navigator on the USS Stribling in 1970 during the Black Sep Jordan Crisis. Jim next reported to Commander Destroyer Squadron Fourteen as the Chief Staff Officer. Jim had screened early for command and his next assignment as Lieutenant Commander Featherstone, was to command the USS Tattnall DDG from 1973 to 1975. During his tenure, he observed the Chilean coup in 1973 and in 1975 his ship was selected to participate in a celebration for the end of World War II, in the, then USSR.
He was awarded the Meritorious Service Medal, The Combat Battle Efficiency "E," Navy Achievement Medal, the Navy Unit Commendation, Navy Expeditionary Medal, the Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal with two Bronze Stars for a 2nd and 3rd award, the National Defense Medal and the Navy Sea Service Deployment Ribbon with eight Bronze stars.
Jim retired after 27 years of distinguished service from the US Navy as a Commander. When he retired, Jim worked for ADTECH, Advanced Technologies in the Washington D.C. area for four years. He next moved to Florida and worked for Martin Marietta in the International Division as program director for the Patriot Missile for 10 years.
Jim wrapped up his civilian career as an Adjunct Professor, teaching business management at Florida Southern at the Orlando satellite campus for 10 years.
James leaves his wife of 56 years, Elizabeth G. Featherstone; his children, Marybeth Featherstone, and her longtime companion Charles Rumpf of Lansdale, Pa., Kristin Featherstone of Sarasota, Fla., brother, Glenn Featherstone of Columbia; brother (in-laws) James Geary of Waltham, Mass. and Richard Geary of Leominster, Mass.
His Funeral Mass was celebrated on Thursday, Feb. 7, 2019 at 10 a.m. at Saint James Catholic Cathedral, 215 N. Orange Ave, Orlando, Fla. 32801. He will be interred at the United States Naval Academy Columbarium at a future date.
In lieu of flowers, please make any donations to the St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital.