NAUGATUCK — James John Vanasse, 84, passed peacefully at his home Thursday, Dec. 19, 2013, surrounded by his loving family.
James J. was born May 29, 1929 in Waterbury the son of Jack and Mary Vanasse. He grew up skating and swimming at Vanasse’s pond with his three brothers, John, Bill and Bob. When young, James and his brothers assisted in the family business, delivering ice for the company started by their grandfather Victor, Vanasse Ice and Oil. James went on to attend Naugatuck High School, where he played football and was named class handsome by his senior classmates, graduating in 1947. He completed his bachelor’s at Central Connecticut State University and his master’s in education at Southern Connecticut State University.
James was commissioned a first lieutenant in the U.S. Air Force towards the end of the Korean War. He proudly flew one of the first military jet planes ever made, an F-86 Sabre.
For 32 years, James Vanasse was a well-known and respected teacher at Naugatuck High School. He taught woodshop to a multitude of teenagers and was an exceptional vocational counselor to many. He and his wife also taught hundreds of people how to drive through his Naugatuck Driving School.
Besides his cherished wife Sis, he is survived by three daughters and four sons, Jim, Jamie, Nancy, Jeffery, J.P., Margaret, and Thomas; their spouses; and 12 amazing grandchildren. He was predeceased by his three brothers.
Throughout his life, James loved to play hockey and was a hunting, and fishing enthusiast. He was an active member of Lake Quassapaug Sportsman Club, the Naugatuck Elks Lodge and a huge fan of UConn athletics, especially basketball. In retirement he enjoyed hunting with his son Jim, visiting JP and Margaret in California, visits with Jamie and Thomas, and spending time every day with Nancy and Jeff. He equally loved sharing stories and time with his grandchildren.
Calling hours will be held Friday, Dec. 27, 2013 from 5 to 7 p.m. at Buckmiller Brothers Funeral Home, 82 Fairview Ave., Naugatuck, CT 06770. A funeral mass will be held Saturday, Dec. 28, 2013 at 10 a.m. St. Mary’s Catholic Church, 338 N Main St. Naugatuck, everyone is asked to meet directly at the church. Burial will be held at the convenience of the family.
Memorial contributions may be sent in James’ name to: Alzheimer’s Association Connecticut, 2075 Silas Deane Highway, Suite 100, Rocky Hill, CT 06067.
To place online condolences, visit www.buckmillerbrothers.com.