Former CO dies at 61

Former CO dies at 61Capt. James Reid Seaman, Jr., a former commanding officer of Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake, died April 20, 2018, surrounded by the loving and incessant chatter of his wife and daughters in his Hollywood, Md., home. He was 61.

He was born in St. Augustine to Barbara Taylor Jaillet of Palatka, Fla., and the late James Reid Seaman.

Jim is a graduate of the University of Florida with a bachelor of science in nuclear engineering. He later earned his master of science in aviation systems from the University of Tennessee making him a wanna-be rocket scientist. He proudly served in the United States Navy for more than 25 years as both a fleet aviator and a test pilot. During his service he flew more than 60 aircraft, including the A-6 and F-14. Highly accomplished, Jim earned many decorations during his service. Jim was a modest man but according to his daughters he was the greatest pilot they ever saw. Upon retirement, he began his second career at Booz, Allen, and Hamilton.

Jim was humble, sharp witted, and loving. He was a wonderful father, not just to his daughters but also to many of their friends. He had a commanding presence and was loved by his colleagues and the men and women who served under him. Jim was unafraid to think outside the box and had no qualms with stating exactly what he thought to the chagrin of some but the delight of most. Meetings with Jim set records for speed and candor.

Together Jim and his beloved wife Betty celebrated more than 34 wonderful years of marriage — if you asked Jim, he often said it felt like 99. Jim and Betty made co-dependency fashionable. He and his wife enjoyed building wooden boats together including a 21-foot triple-seat kayak and an 18.5-foot sailboat. He was currently building Betty an open-top kayak that he planned to paint her favorite color, yellow. When he wasn’t playing with wood in the garage, he could be found riding his beloved bicycle throughout the streets of southern Maryland in flashy spandex. Favorite quotes were “Suck it up,” “Shake it Off,” “Just Peachy,” “Get to the Point,” “Yes, Dear.” “Uh huh” (with glazed eyes) and “I am um.”

In addition to his family, great loves included bicycling, weight lifting, sailing, SUPing, kayaking, “Taco Thursday,” hot sauce, bacon, ceaselessly nagging Betty for a gyrocopter/airplane/sailboat, competing with his daughter for the best bicycle, and, especially, harassing/embarrassing his daughters. He greatly admired General “Mad Dog” Mattis and Ron Swanson.

In addition to his beloved wife, Betty, Jim is also survived by his daughters, Kari Weninger (Jeremy) of Las Vegas, Nev., and Lani Seaman-Fegenbush (Logan) of Los Alamos, N.M.; his mother Barbara Jaillet (Fred) of Palatka, Fla.; his siblings Richard Seaman (Jane) of Ormond Beach, Fla., Ronald Seaman of Deland, Fla., Uma Seaman of Aiken, S.C., and Rachel Seaman King of Rosharon, Texas; his grandchildren, Ashlynn “AJ” Weninger and Dominik Weninger, both of Las Vegas, and many extended family and friends. He was preceded in death by his father.

In lieu of flowers the family asks that memorial contributions be made to the Disabled American Veterans at or the veterans organization of your choice.

Condolences to the family may be made at

— Submitted by the Seaman family

Story First Published: 2018-04-27