James McCloat

Obituary of James J. McCloat

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James Joseph, or Jim as he preferred to be called, was born on January 5, 1942, and grew up in Woodmere, New York. Jim was a multi-sport athlete at George W. Hewlett High school and was a talented baseball player who got a tryout with the New York baseball Giants from which he was offered a minor league contract. Jim was also a fierce patriot, and instead he chose to enlist in the United States Navy where he joined the Seabees (or Construction Battalion [C.B.]) Jim proudly served his Country for five years including being extended by then President John F. Kennedy (one of his great personal heroes) to fight in the Cuban Missile Crisis. When Jim came home, he used the skills that he learned in the Navy as a heavy equipment operator to work for the Long Island Lighting Company. There, Jim would meet the love of his life, then Diane Agostinetti, who became his wife of 57 years. Shortly after Jim and Diane were married, Jim began working for Trans World Airlines, where he would discover advocacy, his life’s greatest passion which would go on to serve him well later in life. Although starting as an airplane fueler, Jim quickly became involved with the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace workers (the IAM, the Union who representsthe airline workers). Jim quickly rose through the ranks of the IAM and ultimately was Nationally elected to be a General Chairman who served all fifty states. Jim was known as a fierce negotiator and defender of his members, which allowed him to continue getting re-elected. During this time in Jim’s life, he and Diane had their first child, James Michael, or Jimmy as he was known. Jimmy was diagnosed as being autistic and severely mentally retarded, and the doctors recommended that he be placed in a facility immediately for his own good. Jim and Diane, however, balked at that and decided to raise Jimmy at home and love and care for him themselves. When Jimmy was young he was a very well-behaved child. During this time, Jim and Diane had their second child, Kevin, who was seven years younger than Jimmy. When Jimmy hit puberty he became aggressive as he didn’t understand the changes he was going through, and nobody could explain it to him in a meaningful way. As a reminder, Jim had a job at that stage of his life which involved his traveling coast to coast. Jimmy was a big boy who was stronger than Diane, and twice the size of Kevin who was seven years younger. Jim made a courageous decision, particularly for men of his generation, and left his extremely successful career in the Union to take a major pay cut at the last job Jim would ever work as the Superintendent of Public Works for the Incorporated Village of New Hyde Park in order to be able to work locally and get home to help with Jimmy’s care whenever necessary. Jim never stopped advocating, however, as Jim continued to advocate for Jimmy and others like him with help from Diane and Kevin fighting with OPWDD (which was then OMRDD) to continue transitional funding year after year and being personally responsible for several group homes for the developmentally disabled being built after then Governor Cuomo’s moratorium on the building of new group homes. Jim retired from a second successful career as the Superintendent of Public Works, where he received numerous honors and accolades. Unfortunately Jimmy succumbed to pneumonia and pre-deceased Jim. Jim was devastated by this loss, but was always proud to know that Jimmy had a much better life because of his advocacy for his son. Jim passed away on Wednesday, May 8, 2024, after several years of courageously battling several illnesses and, in true SeaBee fashion, giving them no quarter. Jim is survived by his wife Diane, his younger son Kevin, his daughter-in-law Jessica, and his sister Maureen.
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Friday
10
May

Visitation at Funeral Home

2:00 pm - 4:00 pm
Friday, May 10, 2024
Perry Funeral Home, Inc.
118 Union Ave
Lynbrook, New York, United States
Friday
10
May

Visitation

7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Friday, May 10, 2024
Perry Funeral Home, Inc.
118 Union Ave
Lynbrook, New York, United States
Friday
10
May

Funeral Service

8:00 pm
Friday, May 10, 2024
Perry Funeral Home, Inc.
118 Union Ave
Lynbrook, New York, United States
Saturday
11
May

Final Resting Place

10:30 am
Saturday, May 11, 2024
Mt. Pleasant Cmetery & Crematory
 41 Main Street
Center Moriches, New York, United States
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James McCloat

In Loving Memory

James McCloat

1942 - 2024

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