James "Lucky Jim" McGeever, formerly of Hicksville, passed away on Jan. 29, 2006 from complications of emphysema and leukemia. He was 85 years old.
Mr. McGeever served as a captain in the Army Air Force, 320th bomb group, 12th Air Force during World War II. In this role, he was a navigator and bombardier in North Africa and Italy.
Mr. McGeever joined the Army as an air cadet on Dec. 26, 1941. He abandoned his studies as an accounting major at Siena College to attend flight school in Douglas, GA, but he crash-landed his plane and was sent to Navigation School at Turner Field in Albany, GA. In September 1942 he graduated and was commissioned a Second Lieutenant. Soon after, he was transferred to Barksdale Field in Shreveport, LA to train on the B-26 bomber. He was then sent overseas with his first combat mission over North Africa occurring on April 23, 1943. Over the course of the following months, Mr. McGeever flew 40 missions and was wounded.
His fellow crewmen referred to him as "Lucky Jim" because of his luck in surviving five crash landings as a result of his B-26 bomber being severely damaged by flak. In addition, Mr. McGeever also walked away from two other mishaps as a pilot before and after his combat missions.
In December 1943, Mr. McGeever was transferred back to the States where he served as a procurement officer in New York and Washington, D.C. In September 1945, he was honorably discharged as captain. His medals include the Purple Heart and the Air Medal with seven oak leaf clusters.
Following his military career, Mr. McGeever entered the furniture business, returned to college to obtain his accounting degree and, on March 3, 1945, married Rose Caruso of Hicksville at St. Ignatius Loyola Church. Together, they owned and operated a Babylon-based furniture store from 1949 to 2005 when they sold it and retired. On a local front, Mr. McGeever was a fourth degree member of Hicksville's Joseph Barry Council, Knights of Columbus.
Mr. McGeever is survived by his wife, Rose, of Bethpage; four children; nine grandchildren; and five great-grandchildren. A funeral Mass was held Feb. 2 at St., Ignatius Loyola Church. Interment followed at Holy Rood Cemetery in Westbury.