Paul James Lackey

October 9, 2019
Our father passed away peacefully on October 9th at the age of 97 in Escondido, CA. Predeceased by his wife Martha in 2005, he is survived by his son Stephen (Janet), daughter Susan (Jerry), four grandchildren; Emily (Andrew), Sarah (Brady), Amy (Andrew), and Brian and four great grandchildren. Dad was born in Bakersfield, California and lived in many areas of California as a young boy, but settled predominantly in the Los Angeles area in the 1930’s. He graduated from Hoover High School and attended Glendale Junior College, both in Glendale, CA. Following his marriage to (literally) the “girl next door” in 1943, he enlisted in the US Army Air Corps. He attended OCS at Yale University and entered WWII as a commissioned officer and pilot, being deployed to the North African theater serving with US and British troops. His responsibility was to establish radio communications stations for allied operations, starting in Bahrain on the Arabian Peninsula, and ending in Tripoli, Libya. While in Cairo in 1944, he was assigned to a British squadron of Bristol Bauxfighters and flew over 100 missions over the Mediterranean and Adriatic Seas during a four month period in 1944. After the war, he completed his degree in electrical engineering at the University of California, Berkeley, in 1948, on the G.I. Bill, and he worked as a maintenance and design engineer in the elevator business in Los Angeles. In 1955 he joined North American Aviation in Downey, CA. and worked on many new defense and aerospace programs including guidance systems for the Navajo, Minute Man and Hound Dog missiles, and the F-4 Fathom jet fighter. His greatest joy and professional achievement was as a project engineer on the pre-flight check out team for the Apollo capsule and Saturn V launch vehicle for man’s journeys to the moon throughout the 1960’s and early 70’s. Following the collapse of the aerospace industry in the 1970’s, Dad went to work for the State of California as an electrical engineer where he finished his working career. He and Mom spent their early retirement years living aboard their 34 foot sail boat Love Affair in Oceanside, CA. which they built from the keel up themselves and sailed for many years around the coast of Southern California. Following Mom’s passing, Dad eventually moved to assisted living in Escondido, CA. where he resided until his death. Dad loved the outdoors, and lived a long life of adventure, hard work, professional and personal integrity, and uncompromised commitment to his family and his country. In his memory, his Canadian family would appreciate your consideration of a donation to any Canadian veteran’s organization or Legion, or to the Junior Astronaut Camp through the Canadian Space Agency (Web site at: A private family service will be held at a later date.

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