"Riding In An
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without prior written consent.
Website designed, created and edited by
|In Memory of
Captain James Anthony O’Flaherty
July 26, 1942–July 20, 2001
Jim was born in the south of Ireland in Listowel, Co. Kerry, on July 26, 1942. In 1961, he came to the United
States to join the U.S. Air Force in the hopes of becoming a pilot. After four years as an electrician on the F104
fighter jets in the 331st Fighter Interceptor Squadron (ADC) in Big Spring, TX, he left the Air Force, and was
hired as an aircraft electrician with Braniff International in 1966. On his own, he flew privately, so that five
years later, with all the possible licenses he could earn, and many hours in the B-727 simulator (thanks to the
kindness and generosity of several BI pilots and instructors), he finally fulfilled his dream and was hired as a
pilot by Braniff International in January 1973.
Jim flew for Braniff from 1973 to 1982, then for Piedmont and USAir. During his 28 years of flying, he flew the B-
727, the B-737, the Fokker, and the MD-80. And he loved almost every minute of it! He especially loved all the
wonderful people he worked with. And he loved and appreciated America and her opportunities. Jim and
Marsha were married in 1963, and were blessed with ten children, nine sons and one daughter, (now ages 36
down to 10). Jim played the Irish bagpipes. An incredible musician, he loved Irish folk music and especially
enjoyed teaching it to his children. So, a house of music, myriad construction skills, and Irish soccer training
are part of the wonderful legacy he left them.
Jim lost two sons, a 16-year-old in 1990 and a 21-year-old in February 2001. These deaths were extremely hard
on such a devoted father. And shortly after losing his son 11 years ago, Jim was successfully treated for
Hodgkin’s disease, but the chemotherapy and radiation had left his lungs and heart fatally damaged. Still, he
continued to fly and work hard for the next 10 years. These last few years, he struggled along, gradually
getting weaker. Then this summer, an overwhelming bout of pneumonia sped him home to God on July 20,
2001, just six days before his 59th birthday, and just one year before his retirement.
Over the years, Jim flew out of Winston-Salem, Charlotte, Baltimore and Pittsburgh. But his smile and his Irish
brogue were often noticed throughout the US Airways system. He talked often and lovingly of the many people
he met and worked with. His sympathy and prayers went out to so many every day.
Jim will always be remembered as a considerate and dependable gentlemen. But he was also “cheeky,”
charming, hardworking and ready for either a good argument or a good joke! Many “laddies” and “lassies” will
remember him for his sparkling smile and for his Irish brogue . . . and many will also remember him as
especially consistent and unswerving in living and defending his Catholic faith!
Jim truly loved to fly—and now he’s doing it FOR REAL!
Marsha L. O’Flaherty