Charles Vitti was born January 23, 1957, in Stamford, Connecticut,
to Anna M. Vitti and the late N. James Vitti. From an early age
Jim showed an interest in flying and outer space. Jim spent much
of his free time building and launching model rockets. As an adult
he earned a pilot's license and taught flight instruction. For
a while he was a partner in a flight school in Miami, Florida.
Jim also taught aviation courses in high school and community
Jim joined the Federal Aviation Administration
in 1984. He served as an air traffic controller at Miami and Pompano
Florida airports. He was a supervisor and facility representative
at Tamiami airport. He was honored with numerous awards including
a commendation and service award for his assistance to an aircraft
in distress, thus preventing an accident. Jim was also recognized
for his assistance in automating the Miami International Tower.
Jim's efforts contributed significantly towards Miami's selection
as the Air Traffic Facility of the Year. In 1994 he was commended
for his participation in the recovery efforts following Hurricane
In August 1995 he transferred to the airport in
Florence, South Carolina, where he continued to be recognized
for his professionalism and superior performance.
Jim was known to have a cool head and a great sense
of humor which came in handy during stressful situations on the
job. "Don't sweat the small stuff" and "It's all
small stuff" were his favorite sayings. He loved to entertain
with elaborate parties in his home. He read science fiction voraciously
and played practical jokes on his friends.
On June 5, 1999, after a short illness, Jim took
off for bluer skies. He left behind numerous friends and family
members, including his brother Tom and his grandmother Helen,
who will always remember him.
From his son Mike:
"You will live forever carrying on in the lives of many whom
you have touched. Dad, you will boldly go where no man has gone
From his sister Madelyn:
"He followed the road less traveled and made the best of
it every time. He touched the lives of many and gave many the
strength to do their own thing, learn how to laugh, and not to
take life too seriously."
From his mother:
"His interest in flying continued throughout his life
and as you can see, it is only fitting that we are here today
continuing his dream to fly a rocket into space."
From his friend Rodney, referring to Jim's union
"Crush 'em like a bug."
From his friend Fred:
"Godspeed to you in your new quest."
From his friend Rob:
"Rest in peace, my good friend. Control heaven's traffic
the same way that you did here."
From his neighbors Phil and Amyie:
"A dear friend, a fun friend. Jim will always be remembered."
From his friend Shane:
"I watched and learned how to get what you want without
arguing. We always debated how things were in the world and how
to make it better. That is by far the thing I miss the most -
is just his company and talking."
From his friend Bill:
"In negotiations, I never knew him not to be anything
less than totally prepared, often times better than the person
unfortunate enough to find themselves on the other side of the
table. I will miss Jim's infectious laugh the most because he
reminded me, through practical jokes, that maybe we don't need
to grow up after all - that laughter is the best medicine. You
were and always will be my friend."
From his co-workers at Florence Approach (8/20/95
"In memory of Jim Vitti - air controller, instructor,
union leader, computer genius and a true friend to all. The initials
"J.V. are hereby retired."
From his wife:
"You have been a wonderful friend, lover, and companion.
You have been kind and patient with me throughout these good years.
You have accepted and loved me and not tried to change me even
when we differed in the decisions we made. I love this quality
about you. Your warmth and care are memories that guide and give
me courage to go on. You have been my soulmate and I miss you
lots. Many a time we each were thinking the same thought and we
would talk about this. Your good sense of humor, laughter and
creativeness are inspiring. You have been a good friend to others
and have extended yourself in helping when your help was asked
for. You have been a good teacher and I have learned a lot and
hope to continue to learn from our shared experiences, your comments
and points of view.
These last months have been full of anxiety
and fear and though you may have felt weak and depressed about
our situation, your courage and will were strong. You were even
worried about me, about leaving me behind. I know in my heart
that you have loved me as I know you know that I have loved you.
I know that as much as I miss you, you are not in pain and suffering
and this comfort guides me. I hope you are in a better place and
I want you to send me strength and a signal from above so I know
I will try to be happy (with time) as I know
you'd want me to be.
I love you, honey. Maria
PS: Natica says, RUF RUF."