Memorial Spaceflights

James E. Quesnell

"I will be back"
1936 - 2000

James "Jim" Quesnell was born September 7, 1936 in Kentucky. He was raised in Ohio, just outside Cincinnati, making him a huge Reds fan. He grew up in a large family that included his sisters LaWanda, Winnie and Nadine, and a brother, Everett. After serving in the Marines, Jim made his home in Southern California.

A successful businessman, Jim loved to entertain. He spent his early career as a musician and in his later years returned to that passion for fun. He played '50s and '60s music and fronted for such bands as The Coasters.

Jim was a wonderful father to his six children. His oldest daughter June was killed in a car accident at 14, but he continued to be the strength for his surviving five: Sheri, Cathy, Darren, Jamie (Jaye) and Georgia. He was also a devoted grandfather to his 10 grandchildren: Brandon, Jacob, Jennifer, Mallory, Joshua, Lauren, Alyssa, Chez, Ashlee and Jeremiah. Jennifer told all of her friends in elementary school that her grandfather, who had a twinkle in his eye, was the "real" Santa Claus.

In the later part of Jim's life, he met and married his soul mate, Michele. They shared an incredible life's journey together and spent as much time as possible in Hawaii. Kauai was the island Jim loved most. He found a peace and beauty there like no place else on earth.

Jim cherished Michele and no doubt continues to watch over her. For 16 years he was a well-loved member of her extended family: Leonard and Lorraine Lambert; Michael, Lisa and Monica Lambert; Marcy, Jack, Tyler and Maddie Hart; Marc Lambert and Marty Lambert.

His love of space was undying and his thirst for knowledge insatiable. Jim had started to write a science fiction story and was an enormous fan of Star Trek and Star Wars. Although in critically ailing health, Jim promised his family that he would live to see the new Star Wars movie when it premiered in 1999. And he did.

Jim died January 23, 2000, after a long and courageous battle against ALS (Lou Gherig Disease). His "life" never faded as his body continued to fail him. Easy to get along with and willing to try anything, Jim will be remembered for his warmth, his energy, his wisdom and his incredible sense of humor. He brought joy to all who had the honor of knowing him.

On an early date, Jim pointed to the stars and told Michele, "I will be there some day." The sky will be just a little brighter now.

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