James A. Lange, Major USAF, Ret., “Headed West” on January 11, 2021.

Major James A. Lange U.S.A.F., age 89, a retired fighter pilot peacefully flew past the clouds and into eternity in January of 2021. While he always made claims of being part extraterrestrial and might explain why the United States Air Force had him serve in its UFO investigating arm, Project Blue Book, official birth records show a much more terrestrial birth in Indianapolis, Indiana in August of 1931.

As a self-proclaimed “river rat”, Jim grew up close to the shores of the Ohio River in New Albany, Indiana with his parents James and Helen, and his sister Virginia Ann. After a brief stint at Indiana University, the Hoosier native enlisted in the United States Air Force. Early in his 20 year career he served as a co-pilot on a B-47 and defended the country during the Cold War. Jim later went to flight school to train as the pilot of the F-100 Super Sabre. He flew numerous missions over the jungles of Vietnam and was decorated with many medals, among them the prestigious Distinguished Flying Cross for his skill and bravery as a pilot.

After retiring at Williams AFB, Jim, with his wife and two young sons settled in nearby Chandler, Arizona. At this time he continued his education at Arizona State University. Shortly after concluding his education, James launched a small tax preparation business. He skillfully prepared and filed the taxes of Chandlerites and Arizonans for over 40 years. Clients loved his kind nature and jovial personality. But his office was always the topic of conversation, a true extension of his character, furnished with an antique roll top desk and decorated with Air Force memorabilia, witty political cartoons, pictures of out houses, and his trademark gargoyle statues. His place of business doubled as a real life Fortress of Solitude for the Super TaxMan.

In his later years Jim discovered a passion for writing and spent his time penning novels, completing his personal magnum opus “Escape to Safety”. A book full of intrigue, espionage, and JFK conspiracies. His love for writing extended to crafting jokes and sending daily emails of funny expressions and sayings to his family.

Family was always his priority in life and he leaves a lasting legacy, survived by his wife of nearly 57 years, Joy, their sons Scott, his wife Rebecca, and Chris, the grandchildren Andrew and his fiance Megan, Jackson and his significant other Mary, Sydney and her husband Ben, Madison and her husband Ethan, Jordan, CJ, Alyssa, Arliegh, Cassie, Amanda, Ashton, the great granddaughters Mallory and Valaria, and his sister Virginia Ann and her husband, Jerry Weber. Jim also leaves behind three children from a previous marriage, Renee, Candi, and Doug, and their respective families.

With true love and remembrance, this pilot flies forever.

Published by The Arizona Republic from Feb. 4 to Feb. 6, 2021.

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