June 16, 1940 - May 7, 2017
Captain Jim Nezgoda passed away May 7th, 2017. Jim and Marie Rowan, his love and partner in life, married earlier in 2017.. Marie said that Jim had requested there no be no service for him. Instead, his daughter, Crystal, will carry his ashes along the Pacific Crest Trail next year, a journey they began a few years back and will finally finish together.
Jim joined the Flying Tiger Line on May 24, 1965 as a co-pilot on the Connie (picture left), eventually making Captain on all subsequent aircraft until finally retiring on the MD11 after the merger with FedEx.
Garry Duff visited Jim shortly before his death and wishes to relay the following sentiments about his good friend--
I’m saddened to have to report that our friend Jimmy Nezgoda died two weeks ago after a struggle with lung cancer. I knew Jim well having been hired with him in the same new-hire class in 1965. Jim and I lived together in those early years and generally hung around together for our whole careers and into retirement. As young Connie captains in EWR, we got the same letter from the FAA warning us not to fly Hackensack float planes under the George Washington bridge.
Different from the United’s and Delta’s, and except for the Ermert brothers, no two Tigers were alike, giving part of the reason for the colorful Tiger reputation. And so Jim was unique, and had a reputation as a “good stick” but not very communicative in the cockpit. “Gear up” and “Gear down” could be the bulk of the conversation even on a 12-hour block-to-block. I think I can explain.
Jim always had a very big “bucket list”. He and his kid brother climbed K-2 in the Himalayas. He built and raced motor cycles. He flew and raced high-performance gliders, and a Yak-3 warbird. He bred and raced Arabian horses along with his neighbor and famous Tiger, Catfish Raines. He owned classic airplanes such as the Bellanca, a Cessna 195, a Twin Bonanza, and his last one a SeaBea. He enjoyed motor-homing and vacation homes in Mexico and Washington State. So in there you unlock the mystery - Jim was constantly planning, theorizing, or studying his current or next adventure. If you weren’t part of that plan, any conversation with you was a distraction! He meant no offense, in fact during a visit, just days before he died, Jim specifically asked me to tell you how much he really enjoyed your friendship and appreciated what you contributed to his time at Tigers even when it may have seemed like he was "on another frequency”. It was his way of sending his love.
Jim married Marie Rowan, a beloved member of our Tiger family in her own right, and who would have been here with us if Jim’s passing had not been so badly timed. She sends her love too. I miss Jim; some of our color “went west”, but I shall remember him fondly. May it be so with each of you.
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