Mr. James “Jim” Ashby LeCato Jr., 61, passed away unexpectedly but peacefully at his home in Franktown on Friday afternoon, Nov. 17.
He was predeceased by his parents, Ashby LeCato and Nancy LeCato.
During his senior year in high school, he met his future wife and started a part-time job at Stevenson Equipment’s John Deere Dealership, previously in Tasley. After high school graduation he worked there full time for 20 years, during most of which he was the parts department manager.
He had a natural talent to understand mechanics. Self-taught and guided by some mechanic mentors, he became an accomplished mechanic with the skills to repair anything from a weed eater to a combine. That talent led Lipman Produce to hire him as their repair shop supervisor. He worked there for 23 years.
Although he was well-known to farmers as a mechanic, he was best known as chief of Station 16, Nassawadox Fire and Rescue, Inc. He joined the department as a junior member in 1976. He became fire chief at the age of 25.
Jim dedicated his life to learning and being certified in all he could regarding fire fighting and rescue and was committed to sharing that training with those he mentored. He was chief for 36 years. He was part of the Eastern Shore Fire Training Committee, an instructor at the fire training center, and part of the Northampton County Fire Commission.
He was a member of Franktown United Methodist Church, but the fire department was his ministry.
Survivors include his wife of 41 years, Rae; daughters, Jordan (Teddy) Ross, from Franktown, and Jessica LeCato (Masen Ingram), of Cheriton; granddaughter, Raelynn Ashby Ross, a sister, Ann (Tommy) Custis, of Franktown; a brother, Bill (Tina) LeCato, of Melfa; a brother-in-law, David Hargis, of Tasley, and numerous cousins, nieces, and nephews.
A memorial service will be held on Friday, Nov. 24, at 1 p.m. at Franktown United Methodist Church with the Rev. Dick Daily officiating. A reception will follow. Internment at Franktown Cemetery will be private.
In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to Northampton Fire and Rescue, P.O. Box 833, Nassawadox, VA 23413.
Family and friends may sign the guest book at www.hollandfuneralhome.net
Arrangements are by Holland Funeral Home in Nassawadox.