James Barry Storey (Jim) of Delta Junction, Alaska passed away on October 15, 2017 from ALS. He was 78.
Jim was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania on August 29, 1939, but lived his entire boyhood in the rural hill country of western Pennsylvania. He attended a one-room, all-grades school house through 8th grade and was eventually bused to nearby Vandergrift for high school. He recalled that the roads and buses weren’t much, and they were constantly getting stuck or breaking down. “They would make us little kids get out and push the buses and it was surprising none of us were killed doing so.” He and his three siblings led an austere Daniel Boone-type lifestyle of hunting and fishing until the family moved to Avonmore, PA.
He joined the U.S. Army after high school and served for over 20 years, including two Vietnam tours in 1964 and 1968-69. He was assigned to the Thai Army forces and worked with the Montenards and Hmong peoples of Vietnam. Jim said he was better suited than most and could easily adapt to these roles due to his woodsy upbringing. An accomplished shooter, he served as a sniper and later with the Army’s marksmanship programs. He earned many medals and honors, including the Bronze Star.
Jim spent much of his career in the Army’s vehicle and weapons testing programs at locations across the country, operating and testing almost everything in the U.S. and many foreign inventories. He served twice in Germany and was eventually assigned to the Cold Regions Test Center at Fort Greely, Alaska in 1975. He attained a vast depth of expertise across many weapons, equipment and vehicle systems, as well as cold weather operations issues. He was very meticulous and always striving to ensure the systems were realistically tested and best suited for the soldier.
After retiring from the Army as a Master Sergeant in 1977, Jim continued to work at CRTC. He was the lead test officer for a wide variety of U.S. and foreign test programs over the years, including tanks, artillery, missiles, munitions, explosives, clothing, and even skis. He could usually be found out on the ranges testing day and night in extreme weather conditions. He was a talented writer and articulate speaker who represented CRTC as their subject matter expert to many U.S. and allied foreign military representatives as well as commercial industry representatives.
Jim had friends all over the world and brought many soldiers, civilians, and foreign visitors home over the years for his wife, Jane, to feed – often with no notice. He was known by many in the test division as “the Red Fox” for his bright red hair and expertise. He was also known for his candor, integrity, and work ethic. He retired in March 2003 after over 45 years of immeasurably dedicated service to our Army and to our nation. He continued to help many in the community utilizing his maintenance skills.
Jim was well known for his love of Alaska, the outdoors, and wildlife. He spent virtually all his free time hunting, fly fishing, hiking, and skiing across Alaska. He disdained 4-wheelers, preferring to hike or ski in remote areas to enjoy pristine Alaska. He especially enjoyed bird hunting with his dog, Jenny. He served several years on the Delta Fish & Game Advisory Committee to the Alaska Board of Game. He was especially proud of his role as a grandfather, spending untold hours hiking and fishing with his granddaughters each summer.
Jim loved his family and would go to great lengths to care for and support them. He is predeceased by his dear wife, Jennie E. Storey (Jane, 2014) and by his parents James E. Storey and Helen D. Storey. He is survived by his two daughters, Mary H. Sheehan (Joe) and Sheila K. Johansen (Chris) and his two grandchildren, Talia Johansen and Makenna Johansen. He is also survived by his siblings Brian Storey (Nancy), Edwina Confer (Wayne), and Conrad Storey, sister-in-law Alda Foeks, brother-in-law Andrew Bennardo, and nieces and nephews.
Special thanks to Bassett Army Community Hospital and its wonderful staff. Jim and his entire family appreciated their extraordinary care and dedicated support of him.
A service will be held on Saturday, October 28, 1 p.m., at the Delta Presbyterian/Faith Lutheran Church, followed by a potluck celebration of life at the adjacent Delta Community Center. We invite his many friends and the community to attend.
Jim Storey was a great American and will be missed.