James L. Ciccarello
August 31, 1923 – December 24, 2018
James L. Ciccarello, died peacefully on December 24, 2018 at Hospice House in Fort Pierce. He was born in New York City on August 31, 1923, and lived in Saint Lucie West for the past 20 years. Before moving to Saint Lucie West, he lived in North Palm Beach and Bay Shore, Long Island.
Throughout his teenage years he caddied at Dyker Beach Golf Club in Brooklyn and played trumpet with two Brooklyn bands. He also trained and boxed in the Golden Gloves welterweight division. He graduated from Lafayette High School in Brooklyn and continued his education at the Academy of Aeronautics in Queens, graduating with a master aircraft and engine mechanics license.
During World War II he was recruited by the Army Air Corps as a civilian aircraft engine mechanic to work and train mechanics at US airbases. He received commendations for his efforts. After World War II he earned a degree in Aeronautical Engineering from Brooklyn Polytechnic while working as a wind tunnel test engineer. After graduation he accepted a position teaching aeronautical engineering at the Academy of Aeronautics in Queens. He later worked at Goodyear Aircraft in Akron, Ohio on both a Navy guided missile program and the Bell Aerospace X-1 experimental airplane, which was the first plane to break the sound barrier. During this period, he also did graduate work at Case Institute of Technology in Cleveland, Ohio. Between 1950 and 1955, he worked as assistant project engineer designing the first turbo jet engine at Wright Aero Corporation in Wood Ridge, New Jersey.
In 1955, he accepted a position at Republic Aviation in Farmingdale, NY as assistant chief power plant design engineer on the F–105 Air Force fighter-bomber and the XF–103 super sonic turbo jet/ramjet airplane. In 1960 he was hired by Grumman Aerospace in Bethpage, NY to work on the F-14 Navy fighter as power plant group leader. He later moved into the lunar module space program at Grumman as a group leader on the design of the descent rocket engine, which successfully landed on the moon. He also held this position for the ascent rocket engine that propelled the lunar module off the moon. After the lunar landing program, he was appointed to a position on the experimental super sonic X-29 forward swept wing program as chief of propulsion systems design. He worked at Edwards Air Force Base in California, through a successful flight test program. After the completion of this program in 1984, he retired from Grumman and moved to Florida.
On July 20, 1969, he was awarded the NASA Apollo Achievement Award for man’s first landing on the moon. His name was also inscribed on the Spacewalk of Honor at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Jim also received a Citation for Excellence Award from Grumman Aerospace.
In 1998 he moved to Kings Isle in St. Lucie West. His lifetime hobbies included travel, golf, dancing, and swimming. He was a member of Saint Lucie Catholic Church, Moose Lodge #513, Knights of Columbus #7514 as a 3rd degree knight, as well as Elks Lodge #2658.
His parents Carmelo and Mary Ciccarello and sister Anne De Maio preceded him in death. He is survived by his wife of 71 years, Bonnie, daughters Diane (Peter) and Christine (William), five grandchildren and three great grandchildren.
A funeral mass will be held at St. Lucie Catholic Church on February 9th at 12:00 pm. Burial will take place at St. John’s Cemetery in Middle Village, NY at a later date. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations in Jim’s name may be made to St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital in Memphis, TN or to the Treasure Coast Hospice.
- His parents Carmelo and Mary Ciccarello and sister Anne De Maio preceded him in death. He is survived by his wife of 71 years, Bonnie, daughters Diane (Peter) and Christine (William), five grandchildren and three great grandchildren.
- Mass of Christian Burial Saturday, February 9, 2019