Monday, 12 June 2017 18:12

Remembering James Michael Gleason Seely, Class of 1976

Rear Admiral James Michael Gleason Seely, 84, of Haymarket, VA, passed away June 3, 2017 at the Novant Health Medical Center. He was surrounded by friends and family when he passed.

Born October 15, 1932 in Los Angeles California, he was the son of Louis and Mary Seely. He attended public school in Los Angeles, graduating from Newport Harbor High School in Newport Beach, CA in 1950. Jim spent his summers in California on the beaches of LA and Malibu, body surfing, and working as a lifeguard. Jim was an accomplished ocean swimmer and loved the water. He attended UCLA after graduating high school, where he met his future wife of 57 years, Gail M. Deverman Seely. While attending UCLA Jim was in the Navy ROTC program and became a member of the Sigma Pi fraternity. Jim was commissioned in the Navy as an ensign in 1955, and he and Gail were married on July 13th, 1957 in Culver City, CA.

Jim had a long and successful career in the Navy, serving for 34 years before retiring in 1989. Along the way Jim reached many milestones, serving with honor and distinction. Jim was a true patriot until the day of his death. Jim received his wings on 6 December 1956, and never looked back. Flying was his second enduring love. Jim flew many types of aircraft in his service for the country. Some aircraft he barely fit into, calling some of them ""little scooters"" and others ""bomb trucks."" He loved them all. Jim deployed with various squadrons nine times to the Western Pacific in the first 19 years of his career as a strike fighter pilot. Five of those deployments were combat deployments in Vietnam. Jim made more than 1,000 carrier landings in his career, and flew 447 combat missions in southeast Asia in A-4 and A-6 aircraft. It was during these tours he was awarded four Distinguished Flying Crosses and forty-three Air Medals (five individual) for participation in combat operations. During his career as a naval aviator he commanded an A-6 squadron as well as a carrier air wing. Jim accumulated over 5,000 flight hours flying the FJ-4B, A-4, A-6, EA-6B, A-7E, F-4J, and F/A-18 aircraft.

After his flying career, Jim held many positions within the Pentagon, and several commands on the West Coast. Jim was the Commanding Officer of the Naval Air Station Whidbey Island from 1977 to 1979, and subsequently commanded the Medium Attack, Tactical Electronic Warfare Wing, U.S. Pacific Fleet from 1984 – 1986, at Whidbey as well. Within the Pentagon he held the positions of: Director, Joint Analysis, directing all Conventional, Strategic, and Politico Military War Gaming for the Joint Chiefs of Staff (1982-84); Director, Aviation Plans and Requirements (1986-88); and Jim's final military command was at first Deputy Comptroller and later Acting Comptroller of the Navy (1988-89).

Following his military career, James ran a travel agency and a defense consulting firm with his partner and longtime friend Ray Powell. Since 1991 has been a consultant to the town of Oak Harbor on Whidbey Island, and the City of Everett, WA on base realignment and closure matters. Jim worked with numerous other companies and associations in his post military career, including Boeing, General Electric, Northrup Grumman, Raytheon, and Textron.

Jim could do none of this without the love and support of his wife. Jim and Gail were a team in every manner and aspect of the word and moved more than 25 times in the span of his career in the Navy. Jim also served the community he lived in and was actively involved with his local Catholic parish. During the past 12 years, Jim and Gail lived in Regency at Dominion Valley, in Haymarket, VA. Jim and Gail often said they were among the most loving and supportive neighbors anyone could ask for.

Jim is survived by one daughter, Nina Dunleavy and her husband Daniel of Stephens City, VA; one son, Ted Seely and his wife Susan of Centreville, VA; and three grandchildren, Brandon and Michael Seely; and Jared Dunleavy. He is also survived by other family members including two children, Chao Pan and Karli who call him ""Grandpa."" Jim is also survived by a multitude of friends gained throughout his remarkable life. Jim was preceded in death by his beloved wife in April of 2014.

Graveside and interment services, with full military honors, will be held at a later date at Arlington National Cemetery.

Memorial contributions may be made to the Haymarket Food Pantry, 14740 Washington St, Haymarket, VA 20169, or to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Donations would also be appreciated to any of the many breast cancer research organizations. Please sign the guestbook at

Obituary courtesy of Legacy.
Read 181 times Last modified on Monday, 12 June 2017 18:20

Subscribe to our newsletter and stay up to date on our latest news