Jim “Fang” Maroney, 59, Milwaukee, WI, left this earth on March 23,2014 inMadisonville, TN on route to an event in New Smyrna, FL.  Jim was born November 24,1954, anative of Casselton, ND to Maury and Myrtle Maroney.   As a toddler, growing up in Casselton, Jim was seen always with an airplane in his hands and grew proficient at flying RC aircraft. Later in life, Jim and his dad won top honors at the RC Top Gun “invitation only” competition.  Jim went to Casselton High School and was a graduate of West Fargo High School.  He was never at loss for a good laugh or a clever practical joke.

Jim received his degree in Mechanical and Aeronautical Engineering from the University of California- Fresno prior to enlisting in the United States Marine Corp. He is survived by his wife, Susan. After meeting in California during his tour of duty  at El Toro Marine Corp Air Station, they married in 1993 and made their home(s)  first in Fargo, ND and Washington State and then in Wisconsin.

Jim began his flying career at the age of four, taking his first flight in a modified J3 Cub. His mentor, Jim’s dad, flew the P-51 Mustang based on Iwo Jima, during WW II. Jim has been flying solo aerobatics since the 1970’s. After college he joined the Marine Corp and graduated first out of 1500 pilots from Naval Flight Training and was rated first at Naval Training Weapons School – Top Gun.  He has flown various types of aircraft ranging from the military T2C, FA-18 Hornet, F-4 Phantom and F-16 Viper, to the commercial Boeing 747. Everywhere Jim got behind a control stick, he succeeded.  Jim joined the North Dakota Air National Guard in 1985, where he became a Squadron Group Commander.  With his military retirement postponed, after 9/11, Jim patrolled the skies above Washington D.C. and New York, retiring in 2002 with the rank of Lieutenant Colonel. Employed by Delta Airlines, Jim’s aviation career continued to advance from line pilot, to Lead Check Airman overseeing 757/767 aircraft fleets to his most recent position as the Seattle-based Chief Pilot overseeing 600 pilots conducting international/global operations 24 hours a day/7 days a week.  In addition to his ‘career’ flying, Jim was a well -respected, professional airshow pilot and mentor, performing in the DeHavilland Super Chipmunk.  Jim also owned and operated an MX-S, Comanche and ‘Lil Toot’.

Jim was a member of numerous aviation based organizations to include EAA and AOPA, as well as serving as an A.C.E (Aerobatic Competency Evaluator) for I.C.A.S (International Council of Airshows).

Jim is survived by the love of his life, Susan; his sister Kathy (Jerry) Rohrig; and numerous nieces and nephews.  Jim was preceded in death by his father and hero (Maury).

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  1. To Jim’s Family:
    I am so sorry for your loss. As the days and weeks pass, and you return to life’s routine, may you be comforted by our …God and Father of our Lord… the Father of tender mercies and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those in any sort of tribulation through the comfort with which we ourselves are being comforted by God”. (2 Cor. 1: 3, 4). Please accept my sincere condolences for your loss. Please also find comfort in the following: John 11:11 where Jesus said, “…Lazarus our friend has gone to rest, but I am journeying there to awaken him from the sleep.” Our Heavenly Father holds out the hope of the resurrection and the ability to see our loved ones again.

  2. HARVARD ILGOD SPEED JIM. You were my friend and one of my heros. You were a great friend, pilot and American. Thank you for all you did in the airshow world and more importantly what you did for this country. Your wisdom and your humor will be greatly missed. Hopefully we wll meet in the end. Your friend, Tony

  3. Cedar Ridge Calif.Dear Susan,

    We were so sorry to hear about the passing of Jim.
    Our hearts go out to you in this time of mourning. We will all miss him in our future aviation experiences.

    He was a great pilot and a great American.
    May he rest in peace.

    Gary and Katie Guilliat

  4. I have nothing but the best memories of my friendship these past 27 years of Jim. Whether it was running into him at the various airports around the world, eating breakfast at those long bull sessions in Narita, or every now and then, flying R/C planes out at Fern Prairie R/C field in Vancouver, instructing on the 747-400, it was always a pleasure. My last memories of Jim were when I drove him back to Vancouver from Seattle, and got to hear the story of how he got P-51 time. The story in itself is testament to his skill as a pilot, as well as the level of trust and character of a man who was entrusted with such an irreplaceable aircraft. I am glad to have had the opportunity to know him, and heartbroken to know that we have all lost a truly genuine friend .

    Susan, my condolences to you. Words can never be enough to calm the pain of your loss, but with the many people that Jim touched, there is a “Maroney Air Force” out there who hold you in their prayers.

  5. Saint Peters MOYou will be greatly missed, but never forgotten, Uncle Jim. Aunt Susie, so sorry for your loss. I think & pray for you often.

  6. Tyler TexasDear Susan,
    Sorry for the loss of your love, Jim Fang Maroney. Though we have never met Jim, we have heard you talk about him loveingly and very proudly. I know he would always be alive in your heart as a good husband and 59 year old young man for ever. Wish you are at peace knowing he left the world to eternity doing what he always loved to do- flying in the sky like a free bird.
    Usha and Vijay

  7. fargo ndEven though we didn’t know Jim, we knew him through the loving comments from his sister, Kathy. She adores her brother and his wife, Susan. Jim has left an impression on so many people. God bless all of you as you move forward.
    Laurie and Don White.

  8. rapid city south dakotaI flew with Jim as the flight engineer on his initial 747 checkout. He made it look so easy. A pleasure to have flown with him. He will be missed. Jim Hanley MSP DAL 320 first officer

  9. peoria az I used to fly with Jim on the 747 and I can’t remember more enjoyable flying than when Jim and I were paired up. I remember laughing by just looking at his smile..I didn’t know what was coming but I might as well start laughing because I knew it would be funny. he will be missed, he was the best, a class act. I am humbled and flattered he considered me a friend. I always offered him a place to stay at the mn lake house if he made a refueling stop at park rapids…..I am so sorry I couldn’t get up to Fargo for the memorial….full flights out of Phoenix. I think Jim would understand coming from the same business

  10. Glendale ArizonaSo sorry to hear about Jim. I knew him growing up in Casselton, unfortunately not much after that. From talking with my brother Bob and reading the obutuary it sounds like he was quite a remarkable guy and will be greatly missed. My prayers are with you and your family.

  11. Auburn WaI was very fortunate to have known Jim this past year.and I walked away in awe and admiration after every conversation that I was privileged to have had with this remarkable man. He was the most kind, generous and ambitious man that I knew. He inspired me and made me want to enjoy life to it’s fullest, as he had obviously lived his. My heart goes out to his family and friends. I will truly miss him as will everyone else who has had the honor of knowing him.

  12. Brighton MichiganYou will be greatly missed Jim. Thank you for all the great trips we had together in the 757, it was always a pleasure to work with you. Godspeed.

  13. Devils Lake ND
    Susan I am so sorry for your loss. Fang was a great friend. I will miss him so much in the years to come and I can’t imagine the loss you feel. He was one of a kind and I was so glad I got the privilege of knowing him.

  14. Baker FLJim “Fang” will be missed in our Airshow family. Roger and I never saw him without a huge smile upon his face. Our hearts ache at his passing this world where he leaves his family and friends. We cannot imagine what happened to cause the tragic accident, for Jim was a stellar pilot. We know he is flying still with the angels and once again is top gun wearing a new set of wings. New Smyrna Beach Balloon and Skyfest flew a missing man formation today in Jim’s honor. It was a most honorable tribute to a most honorable pilot and man. Blue skies and God speed Jim’s memory will live on with those who knew and love him forever.

  15. Jamestown North Dakota
    Kathy and family,

    We were so very sorry to learn of Jim’s accident and death. It has been so many years since we were kids in school together at Casselton. When I remember Jim, I remember a very sweet blonde boy who was funny, and fun to be around. Please accept our deepest sympathy for your loss.

    Jackie (English) and George Barnes

  16. Hanford CAWe knew Jimmy in college in California. He introduced us and was in our wedding. Our two children called him Uncle Jim even though we weren’t related. He wrote a letter of recommendation for our son to go to the Air Force Academy. We have always considered Jimmy and Susan lifelong friends. We also knew the entire family.

  17. Vancouver WashingtonJim, my neighbor, fellow pilot and pal. Here’s withing you fair skies and tailwinds. Be seeing you on the other side. Your pal, Jim Parish

  18. Moorhead MN
    Jim was quite simply one of the nicest, most inspiring people I have ever had the honor of knowing and working with, in our case as associates on the Fargo AirSho Committee. He is a true American hero and proof positive that what made this country exceptional is still in place. The world is diminished with his loss. My prayers are with Susan and his family.

  19. Bozeman MTWhat an aviator! Our skies will miss him as all who had the joy of knowing him or seeing him perform.
    High Flight
    Oh! I have slipped the surly bonds of Earth
    And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings
    Sunward I’ve climbed, and joined the tumbling mirth
    Of sun-split clouds, — and done a hundred things
    You have not dreamed of — wheeled and soared and swung
    High in the sunlit silence. Hov’ring there,
    I’ve chased the shouting wind along, and flung
    My eager craft through footless halls of air. . . .

    Up, up the long, delirious burning blue
    I’ve topped the wind-swept heights with easy grace
    Where never lark, or ever eagle flew —
    And, while with silent, lifting mind I’ve trod
    The high untrespassed sanctity of space,
    Put out my hand, and touched the face of God.

    — John Gillespie Magee, Jr
    He has touched God now

  20. Woodinville WashingtonThe Delta Seattle-based pilots as represented by ALPA Council 54 mourn the loss of a colleague, friend, and leader. Jim’s memory will live on in our hearts and we offer our profound condolences and deepest sympathies to his loved ones.

  21. Vancouver WashingtonWhat fond memories I have of “Fang” during the time he was in the Gray Ghosts, Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 531, at El Toro flying the F/A-18 Hornet. He was a class act, always with a smile. I’ll miss greatly his visits to Vancouver, WA, his west coast abode.

  22. A true ‘topgun’ of topguns, and a real hero among thousands. His memory and person will be ingrained in us forever!

  23. Lakeland MISusan,

    Connie and I extend our most sincere condolences. Jim was a great pilot and military officer more importantly though, he was an outstanding person. Please know that our thoughts and prayers are with you at this difficult time.

    With love,
    Larry and Connie Carello
    Lakeland, Michigan

  24. Surprise AZ
    Jim, You were/are the “Best of the Best”. It was an honor to have received our Naval Aviator Wings together on 25 July 1981. Your accomplishments as a pilot are what kids interest in aviation inspire to. So proud to have known you and to have been introduced to you dad. Another Great American, just like his son. God Bless !!

  25. Summerville SCMay the Lord be with you during these trying times. Dawn and I worked with Jim at the ND
    ANG for many enjoyable years. During 911 we spent many long weeks at Langley. Our good friend will be missed.

  26. Hartland WIMy memories of Jim include this past weekend, which makes it difficult to grasp that he’s gone. I was at Watertown Airport Friday afternoon, to pick up a few things. As I approached the FBO, Jim was up flying aerobatics. I always enjoyed watching his impromptu “shows,” and this day was no different. When he finished, he came in, and started to talk with the owners of the FBO about hangaring the Chipmunk overnight before his early, Sunday morning departure to Florida. I had been talking with one of the owners about possibly flying that weekend and Jim piped up, “You SHOULD go flying this weekend!” I smiled, and then my friend and I went to go look in the hangar to see if there’d be room for Jim’s plane. I did fly that weekend in fact, I was heading to the airport around the time Jim departed for eternal blue skies. I never imagined that Jim’s insistence that I go flying would be his last words to me. Jim was a very positive, professional pilot, and he will be greatly missed, by many in the flying community.

  27. Coshocton OhioIn Honor and Remembrance of Jim “Fang” Maroney –

    With Fond Memories…Thank you for your service to our country, your warm heart and genuine spirit, and for thrilling us with your aerobatic talent. You were a true patriot, a champion for aviation, and an outstanding individual with the gift of hospitality and friendship.

    You will be missed by your friends in Coshocton, Ohio with the Wings Over Coshocton Air Show. Praying for your wife Susan and family.

  28. Fountain Hills AZ
    Susan, I am so sorry to have heard of Jim’s passing. I served with Jim in the Happy Hooligans sharing many good times both in the air and on the ground. I was the Operations Group Commander when Fang was the 178th Squadron Commander and am proud to say I served with such a professional aviator who had the ability to communicate with all those he came in touch with. He will be missed by so many!

    Tom “Tlar” Larson & Linda

  29. Hutchinson MnI am so sorry and shocked to hear of Jim’s untimely death. After meeting him for a short time in Joe Dooleys hangar, he remembered me, my son and my husband months later when he returned to Hutchinson to perform in an airshow, greeting us with a hug and a smile! That is also how he said goodbye to us that same day and that is how I will remember him.
    Deepest sympathies to his family. Tailwinds to you Jim.

  30. Saint Charles MoI will miss our airplane lunch meetings my friend! God has another excellent pilot keeping his “six” clear. You will be missed Jim!

  31. Coshocton OhioA wonderful person, great pilot, friend who will be greatly missed by all the flying community and especially missed by all of us at the Wings Over Coshocton Air Show!! GOD SPEED Fang!!! You will always be remembered!!! Praying for the family..

  32. Casselton ndWe grew up with Jim in Casselton. I remember being so amazed at looking at the first radio controlled airplane that I ever saw in his basement when we were in grade school. After they moved to West Fargo, we didn’t really stay in touch but, while cruzin’ the DL beach in high school I ran into him in his ’55 Chevy.
    We ran out to his hanger at the Casselton airport after he was done practicing for the air show to catch up on our past.
    We’re proud to say that we grew up with Jim. May God speed

    Jon & Connie Carley

  33. New Berlin WisconsinWe got to know Jim through our son-in-law and daughter, Jeff and Sandy Parnau.
    Jim was a person who always had a smile
    for us whenever we met. In these difficult days, we offer our prayers for Jim and Susan.

  34. God Speed. Fang will be deeply, deeply missed. His visits at 57C were always special. We miss you Jim! Susan, you are in our thoughts and prayers. May yourself, Kathy, and family draw strength from one another. Take care.

  35. Colfax ND
    I have been honored to know “Fang” through my involvement with the Fargo AirSho committee, and as a member of the US Military Vets Motorcycle Club. Always the gentleman, he was always willing to talk to me about the Club’s concern for our Veterans living in the area Veterans Homes. He was an advocate for the US Military Vets Motorcycle Club’s efforts to get the area Vets Home residents to the AirSho rehearsals to see the flyers and planes for free! Man, what an airshow there will be in Heaven now! First, Gerry Beck, then Robert Odegaard, and now Fang! You will be missed, Jim. You have “slipped the surley bonds of earth”, and can now “touch the face of God”.

  36. Sioux Falls SDThe flying community has lost a true aviator and gentlemen. Prayers to the family during this time. May we all remember Jims quick smile and dedication to Aviation. Godspeed ‘Fang’ ..

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