GLEN ROCK, N.J.--Retired U.S. Army Colonel James Joseph Meskill, Jr. died suddenly on Oct. 11, 2019, of a heart attack. Jim, Jimmy, Jay, Jamie relished the many roles he filled throughout his life. There were the personal and familiar roles of father, husband, son, brother, uncle and friend. And there were the professional ones of U.S. Army officer, Federal Bureau of Investigation Special Agent, attorney, and local veterans group leader. Each of these was an important part of his identity alongside his outsized personality.
These positions also offer a picture of who he was. First and foremost, he was a loving and doting father. He was also committed to his country and sought to fulfill a legacy of civil service at the most competitive levels, which brought him to the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, the F.B.I. Academy in Quantico, Pace Law School in New York and the Army War College in Carlyle, Penn.
As a Special Agent in the F.B.I., Jim worked to combat organized crime, terrorism, drug trafficking and responded to the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center.
He participated in the rescue and recovery efforts at Ground Zero and later conducted investigative leads and collected evidence at the makeshift morgue in lower Manhattan to identify victims. Jim also served as a senior member of an anti-organized crime task force in Budapest instructing the Hungarian national police force on conducting complex long-term investigations.
Additionally, Jim served as an Associate Division Counsel in the F.B.I. Newark, N.J. field office providing legal advice to agents and task force officers on operational issues.
As an active duty U.S. Army Air Defense Artillery Officer, Jim served in the Persian Gulf. As a U.S. Army Reserves Judge Advocate General officer, Jim led officers and soldiers who managed the complicated legal affairs of the military and its personnel. And as a former Post Commander of American Legion Post 136 in Mount Kisco, N.Y., Jim gave his spare time to fellow veterans.
Despite the serious nature of his career, Jim was an unapologetic rapscallion. He balanced the formal aspects of his positions with his dedication to humor, pranks and the absurd. He reveled in the element of surprise and thought a good gag was worth the investment of patience. Sometimes he would cook up something humorous, put it in an envelope, and send it to an unsuspecting recipient. Though he would not be there for the big “reveal,” it was enough for him to simply imagine the surprise and amusement that his handiwork would undoubtedly generate.
Jim was also extremely sentimental. He attached deep levels of meaning to old friends, customs of the past and any number of treasures from his youth--whether it was a scrap of paper from grammar school or the Tropical Turquoise and white 1957 Chevy he had restored while stationed in Kansas as a young lieutenant. He was also never without his trusty BIC 4-Color Ballpoint Pen.
Jim accrued recognition throughout his career, such as being awarded the Bronze Star for his service during Operation Desert Storm and a 30-Year Government Service Award. However, his greatest achievements were the friends and connections he made.
Jim leaves behind his daughter, Jacqueline Meskill; his father and mother, James Joseph Sr. and Barbara Meskill; his three sisters Barbara Meskill, Kirsten Meskill Tanas and Kathleen Meskill Blomquist; and a broad network of friends. He is preceded in death by his brother Daniel Derrig Meskill and a very special aunt, Kathleen Mary Derrig.
Jim will be remembered for his love for his daughter, his service to his country, his devotion to his parents and his many significant friendships.
A funeral mass will take place Thurs., Oct. 24 at 1:30 p.m. at Holy Trinity Catholic Chapel, 699 Washington Rd., West Point, N.Y. Procession to Holy Trinity Catholic Chapel will begin at Hogan’s Funeral Home, 135 Main Street, Highland Falls, N.Y. at 1:00 p.m. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the JJM Education Trust.