James “Jim” Ashby LeCato Jr. of Franktown

November 22, 2023
 |
Jim LeCato

James “Jim” Ashby LeCato, Jr. 61, passed away unexpectedly but peacefully at his home in Franktown on Friday afternoon, November 17.  He was predeceased by his parents, Ashby LeCato and Nancy LeCato.

During his senior year in high school, he met his future wife and started a part-time job at Stevenson Equipment’s John Deere Dealership previously in Tasley, Virginia.  After high school graduation he worked there full time for 20 years, most of which he was the Parts Department Manager.  He had a natural talent to understand mechanics.  Self taught and guided by some mechanic mentors, he became an accomplished mechanic with the skills to repair anything from a weed eater to a combine.  That talent led Lipman Produce to hire him as their Repair Shop Supervisor.  He worked there for 23 years.

Although he was well known to farmers as a mechanic, he was best known as Chief of Station 16, Nassawadox Fire and Rescue, Inc.  He joined the department as a junior member in 1976.  He became fire chief at the age of 25.  Jim dedicated his life to learning and being certified in all he could regarding fire fighting and rescue and was committed to sharing that training with those he mentored.  He was chief for 36 years.  He was part of the Eastern Shore Fire Training Committee, an instructor at the fire training center, and part of the Northampton County Fire Commission.  He was a member of Franktown United Methodist Church, but the fire department was his ministry.

Survivors include his wife of 41 years, Rae, daughters Jordan (Teddy) Ross from Franktown, Jessica LeCato (Masen Ingram) of Cheriton, granddaughter Raelynn Ashby Ross, a sister, Ann (Tommy) Custis of Franktown, a brother, Bill (Tina) LeCato of Melfa, a brother-in-law, David Hargis of Tasley, and numerous cousins, nieces and nephews.

A memorial service will be held on Friday, November 24, at 1 p.m. at Franktown United Methodist Church with Rev. Dick Daily officiating with a reception following.  Internment at Franktown Cemetery will be private.

In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to Northampton Fire and Rescue, P. O. Box 833, Nassawadox, VA  23413.

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