James Robert Lessard passed on March 7, 2022, at his family home in Cody with his family present. 

He was born on Dec. 17, 1932, in Calumet, Minn., the son of Frank C. and Celina Prudhomme Lessard. 

James graduated from the California Maritime Academy in 1953, spent two years in the U.S. Navy serving as a Second Lieutenant, and went onto a career in the maritime industry. 

As he worked, he rose up through the positions to attain the rank of Captain of ocean-going vessels. He ultimately served as a Columbia River Bar Pilot from 1979 to 1999. 

The Lessard family lived in Jackson from 1972 to 1979. It was this love of Wyoming that brought him back in retirement.

James married Helen Cowan in 1959 in St. Dominic’s Church in San Francisco, and they celebrated 62 years of marriage June 13, 2021. He was a life member of the Catholic Church, the Knights of Columbus, the Right to Life and the NRA. 

He was very supportive of the police and first responders, and was instrumental in promoting blue lights on homes eight miles out on the South Fork. His avocations were family, hunting and fishing. 

James is survived by his wife Helen, son Michael James (Carol) of Yoder, son Thomas William (Kathryn) of Chugiak, Alaska, son Gregory Joseph of Astoria, Ore., son Joel Patrick (Patricia) of Wasilla, Alaska, and also eleven grandchildren and nine great-grandchildren, his brother Frank Lessard, Jr. of Vallejo, Calif., and sister Mary Momsen of Napa, Calif. 

Our family saying for him: Home is the sailor, home from the sea, And the hunter home from the hill. 

A funeral mass was held and he is interred in Riverside Cemetery.

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