James Gardner Lloyd passed away peacefully in his apartment at Fellowship Square in Mesa on October 31, 2019, with family by his side. James was born in Fernsdale, Michigan on March 17, 1929 and grew up in Mt. Clemens, Michigan and graduated from Mt. Clemens High School where he was a member of the high school band and orchestra, playing piano and string bass.
After high school James worked as a clothing salesman and after work hours was a dance band musician with several different music groups, one of which was named “Midnight Serenaders”. He also had a love for photography and became a freelance police photographer while attending Wayne State University for two years.
In 1952 James enlisted in the U.S. Air Force and was stationed at Luke Air Force base where he was a photographer for the original “Thunderbirds” air demonstration team and later served at Holloman Air Force Base, White Sands, New Mexico. There he assisted in the photo coverage of the rocket sled ride of Col. John F. Stapp, “The Fastest Man on Earth”, and of the unmanned balloon flights which were preliminary tests for the 1956 world record high altitude manned flights at International Falls, Minnesota of Major David G. Simons.
After serving four years in the USAF James and his wife Mary of 1 year moved to Los Angeles, CA, where he worked for Tri Color Laboratories in Hollywood until he joined General Motors Desert Proving Ground in Mesa, AZ, where he was employed for over 35 years retiring early to lovingly care for his ailing wife Mary.
James is survived by his children Phyllis Asmussen (William), Jacque Thompson (Ronald), Cristen Lloyd (Linda), and Tamera Johnson (Bradley), 11 grandchildren and 22 great grandchildren.
A Graveside Memorial will be at Mountain View Cemetery 7900 E. Main St. Mesa, AZ on November 16, 2019 at 11:00 am.
In lieu of flowers please donate to the Hospice of the Valley who provided excellent care for James during the final days of his life.