RADM JAMES GREALISH, USNR (RET)
Chapter Member James Vincent Grealish, Rear Admiral, US Naval Reserve, passed away at home on December 18th, surrounded by his family. He was born on August 8, 1920 the first son of Martin and Molly (Mary) Grealish, Irish immigrants from County Galway, Ireland. Proud of his Irish heritage, he was a member of the Ancient Order of Hibernians for over 70 years.
A Native San Franciscan, he was born South of Market and raised in the Eureka Valley district, attending Most Holy Redeemer grammar school (beginning First Grade on the day the school first opened), Saint James High School (class of 1938) and the University of San Francisco (class of 1942). He joined the Naval Reserve in 1942 serving on active duty during World War II (1942-46) and the Korean War (1951-53) remaining in the Reserve until his retirement in 1979.
He served in the Pacific during World War II aboard USS Waters (APD 8) which carried Marine Raiders and other troops participating in landings on Japanese-held islands in the Solomons (rescuing survivors of the USS Helena (CL 50) from the Japanese-held island of Vella Lavella), New Georgia, Saipan, Iwo Jima (where he observed the flag being raised on Mount Suribachi), and Okinawa. His last assignment was Commanding Officer, USS Cronin (DE 704).
After the war he remained in the Naval Reserve and was recalled for the Korean War serving as Executive Officer, USS Nawman (DE 416) and USS Cushing (DD 797). His most notable Naval Reserve assignments were: Commander Naval Reserve Readiness Command Region 20, Commander Naval Reserve Special Warfare Program, Commander Reserve Destroyer Division 12th Naval District and Commanding Officer USS Naifeh (DE 352). His awards and decorations included the Legion of Merit, Navy Meritorious Service Medal, Asiatic-Pacific Medal (7 battle stars), Philippine Defense Medal, Korean Service Medal, Secretary of the Navy Meritorious Public Service Award and the Order of Malta Cross of Merit.
After his release from active duty in 1953 he served in various financial management positions including over 41 years with Protected Investors of America, a full service investment firm founded in 1934. He last served as Chairman Emeritus of the firm.
He was invested as a Knight of Malta in 1979 serving as Vice President of the Western Association and received the Oder of Malta Cross of Merit in 1979. In 2012 he received the Blessed William Joseph Chaminade Award from Archbishop Riordan High School. He was a founding member of Our Lady of Mercy Parish in Daly City where he was a lector for 13 years. He was also a member of the Westlake Catholic Men.
He was predeceased by his brother Joseph (1925) and is survived by his wife of 67 years, Jean, sister Mary Parnow (Ted, deceased), brother Jack (Pat), son Kent (Barbara), daughters Kathleen Ciardella (Michael) and Susan Flanigan (James), 9 grandchildren, 9 great-grandchildren and many nieces and nephews.
A funeral Mass was celebrated at Saint Ignatius Church on Friday, December 27th. Donations may be made to the Saint James Scholarship Fund (Archbishop Riordan High School).