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James Harvey LaCoste, III
January 19, 1934 – July 27, 2019
James Harvey LaCoste, III of Orlando, FL, died quietly Aug. 27, 2019, after a week of hospitalization and 4 days in a rehab facility.
He was born and raised in Newberry, S.C. In school he played on the Basketball Team, in ping pong matches, and loved to dance, making that a part of his entire life.
He attended Univ. of South Carolina in Columbia where he joined the Sigma Chi fraternity, of which he was a lifelong member, graduated in 1956, degreed in Electrical engineering.
After college he married Jane Pickney of nearby Orangeburg, and they moved to St. Louis, MO where he worked alongside many scientists at Lockheed Martin to create a safe method of delivery for nuclear weapons.
When he was transferred to Martin-Marietta to work with the Space Shuttle program, the Deferment Papers he held, because of his classified ranking, did not travel with him. He was drafted into the Air Force, serving two years, discharged in 1963.
He returned to Martin-Marietta but soon felt he had missed too much in the previous years to allow him to adequately perform his job with them. He joined forces with a friend and purchased 2 Maryland Fried Chicken restaurants, one in Pine Hills area of Orlando, the other in Fort Walton Beach.
He obtained a pilot’s license, then a plane, for the long trips to the panhandle. When that business declined, he sold his plane, concentrated on the Pine Hills business, and, joined the West Orange County Club where he was an active participant and more-than competent player. For many happy years he enjoyed golf and the following card-playing in the clubhouse, plus junkets for golf in Puerto Rico and Palm Beach..
He and Jane had divorced after about 6 years of marriage so he was introduced to Janet Harper by a friend, via a Blind Date. After dating a year or so, he had purchased a home in Winter Garden. They married in 1973. When he could not talk her into sailing for a year, he decided to return to college, attended Florida Tech University (now UCF), graduated in 1976 with a degree in Business Administration. In 1978 he secured a Masters degree, passed his CPA exam, opened an office with a fellow classmate and formed “LaCoste & Mixner” in Orlando.
He enjoyed a career in CPA work, changing partners from time-to-time. Spare time was filled with golf, sailing and trips to Las Vegas for golfing and gambling (supporting his golf habit).. He and Jan divorced after 10 years, but remained close. He moved into Orlando and, with his love for sailing, purchased a boat, ‘de Mence’, kept in Jacksonville. He was a lifelong golfer, tennis player, guitar (Rising Sun) and piano (Clair de Lune),
He was a fixture at Nick’s Family Diner where, each morning, the same group assembled for talks and friendly arguments of the day.
He is preceded in death by his father, Edgar King LaCoste, Mother, Gertrude Bailey LaCoste, Brother-in-law William Aulton “Lefty’ Edwins, Jr. Survived by a Sister, Jean LaCoste Edwins, Niece – Melissa Edwins Davis, Nephew – William “Chip” Davis, III, Great Niece, Rachael Davis, Great Nephew Parker Davis, and Great-Great Nephew Aulton Davis.
He is loved and will be missed.