James G. Caldwell, 56: Dedicated husband, father, committed to excellence

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FALMOUTH — James G. Caldwell, 56, of Falmouth, died peacefully at home on Oct. 2.

He was born in Houston, Texas on Nov. 21, 1956, to James and Nancy Caldwell. Because his father was in the Air Force, the family lived several places, including Nebraska, Alaska and England. Caldwell was the 1975 valedictorian of Lakenheath High School in England and went on to receive his bachelor’s in electrical engineering from Cornell University in 1979, where he was also president of his fraternity Alpha Tau Omega.

After receiving his college degree, he started his semiconductor career with Motorola Corporation in Tempe, Ariz., as a product engineer. After five years, he left to work at National Semiconductor in Salt Lake City. Caldwell spent close to 25 years with National Semiconductor, moving to the South Portland plant in 1997.

Over the course of his time at the company, he held several positions in product engineering and quality management. The past three years, Caldwell was a self-employed consultant with Expense Reduction Analysts, reducing costs of business operations, which he undoubtedly said was one of the most rewarding experiences of his life.

He met his wife, Sharon Leskanic, in Salt Lake City in 1986. She was also employed with National Semiconductor, however, the couple met in their apartment complex laundry room. They married in April 1990. They worked hard, moved a couple of times and traveled extensively before starting a family. In 1997, their first daughter Sarah was born shortly after they arrived in Maine. Three years later in 2000, their daughter Kathryn was born. He very much enjoyed skiing, cards, cribbage, reading, and projects with both of them.

Caldwell was a member of Falmouth Chamber of Commerce, the Falmouth Country Club and a parishioner at the Parish of the Holy Eucharist at Holy Martyrs in Falmouth.

The true tests of his personal strength and positive attitude came with his wife’s cancer journey in 2010 and his 2012 diagnosis of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, also known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease. Throughout his 16-month journey with ALS, he chose to smile and live his life to the fullest and did not let the disease define who he was.

He was an avid golfer, skier, hiker and scuba diver before the effects of ALS. He enjoyed annual golf trips with his father and brother, and Florida lobster diving with friends. He had a passion for learning and always loved to teach his girls new skills. With his wife, he shared a great love and enjoyed travel, wine and family time.

He is survived by his wife of 23 years, Sharon; his daughters, Sarah and Kathryn; parents Jim and Nancy Caldwell; brother Steve, and wife, Greta Caldwell; sister Barbara, and husband, Ken Stephens; brother Richard Caldwell; mother-in-law Agnes Leskanic; brother-in-law Bruce, and wife, Barbara Leskanic; sister-in-law Tara, and Bill Maw; and his Wheaton terriers, Keeley and Finnegan. Caldwell was an engaging, fun uncle to Madeleine Caldwell, Tyler and Corey Leskanic, Henry and Wills Maw and Hunter Stephens.

Family and friends vow to “Keep on Trekking” not in only in their lives but in the efforts to defeat ALS.

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made in his memory to the Falmouth, or any, Food Pantry, Good Shepard Food Bank, or St. Vincent Soup Kitchen. The family wishes to thank doctors Russell, Muscat and Stillson for their care, the Falmouth Police and EMT personnel, and the community for their prayers and encouragement.

Visitation was held Oct. 7, at Jones, Rich & Hutchins Funeral Home. A Mass of Christian Burial was celebrated on Oct. 8, at Holy Martyr’s Church, Falmouth. A reception follwed the Mass at the Falmouth Country Club.

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