James Francis McCool III, distinguished military career

March 10, 2023

James Francis McCool III, 79, of Lewes, passed away peacefully in his sleep Monday, March 6, 2023, after a long and courageous battle with parkinsonism and Lewy body dementia. He was born April 18, 1943, in Wilmington, son of the late Edna (Geiger) and James Francis McCool II.

A native Delawarean, James was a 1961 graduate of Salesianum High School in Wilmington, where he was an all-star athlete. He graduated with a bachelor’s degree from the University of Delaware in Newark, where he was an accomplished athlete in basketball and football. Later in his career, he received his graduate degree in military intelligence from the Defense Intelligence College.

James was a proud veteran and had a distinguished military career. He served his country for 22 years in the U.S. Marine Corps, retiring as a lieutenant colonel. He served two tours in Vietnam, and was a decorated combat veteran, earning the Purple Heart and Gold Star awards. In James’ second distinguished career, he was a senior intelligence analyst and department chief for the Defense Intelligence Agency and Defense Intelligence College. Here, he received the Defense Intelligence Director’s Award in recognition of his extraordinary contribution to defense intelligence analysis.

James had many interests and hobbies. In retirement, he was a skilled woodcarver, a talent he inherited from his father and grandfather, creating award-winning duck decoys and carved shorebirds. He won many ribbons and competed in Delaware, North Carolina, Maryland and New Jersey. In his younger days, James was a vintage sports car enthusiast and collector. He was an avid gun collector and gun safety instructor. During his military career, he traveled the world. In retirement, he continued discovering the world with his beloved wife Vickie.

Those who knew him loved his wicked sense of humor and the spirit of fun he brought to any and every gathering. Above all, the time spent with those he held dear was what he cherished most. He was a loving and devoted husband, father, grandfather, soldier and friend who will be deeply missed by all who were fortunate to have known him.

James is survived by his cherished wife, Victoria Aud-McCool; his daughters, Erin McCool Byrczek (husband Tom), Jennifer McCool Griggs (husband Eric) and Mary McCool; his six grandchildren: Aidan, Maura, Ellis and Jack Griggs, and James and Ella Byrczek.

A memorial service will be held at 11 a.m., Thursday, March 16, at Parsell Funeral Homes & Crematorium, Atkins-Lodge Chapel, 16961 Kings Hwy., Lewes, where friends may visit beginning at 10 a.m.

All are invited to join the service via livestream by visiting:

Interment with military honors will take place at a later date at Arlington National Cemetery.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests contributions in James’ memory to The American Parkinson Disease Association or to Dementia Society of America (Lewy Body) Research.

Visit Mr. McCool’s Life Memorial webpage and sign his virtual guestbook at

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