James N. Haskett
James N. Haskett of Williamsburg, Virginia passed away on March 11, 2023 at the age of 92 after a short illness. Jim died holding the hands of his daughter Laura and beloved wife Sherrie of 64 years.
Throughout life, Jim was called to serve others as a farmer, soldier, National Park Service leader, Meals on Wheels volunteer, church deacon, husband, father, and grandfather.
Jim was born in Clairemont, Virginia in 1930. He grew up on the family farm in Waverly, Virginia where he worked from “can to can’t see” plowing fields behind his cherished mules Mattie and Kate.
After graduating from Waverly High School in 1949 in a class of 16, Jim entered the Army where he was told, “You’re in the army now, not behind a plow.” After 2 years in the army, he attended and graduated from the University of Richmond in 1957.
In Richmond, he met Sherrie, the “love of his life.” They married on July 12,1958. Auspiciously, “At the exact moment when Sherrie was saying she would love, honor and cherish me a tremendous clap of thunder occurred.”
Jim joined the National Park Service in 1958 and served 39 years at Petersburg National Battlefield, Appomattox Courthouse National Park, Manassas National Battlefield Park, Fort Smith National Historical Site, Fort McHenry National Monument and Historic Park, and Colonial Historical National Park. For Jim, the role as Chief Historian was “the best job in the Service.” He took special pride in developing the people who worked with him. Upon retirement he was awarded the Meritorious Service Award from the Department of the Interior for his outstanding contributions.
After retirement Jim continued to serve in the community where his passion was Meals on Wheels as well as serving as a Deacon and Trustee at Yorkminster Presbyterian Church. He administered the Deacon’s fund a ministry providing financial assistance to people in need in York County. He also took special pleasure in attending his Granddaughter Haley’s volleyball games.
Toward the end of his life, Jim told us “I have had a wonderful life. It has rarely been exciting. I have not been rich or famous. But I have been blessed by God with a very special wife and by three children and four grandchildren all very special in their own way. My parents gave me every opportunity they could and all the love they could provide. I was fortunate to find a career that I thoroughly enjoyed. The illnesses I have had have been more annoying than painful.”
James was preceded in death by his parents, Willie and Mary Haskett. He leaves to cherish his memory, his wife, Sherrie of Williamsburg, children, James Bruce Haskett (Connie) of Savannah Georgia, Michael Craig Haskett (Hanna) of Burke Virginia and Laura H. Parker (Billy) of Crozet; and grandchildren, Daniel Haskett (Ashlyn), Sean Haskett, Ryan Haskett (Jill), and Haley Sutton.
A memorial service will be held on Saturday, March 18, at Yorkminster Presbyterian Church in Grafton, Virginia at 2:00 PM with a reception to follow. In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to the Deacon’s Fund of the Yorkminster Presbyterian Church.