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James J. Corless, of Montauk, Dies

A service will be held in Montauk on Friday.

James Joseph Corless of Dobbs Ferry, New York and Montauk, New York died suddenly while traveling between his two homes on Dec. 11, 2012. 

"Jim" (as he was always known) was born in 1927 in Brooklyn, the first of two children born to Michael and Marie Corless. In his early youth, his family moved to Woodside, Queens.  While there, he played semi-pro football for the Woodside Incas.

In 1945, he entered the US Merchant Marine Academy at Kings Point with a major in Marine Engineering. After he left Kings Point, he attended the Communication’s Officers School at Scott A.F.B. in Arizona.

In 1951, after graduating Manhattan Collage with a BSEE, he joined the US Government as a telegraph and data communications engineer for the Bureau of Ships and FAA in Washington, DC.  He left there in 1960 and moved into the private sector as a liaison to Washington. In 1969 he co-founded Fairfield Data Technologies and provided consulting services for data communications users in the areas of network and system design, equipment evaluations and traffic analysis.

In 1974, Corless founded DMSI and was still active as CEO until now.  DMSI is a Developer and Manufacturer of Communications Systems in Norwalk, CT. In the 1980's, under his direction, he saw the automation of many of the major Telephone Company's Switching Systems in the USA. Since the 1990's, his company has upgraded many Communication Systems of the US Navy and US Coast Guard worldwide.

At the suggestion of his new boat captain, Corless and his wife made their first trip to Montauk on their new "Hatteras Sportfisherman" in the summer of 1985 and fell in love with Montauk. An avid fishermen, they moved their boat from Connecticut to Montauk that same year.

For the first few years, they spent summer weekends in Montauk, living on their boat at the Montauk Yacht Club, and continuing to fish here. In 1991, he won the first annual Mako Mania Tournament presented by the Star Island Yacht Club.

In the early 1990s they bought their first apartment at the Montauk Manor overlooking Fort Pond Bay. It was then that they first became aware of the derelict Montauk Playhouse at the bottom of the hill. When the Town of East Hampton took over the building and there was talk of a Community Center, Corless and his wife recognized the improvement to the quality of life this facility would have for the people of Montauk and have supported the efforts to finish the project ever since. In 2008, the Montauk Playhouse honored the couple at their annual Harbor Lights Gala at the Montauk Lake Club. He loved Montauk and spent most of the time here between traveling to his home in Westchester.

Corless is survived by his loving wife Lori, as well as by his sons James Corless II and his wife Marie Strolin of Trumbull, CT; Michael Corless of San Diego, CA; his daughters Carolyn Corless and her husband Bob Wetzel of San Diego, and Gina Mills of Trumbull. He is also survived by one grandchild.

A memorial service will be held on Friday, Dec. 21 at 11:30 a.m. at St. Therese Church in Montauk.

In lieu of flowers, the family has suggested donations to the Montauk Playhouse Community Center Foundation, P.O. Box 1612, 240 Edgemere Street, Montauk, NY 11954 or the Animal Rescue Fund of the Hamptons, 90 Daniel’s Hole Road, Wainscott, NY 11975. 

This obituary was prepared by the Corless family and edited slightly for East Hampton Patch. If you knew Mr. Corless, please remember him in the comments below. Our condolences to his entire family. 

jdartsalso December 20, 2012 at 08:48 AM
Jim Corless was a man who was good-hearted and fun-loving. He and his wife, Lori, have been passionate about Montauk, and its causes, for many years. One always felt welcome in Jim's presence and that of his wife. He will be sorely missed by those who came to know him here in Montauk, and elsewhere.
Richard Burke December 20, 2012 at 05:01 PM
Jim was a friend, mentor, teacher & listener to me. He was a father fiqure, and yet a I loved him as a brother. I could always talk , he'd listen, and if I wanted, I'd get sound advise. From the first time we met years back, he and Lori treated my wife and I as we were family. We had so many good times , it would be hard to single them out. I can honestly say, because of my relationship with Jim , I am a better person.One time that always comes to mind , is when Jim & I took one of his famous Jeep beach rides after a storm. We started out by false bar & headed toward Shag. The beach in between was in bad shape , w/ large exposed rocks. He looked at me & asked , "what do you think"? I said "no way in hell any truck can go on". He said "this is'nt a truck, its a Jeep"! And so I went on the scariest beach Ride ever. After pushing off of boulders & digging some, we reached Shagwong. As we stopped, Surfcasters turned and asked "where the hell did you guys come from"? Jim laughed and we drove on. I'll miss the back & forth phone calls when the Giants would make us crazy , and "The fighting Irish" will be missing one of their biggest fans. And although the tears I'm crying right now cannot bring my friend back, I know we have not lost a truely great human being, but Heaven has just recevied one of Gods best creations. Jim, I'll miss you , remember you always and pray for you. Untill we are again united, "May God Hold You In The Palm Of His Hand" Love, your friend Rich.

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