James L. Gattuso, 62, of Alexandria, Virginia passed away on July 23, from complications with cancer while vacationing with his family in Maine. Born on December 1, 1957 in Norwalk, CA, James was the beloved son of Vincent and Ruth Gattuso.
James graduated from Excelsior High School in 1975. He continued his education at University of Southern California where he graduated Magna Cum Laude in 1979. He earned his law degree at University of California, Los Angeles in 1983.
James began his career at the Washington law firm Squire, Sanders and Dempsey. In 1985, he joined the Heritage Foundation, working on regulatory issues, and in 1990, went to the Federal Communications Commission as Deputy Chief of the Office of Plans and Policy. While there, he was detailed to Vice President Dan Quayle’s office where he served as Associate Director of the President’s Council on Competitiveness. In 1993, James joined Citizens for a Sound Economy as Vice President of Policy Development, and in 1997, became Vice President of Policy at the Competitive Enterprise Institute.
James rejoined the Heritage Foundation in 2002 as Senior Research Fellow at the Roe Institute, focusing on telecommunications, transportation, antitrust, and other regulatory issues. His work on government bailouts and free markets earned him the prestigious Drs. W. Glenn and Rita Ricardo Campbell Award in 2009, for his “outstanding contribution to the analysis and promotion of a Free Society.”
James was a member of the California and D.C. bars and is the author of numerous articles written for newspapers, magazines and journals. His commentaries have appeared in the Wall Street Journal, USA Today, the Los Angeles Times, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Bloomberg, among others.
Releasing a public statement following James’ passing, President of the Heritage Foundation Kay James wrote, “James loved liberty. He was principled. He never had a bad thing to say about anyone and no one had a bad thing to say about him. He was truly what we should all strive to be.”
James loved spending time with his family. He was active with his son’s local Boy Scout troop and served as Cub Scout Leader. An Eagle Scout himself by the age of 13, he was a mentor to many of his son’s classmates who would also go on to become Eagle Scouts. He was also passionate about history and loved visiting battlefields and other historic landmarks with his family.
James, who proposed to his wife while in Timbuktu, loved to travel. He, his wife and children traveled extensively both domestically and abroad. Even as he battled Parkinson’s Disease and more recently, cancer, he traveled with is family throughout the country, as well as to Sicily and Greece.
James is survived by his adoring wife Dana and two children Peter and Lindsey; brother Joe Gattuso; nieces Isabella and Vivian; nephew Ronny; and aunts Darlene John and Linda Leatherwood. An intimate funeral service for family and close friends will be held at the Rose Hills Memorial Park in Los Angeles, where James will be laid to rest. The family will hold a larger event to celebrate James’ life in the Washington, D.C. area at a later date.
In lieu of flowers, the family asks that contributions be sent to the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research.
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