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J.C. Lanigan Died in September on Long Island

Nov. 4, 2005 –– J. C. Lanigan, 65, for years an essential ingredient in St. Thomas's social, culinary and airline circles, died Sept. 10 at Northport VA Medical Center on Long Island due to complications from cancer.
Lanigan was likely as close as the island comes to producing a renaissance man, a man for all seasons. He arrived on St. Thomas from New York in 1960 and became a DJ for WSTA radio.
He left St. Thomas the first time for a three-year stint in the U. S. Army based in France, where he quickly assimilated the culture and the language.
Returning in 1966, Lanigan ran the first ground crew for American Airlines. He and his first wife, Claire, became parents in 1967 with the birth of Kurt, his only child, who was born at the old Knud Hansen hospital.
Lanigan took off again in 1968 working for Pan American World Airways as a worldwide tech representative. His travels took him to Kinshasa, Zaire where he spent two years and returned to St. Thomas with "Air Zaire" T-shirts, which became highly prized among his old airline buddies.
In 1979, Lanigan, with his love of food, drink and the French language started a Northside French restaurant, Entre Nous, which he ran until 1989. He sold it to his former colleagues Liz and Jerry Buckalew.
Lanigan then began a career with A. H. Riise Liquors, eventually moving to Tortola. He left St. Thomas for the last time in 1995, and moved to St. Barths. He was poised this year to return finally to the island that he always felt was home, when his illness forced him to the states for treatment. He had, in fact, already sent out his resume to likely St. Thomas venues. He was planning to stay with his pals Becky and Ted Luscz, who own Hook, Line and Sinker in Frenchtown.
Ted Luscz recalled an anecdote Friday afternoon. "It was right after Hurricane Hugo in 1989, and J.C. invited us to come stay with him and Pam. They had a concrete house on Crown Mountain, and they had a generator.
"I was really, really low," Luscz said. "I went down to look at the restaurant, and I was horrified. I thought we would never open. I didn't know what to do, so I started salvaging whatever food and anything else I could get.
"When I got back to J. C.'s, there were a bunch of people at the house; the generator was going, and J.C. told me to go take a hot shower. We sat to eat at a big, long table –– lobster, champagne even." Luscz chuckles. "Then, all the sudden, J. C. jumps up and goes to the stereo and puts on Mozart. He came back to the table, and looked around very calmly at everyone. 'Even in a disaster, you must remain civilized,' he said."
Lanigan's last 10 years were spent in St. Barths, where he was night manager for the Hotel Le Toiny, Cap d ÁÁntibes and the Hamptons.
Lanigan's son Kurt says, "J.C loved the NY Yankees, reading the NY Sunday Times in his hammock with a fine cognac, fine wine and a passionate argument over world affairs. He had a true spirit for life, and although he wasn't a man of great wealth, he was rich beyond imagination in his relationships.
"Few people touch so many in such a positive way as J. C.," Kurt continues, "He was a true friend in every sense and a great father. His Irish charm, smile and passion for life made him the life of the party. For those close to him, an era has ended."
Friends will be able to wish J. C. Lanigan a final farewell at a wake Nov. 13 from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. at Hook, Line and Sinker in Frenchtown, hosted by Ted and Becky Luscz.
Kurt Lanigan asks that friends who cannot be present, share with others in a "worldwide cheer" in his honor at that time.
He is survived by his son Kurt, his future daughter-in-law Reagan, sister Jeanne Lanigan and family, former wives Claire and Pam. He is also survived by Pete and Samantha Costanzo, children of the late Janet Costanzo with whom Kurt says his father "spent three of the most wonderful years of his life."
A private burial at sea will be held Nov. 15.

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