James O. Laslie, 87, of Indianapolis, passed away on April 22, 2011. He was born in Morgantown, Ky. on July 7, 1923 to Olaf H. and Jessie Ruth (Odom) Laslie.
Jim was a graduate of Warren Central High School (Indianapolis) and attended Western Kentucky University until serving in the United States Army during World War II. While stationed at Fort Bragg, N.C. he met his wife, Rachel Calhoun. They were married almost 65 years at the time of her death in 2009.
Jim was a musician and an expert in the repair and restoration of the bassoon. After a successful career in lumber sales, he built on instrument repair skills learned from his father and founded J Laslie Woodwinds in the early 1970’s. For the next forty years, he was known worldwide for his knowledge, craftsmanship and dedication to the bassoon.
As a musician, Jim was an accomplished bassoonist and was widely recognized for his contributions to the arts in Indianapolis. He appeared in the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra on numerous occasions and was in the orchestra for many musicals performed at Clowes Memorial Hall and Starlight Musicals. He was a dedicated member of the Indianapolis Philharmonic Orchestra for 60 years. The Philharmonic recognized his years of service in 2004 by holding a concert in his honor. On that same occasion, he was appointed a Sagamore of the Wabash by proclamation of then Governor Joseph Kernan. Jim was also active in the Indianapolis Symphonic Band for many years which awarded him the Robert A. Phillips Service to Music Award in 1999. He was a lifetime honorary member of the International Double Reed Society. In 2007 he was inducted into the Alumni Hall of Fame by Warren Central High School.
Jim is survived by his sons, Douglas M. Laslie (Nancy) and Jeffrey C. Laslie (Betsy), and grandsons Patrick D. Laslie, James D. Laslie, and Joseph M. Laslie. He is also survived by his sister, Geraldine Wessling (Ralph) and brother Jack Laslie (Judy).
Calling will be from 4:00 to 8:00 p.m., Tuesday April 26, 2011 at Flanner and Buchanan Funeral Center, 10722 East Washington Street. Funeral services officiated by the Rev. Robert Heimach will be at 11:00 a.m., Wednesday April 27, 2011 at the funeral home.
Memorial contributions may be made to Irvington Presbyterian Church, 55 Johnson Ave., Indianapolis, IN 46219-6498 or Hancock County Senior Services, 312 E. Main St., Suite A, Greenfield, IN 46140.