OBITUARY: Merritt Island Resident, Rolling Thunder Member James Joseph Istvan, 66, Passes Away Aug. 27
By Space Coast Daily // September 6, 2023
known for his courage and leadership
BREVARD COUNTY, FLORIDA – With heavy hearts, we announce the passing of James Joseph Istvan, a remarkable man whose life was a testament to dedication, passion, and community service.
Born on November 16, 1956, Jim embarked on a life journey that touched the hearts of many.
Jim’s legacy is his dedication to the safety and welfare of others. In 1982, he joined the ranks of Fairfax County Fire and Rescue as a firefighter, a role he embraced with pride for nearly 39 years. Rising to the position of Station Commander, he was known for his courage and leadership.
After retirement, Jim and Maryalice moved to their favorite vacation area in Merritt Island, Florida. A lover of the skies, he delighted in watching rockets launch, finding beauty in the boundless expanse of space and wonder in pursuing new horizons.
Jim’s passions reached beyond the celestial as he created meaningful bonds through various clubs and organizations. He was an avid road cyclist, and every summer, he was devoted to following the Tour de France.
As co-president of the Miracle City Harley-Davidson Harley Owners Group (HOG), he organized memorable group rides with local members.
Jim also enjoyed serving veterans through the local Rolling Thunder Florida Chapter 1 and recently received his Rolling Thunder Rocker and Eagle. One of the highlights of this last year was riding with the Cape Kennedy Corvette Club to the Cape Canaveral Lighthouse.
Jim is survived by his beloved wife of 25 years, Maryalice Istvan; his cherished daughter, Laura Metz (Michael); his grandchildren, Makayla, Michael, and Lileah; his stepchildren: Jennifer Crump (Hubert), John Michael Beatty (Alana), Stephanie Gibson (Brian), Jason Beatty (Meighan), Katie O’Brien (Jason), and Benjamin Jenkins (Ashley); and step-grandchildren: Tyler, Steven, Madison, Aislin, James, Jessie, Lily, Siana, Rachel, Nemo, Caroline, and Owen.
He is also survived by his siblings, Michael Istvan, Judith Windsor (Richard), Paul Istvan (Lara), and Francis Istvan, Sr. (Cynthia), along with many more cherished loved ones. He was preceded in death by his parents, James and Cleo Istvan, and his brother, David Istvan. His legacy lives on through the memories, stories, and lessons he leaves behind.
A memorial service to honor and celebrate Jim’s life will be held on Friday, September 8, 2023, at Wylie-Baxley Funeral Home on Merritt Island. Visitation begins at 10 a.m., and the funeral will follow at 12 p.m.
Jim will be interred at Florida Memorial Gardens in Rockledge, Florida. Rolling Thunder Florida Chapter 1 will provide an escort from Wylie-Baxley Funeral Home to Florida Memorial Gardens.
Friends, family, and those whose lives he touched are invited to commemorate a well-lived life and bid farewell to a remarkable man who forever remains in our hearts. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to JDRF for diabetes research or the Firefighter Cancer Support Network.