James Joseph Corless of Montauk and Dobbs Ferry, N.Y., died of a heart attack on Dec. 11 while en route to Montauk. Mr. Corless, who was known to friends and family as Jim, was the founder and chief executive of Datacom Management Sciences of Norwalk, Conn. He was 85.
D.M.S.I., as the company is known, provides equipment for large-scale communications systems for such clients as the United States Navy and Coast Guard. During the 1980s, Mr. Corless oversaw its work on the automation of many of the U.S.’s major telephone switching systems.
He was born in 1927 in Brooklyn, the first of two children of Michael and Marie Corless. When he was young, the family moved to Woodside, Queens, where later he played semi-professional football for the Woodside Incas.
In 1945, he entered the United States Merchant Marine Academy at Kings Point, where he majored in marine engineering. After the academy, he attended communications officers school at Scott Air Force Base in Arizona.
In 1951, after graduating from Manhattan College with an engineering degree, he went to work as a telegraph and data communications engineer for the federal Bureau of Ships and the Federal Aviation Administration in Washington, D.C.
In 1960, Mr. Corless left Washington and moved into the private sector, as a liaison to Washington. In 1969, he co-founded Fairfield Data Technologies, which consulted on network design, equipment evaluation, and traffic analysis.
It was aboard his Hatteras Sportsfisherman boat in 1985 that he and Ms. Corless first visited Montauk at the suggestion of their hired captain. They moved the boat from Connecticut to Montauk that same year.
For the first few years, they spent summer weekends in Montauk, living aboard their boat while docked at the Montauk Yacht Club and fishing often. In 1991 he was the winner of the Star Island Yacht Club’s first-ever Mako Mania shark tournament. He loved Montauk, his family said, and spent most of his time there.
In the 1990s, they bought an apartment at the Montauk Manor. Spending time there, they noticed the derelict Montauk Playhouse nearby and later became strong supporters of a successful effort to build a community center there.
In 2008, the Montauk Playhouse Committee honored the Corlesses at its Harbor Lights gala at the Montauk Lake Club.
In addition to Ms. Corless, he is survived by two sons, James Corless II of Trumbull, Conn., and Michael Corless of San Diego, and two daughters, Carolyn Corless of San Diego and Gina Mills of Trumbull, as well as a grandchild.
A memorial service for him will be held tomorrow at St. Therese of Lisieux Catholic Church in Montauk at 11:30 a.m.
Mr. Corless’s family has suggested donations in his memory to the Montauk Playhouse Community Center Foundation, P.O. Box 1612, Montauk 11954 or to the Animal Rescue Fund of the Hamptons, 90 Daniel’s Hole Road, Wainscott 11975.