James Taylor Lanier was born in Sylacauga, Ala., and was raised in Copperhill, Tenn., where he graduated in 1972 from Copper Basin High School.
In 1977, he earned a bachelor's degree in electrical engineering from Clemson and later received a master's degree in electrical engineering and computer science from the Johns Hopkins University.
After graduating from Clemson, he began his career at Westinghouse Electric Corp. at its Linthicum plant. For the past 19 years, he was a manager in American Telephone & Telegraph's federal contract division.
A resident of Columbia for 30 years, Mr. Lanier enjoyed following his beloved Tigers football team and playing golf.
His musical tastes ranged from classic country music to the music of Jimi Hendrix and The Band, said his wife of 20 years, the former Sylvia Gelissen, who had worked as a legal publication representative.
A visitation will be held from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday at the Harry H. Witzke Funeral Home, 4112 Old Columbia Pike, Ellicott City. A private interment will be held Tuesday in St. Mary's Cemetery in Bethel, Conn.
In addition to his wife, Mr. Lanier is survived by a brother, Dick Lanier of Phoenix, Ariz.; a sister, Linda Greer of Spokane, Wash.; and several nieces and nephews.