A true war hero and recipient of the Purple Heart, Jimmy Wayne Davis, passed this life on Feb. 2, 2017, at the Sam Rayburn Veterans Center in Bonham, Texas.
Jim was born July 25, 1935, in Duncan, Oklahoma, and adopted by Doc and Opal Davis. Doc was of poor health but insisted on joining the World War II effort anyway, dying of asthma shortly after his induction. Opal later married Clarence Hunt who helped raise Jimmy like his own.
Growing up in Duncan and living next door to his "double" cousin, Gail Davis, Jimmy had a wonderful childhood. He attended Lee grade school and remained lifelong friends to many of his classmates.
Jimmy loved airplanes as a child, building them out of sticks and paper and using rubber bands to propel them. Sometimes setting them on fire, to his mother's chagrin.
After graduating Duncan High School in 1953, Jim attended Oklahoma A&M (OSU), to obtain the required 60 hours, before joining the Navy as a pilot. During his Navy career, Jim flew off many aircraft carriers among them the USS Oriskany, the Kitty Hawk and the Constellation. He was flying off the USS Hancock during the Vietnam War when his F-8 Crusader was shot down. He ejected on July 14, 1972, and spent 25 hours in the jungle awaiting rescue. He spent the night in the rain struggling to reach higher ground so the Jolly Greens could pick him up in an open spot. Reminiscing later in life Jim would often say that those were the best days of his life.
Jim obtained a political science degree from Auburn University while in the Navy and later in his career was head of recruiting at the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque. After retiring, Jim married his soulmate, Pamela Kidwell in 1994. Meeting her on a dreary day on a pier in Port Aransas, they ended up spending the next 22 years inseparable.
Jim spent his last 5 years at the Veterans Center in Bonham, and leaves a legacy of incredible courage to the end.
Jim leaves behind a host of friends as well as his wife, Pamela, of Daingerfield, Texas, a daughter, Dana (Davis) Bial, of Oceanside, CA, and a son, Chris Davis, of Duncan, OK. Also are Christina Denise (Kidwell) Johns, Kurt Dewayne Kidwell, and James Dalton Kidwell.
Published on February 10, 2017