2nd Lt. Herbert Allen James
Herbert Allen James - Passed away on Friday, May 16, 2008, while at Willow Care Nursing Home in Willow Springs. Born on July 19, 1921 in Coffeyville, Kan., to Jesse and Martha (Plattner) James, he was 86 years old. Mr. James grew up in Willow Springs where he graduated from high school in 1939. On Sept. 7, 1941, he married his high school sweetheart, Dolores Austin, and to this union four children were born. In 1943, Mr. James entered the Army Air Corp and flew B-17 bombers out of Foggia, Italy into Germany. He was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross, the highest award a pilot can receive. He was awarded the cross for flying his B-17 through the Bremmer Pass of the Italian Alps with both of the engines shot out on the same wing. After World War II he joined the Air Force Reserves, flying out of Richards-Gebaur Air Force Base near Kansas City. He flew the C-119 Flying Boxcar in missions that included support to Alaska after a massive earthquake in the early 1960s. In 1965, while on a mission near Kansas City, he was credited with locating a civilian aircraft that had lost all electronics and communications and leading that aircraft to a safe landing at Richards-Gebaur. Mr. James later flew the C-124 Globemaster out of Homestead Air Force Base in Homestead, Fla., during the Vietnam War. In 1972, after 28 years of service to the United States, he retired from the Air Force Reserves with the rank of Lt. Colonel. In addition to serving as a combat pilot, he also was an instructor and command pilot during his Air Force career. After his return to Willow Springs, Mr. James farmed, ran a saw mill and worked as an excavation contractor. Mr. James was a long-time member of the Trinity Baptist Church in Willow Springs where he served as a deacon for nearly 30 years, earning the distinction of deacon emeritus from the church. Mr. James was preceded in death by his parents, Jesse and Martha James, and his wife, Dolores James. He is survived by his children, Douglas James of Branson; Charles James and his wife, Debra, of Blue Springs; Mark James and his wife, Debra, of Jefferson City; and Judi Freeland of Santa Barbara, Calif. He is further survived by seven grandchildren and two great grandchildren and his brothers, Lyle James of Willow Springs and John James of Cassville, Mo. Friends are invited to attend a funeral service for Mr. James at 11 a.m. Friday, May 23, 2008, at the Trinity Baptist Church, 1001 N. Harris St., Willow Springs. The visitation is scheduled for 6 to 8 p.m. Thursday, May 22, at the Willow Funeral Home, 106 E. Third St., Willow Springs. Burial will follow Fridays service at the Willow Springs City Cemetery. Arrangements are under the direction of Willow Funeral Home in Willow Springs.