Archived Story

James Hurst Stephenson, Sr.; Dec. 5, 2012

Published 9:48am Friday, December 7, 2012

James Hurst Stephenson, Sr.
Dec. 5, 2012

James Hurst Stephenson, Sr., beloved husband and father, passed away Wednesday, Dec. 5, 2012, in Madison County, at age 90.

Jim was preceded in death by his cherished wife of 61 years, Nancy J. Stephenson. He is survived by his children: James H. Stephenson (MaryAnn), Donald L. Stephenson, Margaret A. Stephens (Thomas), Richard G. Stephenson (Terri), and Nancy S. Nelson; five grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.

Jim was born on July 4, 1922, in Chattanooga, Tenn. to William F. and Margaret H. Stephenson. He graduated from Chattanooga City High School in 1940, and then attended David Lipscomb College in 1940 and 1941. During WW2, Jim enlisted in the US Army Air Corps, eventually flying 30 combat missions over Europe as a B-24 co-pilot. After the war, Jim attended Georgia Tech for two years and worked briefly for Southern Railways.

When the Korean War began in 1950, Jim volunteered for recall in the Air Force and completed helicopter pilot training. He flew rescue helicopters in Newfoundland, Canada, and was a helicopter instructor pilot in San Marcos, Texas.

In 1956, Jim began school at the Air Force Institute of Technology (AFIT) at Wright-Patterson AFB, Dayton Ohio. After graduating in 1958 with an Aeronautical Engineering degree, he worked on several helicopter development projects, including the CH-47 Chinook. Jim attended AFIT again from 1961 to 1963, graduating with a Master’s Degree in Systems Reliability Engineering. After serving on the staff of Aeronautical Systems Division at Wright-Patterson, he retired with the rank of Lieutenant Colonel on March 31, 1968.

Jim moved his family to Huntsville in June of 1968, when he began an eighteen-year Civil Service career with the US Army Missile Command. After his retirement in 1986, Jim worked another seven years with defense contractor CAS, Inc., finally retiring permanently in December, 1993.
In 1992, Jim and Nancy moved to a house he built on 5 acres just east of the Madison city limits, where he lived until his passing. Jim was a member of the Madison church of Christ for 19 years.

Viewing and visitation is Friday, Dec. 7, from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Madison Church of Christ, 565 Hughes Road in Madison. A funeral service on Saturday, Dec. 8, will begin with viewing at noon, followed by the service at 1 p.m.

Interment will be at the National Cemetery in Chattanooga, Tenn., on Monday, Dec. 10, at 11 a.m.

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