james r moore

James R. "Jim" Moore, Sr. 87 passed away on November 27, 2012. Jim was born on October 23,1925 in Okolona, MS,to Joseph Henry & Mary Lesley Moore. He grew up in Tupelo and Memphis and graduated from Memphis Tech H.S. in May 1943. In February 1943, he joined the Army Air Corp and upon turning 18, began his military career. He was completing Bombardier training in Arizona when WWII ended.

While stationed in Virginia in 1946, he met the love of his life and lifelong best friend, Grace Blythe Davis, from Conway, NC. A month later they began a marriage that lasted until her death in October 2005.

Jim entered the active reserves in December 1947 and began attending Memphis State. He was accepted to Dental School but in December 1950, was recalled to active duty by the USAF. He served in Korea with the 19th Bomb Group stationed in Okinawa as a B-29 Bombardier, flying 41 combat missions. Following Korea, he began following his childhood dream to be a pilot. He earned his pilot's wings in 1953 in Greenville, MS. as a member of the last Air Force class (53-G)to graduate in propeller aircraft. While in the service, he completed his education at Oklahoma State University, where he earned a Master's Degree in Mechanical Engineering. In 1963 while serving as a Pilot and Flight Test Engineer at Wright Patterson AFB, Dayton, OH, he was deployed to Vietnam where he served as Commander of the 1st Air Commando Squadron flying 414 combat missions. He achieved the rank of Major and was awarded the Bronze Star,Air Medal with 8 Oak Leaf Clusters, and was recommended for the Distinguished Flying Cross for his exceptional leadership, outstanding airmanship and heroism under enemy fire in Vietnam. He piloted his last flight, in a private plane, on his 80th birthday.

Following his retirement from the Air Force in December 1965, he returned to Tupelo to work with his father producing sausage from the family recipe for Southern Belle. While in retirement, Jim, always the quintessential entrepreneur, established several successful businesses including Moore's Mobile Homes and Moore's Tupelo Sausage, which he sold out of the family restaurant on Gloster.

Jim Moore, a member of the greatest generation, leaves a legacy of integrity, strength, loyalty & love to his family, all of whom have been forever affected by the intense heat of this pilot's enthusiasm for life, family, God & country. His commanding presence, sharp sense of humor & true grit will be forever missed.

He is survived by two daughters, Carol J. Smitherman & Joe of Safety Harbor, FL and Susan J. Semovoski & Bill of Arlington, TN; two sons, James R. Moore Jr. & Jeane of Madison, MS and Joseph A. Moore of Franklin, TN; six grandchildren & one great-grandchild, John Bradley Smitherman of Shreveport, LA; Anna Kristina Etherton (Eric) and Hadley May of Fernley, NV, Joseph Kyle Moore (Georgia Anne) of Chicago, IL, Bryson Owen Moore of Nashville, TN, and James Ryan Moore of Madison, MS, Anna Grace Moore of Franklin, TN; and step-sister, Jeanine Edwards Mah, Germantown, TN.

Visitation will be on Saturday, December 1, 2012, from noon to 2 pm at Lee Memorial Funeral Home in Verona, MS with service and Military burial immediately following in Lee Memorial Park. In lieu of flowers, memorial gifts may be made to the Wounded Warrior Project or the Alzheimer's Association .

For online condolences and guest registry, please visit www.leememorialonline.com.

Published in Clarion Ledger on November 30, 2012