James Windham
James Windham

James Windham

By Lori Kerns | Librarian

James “Jimmy” Windham was born in 1918 in the city of Memphis, Tennessee. He is the youngest of seven children born to an automobile mechanic and a housewife. Growing up during the Great Depression, Jimmy knew that there were not many job opportunities so he made the decision to join the military. He was only sixteen when he went to the recruitment office and the sergeant told him that he was too young to join. Unfortunately he did not have a birth certificate so he went to his doctor and asked for documentation stating that he was eighteen. His doctor obliged. 

At the young age of sixteen, Jimmy set out for Army boot camp in 1935. He dedicated ten years to the Army, including serving during WWII. Throughout that time, he held many different positions going “wherever they needed somebody.” After his time with the Army, he decided to extend his military career. At the time, the newly formed Air Force was trying to build their forces so they were offering those prior servicemen their former rank if they joined. He took that offer and trained to become an airplane mechanic. He stayed with the Air Force for about thirteen years before retiring from military service.

As a civilian, Jimmy began working in the trucking business. He and his wife, Julia, raised their two children, Jim and Jan, back in her hometown of Birmingham, Alabama. The couple was happily married for 51 years until Julia’s passing.

Jimmy moved to AFRH-G about four years ago. Until that time he had enjoyed such pastimes as hunting, fishing, and a little golfing. Now that he’s completely retired, he enjoys a more “simple life.” This month, he happily celebrated a milestone birthday with his fellow residents at an ice cream social to honor the occasion. Happy 101st Birthday, Jimmy!