James William "Jimmy" Colvin, 63, of Bradenton, Fla., formerly of Alexandria and Sterling, Va., died of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) on Thursday, Dec. 6, 2012. He died at home surrounded by family. He was born on June 10, 1949, in Staunton, Va., and lived most of his life in northern Virginia until he and his wife moved to Bradenton, Fla. in 2005.
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He is survived by his loving parents, Mattie Spitler Colvin and Guy William Colvin of Alexandria, Va. He also leaves behind his devoted wife, Gail Padgett Colvin; three amazing children, daughters Jessica Colvin Jenkins and husband, D.J., and Virginia Colvin Wilson, all of Winterville; and son, James William Shepherd Colvin of Vienna, Va. He is survived by five wonderful grandchildren, Jolie Jenkins, Reese and Jorden Hooper, and Chloe Wilson all of Winterville and Aeila Edmonston of Athens, Ga. In addition, Jimmy is survived by sisters Sandy Colvin and Ann Colvin Taylor of Alexandria, Va., and brothers Tom Colvin and wife, Karen, Michael Colvin, and Rob Colvin and wife, Donna. Jimmy was also very fortunate to have had very special friends Kimberly and Patrick Owens, of Springfield, Va., Bill Baker of Washington, D.C., and Jan and Lawrence Golbois of Bradenton, Fla.
Jimmy will be remembered for his warrior's heart, his deep love and the pride he had for his family, his wonderful sense of humor, his sweet caring nature, and his abiding compassion for others.
Jimmy was a decorated combat veteran of the Vietnam war, serving with the 25th Infantry "Electric Strawberry" air mobile units and the Combat Engineers. Upon his return from Vietnam, he attended NCO School at Ft. Myers, Va. where he was assigned to the 3rd Infantry "Old Guard," the ceremonial tomb guards and burial unit for Arlington National Cemetery, and the "President's Own" ceremonial guard unit.
Jimmy retired from the federal government as a civilian mechanical engineer in the research and development department of the U. S. Army's Harry Diamond Weapons Lab in Adelphi, Md. Through his work there he was committed to providing the modern combat units with weapons that would give soldiers the best chance of returning home alive. Jimmy was also a master metal mechanic, making by hand many reproductions of vintage army vehicles for ceremonies and was commissioned by the artist, Anthony Caro, to build the metal sculpture entitled "National Gallery Ledge Piece" that is on permanent display in the atrium of the East Building of the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C.
Jimmy was a Deacon in the Baptist Church and an accomplished magician for more than thirty years and a lifetime member of the Washington, DC Magic Circle.
Funeral service and burial will be at Arlington National Cemetery at a date to be announced later. A Celebration of Jimmy's life will also be held on that day in Alexandria, Virginia.
The family would like to express deep gratitude to the doctors, nurses, counselors, and combat veterans' groups at the Veterans' Administration centers in Sarasota and Bradenton and to the very special caregivers at Tidewell Hospice. The family requests that in memory of Jimmy you thank a veteran for his or her service and donations can be made to Tidewell Hospice at 3355 26th St. W., Bradenton, FL 34205.
Funeral arrangements by Griffith-Cline Funeral Home.
Published in The Daily Reflector on Dec. 13, 2012