James Lee Cartwright was born in Drumright, Oklahoma on October 19, 1924 to LaVera Cartwright McClure and W.B. McClure, according to his birth certificate. His life was fraught with tragedy, his mother died when he was 6 months old. When he was a year and a half, he was given to his mother's great uncle Roderick Cartwright and his wife Edith. They took him to Monterey where his great uncle was stationed with the Cavalry at the Presidio.
Jim grew up in Monterey and when WWII broke out, Jim left Monterey High and joined the Navy, and later becoming a radio operator on B-29's rescuing the injured in the South Pacific. He also served in the Korean War and received an Honorable Discharge from the Navy in July 1954. Jim had several different jobs when he was younger: sold shoes, worked in a bank, worked with heavy equipment building roads and highways in Northern California and Nevada.
In his later years, he went back to school and completed nurse's training at CSUB and worked as an LVN (Licensed Vocational Nurse) at Memorial Hospital. Jim came from a military family. Some of his forefathers had served in the Civil War. The uncle who brought him up (and whose last name he took) had, in his younger years, chased Poncho Villa in Mexico with General Black Jack Pershing!
The mother of his two children also died young, leaving him with a baby and a 3 year old to care for.
Jim was a member of the Arvin Congregational Church and had served as the moderator for several years. He was also a member of Navy League, and the Masonic Lodge. He loved sailing with his friends "Butch" Douglas. One of Jim's best friends, a doctor he had worked with, said it best when he wrote, "We mourn the loss of our dear friend, Jim. No one can ever replace him. We will miss his serene countenance, that calming smooth voice, the twinkle in his eyes, and his steadfast loyalty to us. But most of all we will miss his loving heart. Our hearts are at half-mast!"
Jim was preceded in death by daughter Edith (February). He is survived by son Joaquin "Keno", Jim's widow "T", several other cousins and many friends.
Interment will be at the National Cemetery at 9 a.m. on Friday, April 22nd.
Services to follow at 11a.m. at Arvin Congregational Church (now St. John's Valley of Faith), 500 Campus Drive, Arvin, CA. His daughter's ashes will be buried with his. A luncheon will follow the services.
In lieu of flowers, the family would appreciate contributions to the Honor Flight (which Jim went on two years ago), Bakersfield Symphony (BSO-1328) 34th Street, Bakersfield, 93301, Hoffman Hospice, Arvin Congregational Church (now St. John's Valley of Faith), 500 Campus Drive, Arvin, CA, or a
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