81, of Carpinteria, California, passed away peacefully in Santa Barbara on Wednesday, April 16, 2014.
Jim was born on September 28, 1932, in Dallas, Texas. His passion for aviation began at age 14 when he flew crop dusters in Dallas. After attending Texas AandM University at College Station, Jim joined the U.S. Marine Corps and earned his wings at Pensacola Naval Air Station in Florida. He served in the U.S. Marine Corps as an aviator and flew reconnaissance missions during the Cuban Missile Crisis and the Korean War. Jim retired from the military as a Major. In 1959, Jim set a world aviation endurance record by spending 51 days in the air in the "Old Scotchman," a Cessna 172. After a 37-year career as a commercial pilot for American Airlines, Captain Jim retired his wings in 1992.
Jim was a charter member of the Rotary Club of Carpinteria Morning and was the visionary for the Tomol Interpretive Play Area on Linden Avenue. Jim served as a Rotarian for more than 50 years and his friends affectionately called him "Smooth."
Jim is survived by the love of his life, Linda; his four children, Patrick Heth, of Flower Mound, Texas, Stephanie Heth, of Watkinsville, Georgia, Kenneth Heth, of Singapore, and Hillary Davidson, of Newport, Rhode Island; his ten grandchildren, Shawna, Mackenzie, Zachary, Trevor, Madeline, Claire, Penelope, Oliver, Charles, and Mary Rose. He is also survived by several nieces, nephews, and cousins.
Jim was a member of Summerland Presbyterian Church and a memorial service will be held at the church at 11 a.m. Thursday, June 5. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Rotary Club of Carpinteria Morning Foundation or Hospice of Santa Barbara.