Dimel, James Joseph "Jim" Colonel, U. S. Air Force, Retired, age 89 of Boca Raton, FL, died suddenly on January 23, 2010 surrounded by his loving family. He lived in Plantation, FL for 37 years before moving to Boca Raton in 2007. Jim was born in 1920 in Columbus, Ohio to Rudolph and Margaret Dimel. There has been a private family memorial. There will be a committal service with military honors at South FL National Cemetery on February 19, 2010. Jim was a proud graduate of the University of Pittsburgh where he met and married his college sweetheart, Charlotte Harris. They were married for 67 years and had four children. He served in the Air Force for 30 years and flew with the 8th Air Force as a B-17 Aircraft Commander in WWII. Friends from Belgium wrote that "For the villagers of Moyen/Jamoigne, Jim is our true American WW2 hero. At age 24 he saved our village and our 11th century church. While descending from 30,000 feet with 3 of 4 engines on fire he raised the right wing of his crashing Flying Fortress in order to avoid our steeple and save his crew". Jim flew combat missions over Korea and served in Vietnam. Colonel Dimel is a highly decorated officer by our nation and he holds the unique distinction of having been awarded Korean, Italian and Thai pilot wings. After retiring from the Air Force, Jim was an Associate Professor at Ft Lauderdale University and later worked for Broward County. Jim enjoyed travel, golf and sailing his Chinese Junk on the Great Lakes. Anyone who knew him will remember he always spoke kindly of others, had a quick wit and a twinkle in his eye. Jim Dimel is survived by his wife Charlotte of Boca Raton, his sons James of Bremond, TX and John of Fairfax Station, VA and his daughters, Mary of Merritt Island, FL and Diane of Nashville, TN. He leaves four grandchildren and four great grandchildren and his sister Patricia Newman of Reseda CA. Those who want to honor James Dimel may make a donation to their favorite charity or to the victims of the earthquake in Haiti.
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Published in Sun-Sentinel on Feb. 3, 2010