James N. McClelland, Colonel-USAF (Ret)
After a lengthy illness, Papa Jim returned peacefully to Jesus on November 12, 2012. He spent his last days at the home of his son Jim and daughter-in-law Kim.
Born May 2, 1930 in Buffalo, New York to Norman and Zelma McClelland, Papa Jim spent the first half of his life on the road. As the son of a VA physician and then as a fighter pilot, Papa Jim spent his life serving his country.
A graduate of Byrd High School and Centenary College of Louisiana in Shreveport, Louisiana, Papa Jim began his military career in 1951. He first served as an interceptor pilot in Japan as well as other duty stations until 1959. He then served as a test pilot until 1965, when he began training for duty in Vietnam. He flew 100 missions as an F-105 pilot in Vietnam in 1967. He reached the pinnacle of his career as the wing commander of the 474 Tactical Fighter Wing in Las Vegas, Nevada. He retired in 1981 with 30 years of service. Among his many achievements, Papa Jim was the recipient of the Distinguished Flying Cross and Air Medal, with multiple oak leaf clusters, and a Masters in Business Administration.
Papa Jim was a generous and caring man, volunteering his time and talents to many causes, including church, scouting, the Combined Federal Campaign and helping others with free income tax preparation. He loved his family raising two sons, Scott and James Keith. The love of his life, Martha Louise, preceded him in death.
Papa Jim loved his family home, Sam's Hill Tree Farm, spending many "retirement" hours developing and maintaining the tree farm south of Gilmer, Texas. He exhibited the excellence of a fighter pilot in his work as a tree farmer, earning the distinction as landowner of the year.
Papa Jim is survived by his two sons, daughters-in-law Evelyn and Kim, grandchildren, Kyle, Brett, Kate, Patrick, Patricia and Loren, and his poodle, Samantha Ann, his constant companion and "caretaker" during the last seven years. He was preceded in death by his parents and brother, Tommy.
The family wishes to thank Dr. Alan Borne, and the staffs of Community Angels of Hope and St. Joseph's Hospice for their care for and love of Papa Jim.
The family will welcome visitors at Osborn Funeral Home in Shreveport, Louisiana on Friday, November 16th, 2012 from 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm. Interment will be at Sunset Memorial Park Cemetery in Gilmer, Texas at 9:30 am on Saturday, November 17th, 2012. A memorial service will be held at Saint Matthias Episcopal Church in Shreveport on November 17th, 2012 at noon.
Pallbearers will be Scott McClelland, Jim McClelland, Patrick McClelland, Kyle McClelland, Brett McClelland and Loren McClelland.
In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made to the either of the two following charitable organizations:
Children's Organ Transplant Association account for Loren, 2501 West COTA Drive, Bloomington, Indiana 47403 or www.cota.org
Louisiana Methodist Children's Home, P.O. Box 929, Ruston, LA 71273.
Osborn Funeral Home