James Wilson Aikman
1929 - 2020
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James Wilson Aikman

Indianapolis - James Wilson Aikman who was born in Washington, Indiana on January 23, 1929, died peacefully on June 29, 2020 in the comfort of his own home with family and friends by his side. He was the only child of George Vincent Aikman and Marcella Lucille Smith Aikman (both deceased). After the family moved to Indianapolis in the Great Depression, he graduated from Franklin Township High School in 1946. He attended Indiana University and then enlisted in the Air Force in 1952. Having received what he considered his most treasured award of his life, The American Spirit Medal of Honor, he was honorably discharged in 1954. Upon his return to Indiana, he joined the family business, G.V. Aikman Company, designing and providing commercial food service equipment to facilities all over the world. He was the proprietor of Hide-A-Way Farms and over the course of his life raised, trained and showed 24 World Champion American Saddlebred Horses. From 1966 to 1989 he was a Board Member of the American Saddlebred Association serving as President from 1980 to 1983. Upon retiring from the business world, he carried his business knowledge and love of horses forward to establish the All American Cup in 2003 to forge the growth of the American Saddlebred Industry. He loved life and believed in hard work and the determined pursuit of dreams. He was "THE" best. He is survived by his son, James Whitton Aikman; daughter, Jennifer Dianne Thomas-Adams (Joel); and seven grandchildren, Hania, Elise (Agustin), Cambrian, Joshua, Emilela, Grance and Aliana; and one great-grandchild, Solaris James. He is also survived by his "stepson", John Hale; and numerous devoted and cherished friends. Services will be held at a later date due to the pandemic. In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to the American Saddlebred Horse Museum, 4083 Iron Works Parkway, Lexington, KY 40511 and/or the charity of your choice. Final care and arrangements are entrusted to Shirley Brothers Washington Memorial Chapel. www.shirleybrothers.com.

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Published in The Indianapolis Star from Jul. 1 to Jul. 2, 2020.
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Memories & Condolences
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4 entries
July 9, 2020
Dear Brian and family, Trish and Mike, and Melissa, I am so grateful to each of you for sharing your well-written, thoughtful memories of my father. He truly did impact everyones life whom he touched with his many unique strengths and positive qualities. Striving for and achieving excellence was simply a way of life that he expected from himself and from others. In being at his side, we felt a combination of pride, the presence of greatness, and a will to be our very best. That is the mark of a true leader. He selflessly helped others through his constant teaching and would find cross-references to illustrate His points from the many areas in which he was expert. That Aikman drive, which genuinely emanated from his very being, was contagious and came from the greatness in others he admired throughout his life, such as my grandad, George Aikman, the hall of fame horsemen Garland Bradshaw, Marty Mueller and Tom Moore, and his litany of amazing friends, Michele MacFarlane, Melissa Moore, Margaret Cordes, William and Elizabeth Shatner, Lisa Bonta, among so many wonder-filled friends and colleagues he knew and loved, and whom he touched. Somehow he always made quality time for the joyous love he shared with his adoring children and captivated grandchildren. John, Brad and family, Vicky, Patty, Amy, Kaylene, so many dedicated souls enriched his life and Jen and I are grateful. And this is perhaps the most touching of all...The very day he sailed onward, his eyes were opened for the first time in several days. I was so surprised and grateful since my daughter had just given birth to Dads (Jims) first great-grandson named after him: Solaris James (Sunshine James). Dad was bedridden for weeks, in retrospect, waiting to make sure Elise and Solaris James would be fine. That morning, Elise had just sent a short video of the baby to me which I played for Dad on my phone! He got a definitive sparkle in his eyes while it was playing and then, looked over at me with those commanding eyes as if to say, play it again! So I played it again. Again the sparkle and smile and again when it was over, his commanding eyes looked at me to play it again! This went on nearly a dozen times, while he was able to hear his great grandsons little voice and to see him interact with his granddaughter. After watching all those times, he gently closed his eyes, with a peaceful aura emanating from his calm presence. Solaris was the last thing he saw on this earth! The new generation appearing on the horizon as his ship was sailing toward the horizon, still definitely there, just not visible to us. So the wisdom, love, and inspiration he so thoroughly imparted in everyone he knew, will continue through us to those we know through our life experiences, through our teaching, inspired in part by our memories of this remarkable man and all he was to each of us. God bless you
James Aikman
July 4, 2020
I am so sorry to hear of the passing of Jim Aikman. Jim was a gentleman's gentleman. Jim brought me on board at the GV Aikman Company and I was afforded the opportunity to work and learn from this extraordinary gentleman. I immediately found Jim to be one of a kind. Starting with the job interview with Jim out at the Hide-A-Way Farms (where he made me bring my entire young family along so he could interview them too), to the many long days and nights that we worked tirelessly alongside each other designing and running many remarkable projects I knew Jim was simply " The Best". The best at whatever he did, especially at teaching me the business along with the ins and outs of the commercial kitchen design world. In the beginning it was obvious to me and my family that knowing and working for Jim was going to be something special. Jim was an astute, extremely detailed, dedicated professional when it came to his work. Customers and clients of all kinds waited their turn to get the opportunity to work on their project with this distinguished gentleman. It was awe inspiring to watch how prestigiously the food service equipment industry received him. Jim, just simply put, was a wonderful boss and friend to me. Soon after I started working for him he gave us our first family dog, Rusty. I had a young son and Jim said every boy has to have a dog to grow up with. So Jim, who never met a dog that was a stranger, gave us one he had adopted. I know of one particular time that we were working late and Jim didn't have the time to run and buy some dog food for all the stray dogs that he cared for out at the farm, so he stopped at McDonalds on his way home and bought bags of hamburgers to make sure that they all ate that night. My tutelage under Jim changed my life and afforded me the opportunity to establish my own career in the food service equipment industry. Jim made a lasting impression on me and so many others in this world. His legacy " The Aikman Way" will continue on through those of us that he shared his talent with and learned from the example he set. I am so grateful that are paths crossed and will forever cherish my memories of you and the times we shared. Rest In Peace my friend! Yours was a life well lived!
Brian Van Skyock and family.
Brian Van Skyock
July 2, 2020
Having worked for Jim for 14 years, I knew he was a strong businessman with a good heart! He would light up when his children and grandchildren came to visit. I always admired the two worlds he lived in - business and his love of horses! May he Rest In Peace from a life well lived! Sending our Prayers and Deepest Sympathy To Jamie, Jenny and the Grandchildren. Sincerely, Trish and Mike Schott
Patricia A Schott
July 2, 2020
From the first day I met Jim I adored him. His love for his horses his family and friends, most importantly his love for our loving and making our grandmother so happy (Ginny Peasley). The stories of Bob Mattox, Ginny & Jim growing up together were so fun to hear. They are all together again. To Jims entire family & friends my heart is with you all. ❤Melissa
Melissa Peasley
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