R. James Yarnell
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Yarnell, R. James 94, photographer, artist, printer and bookmaker, died in his sleep Tuesday, July 19, 2011, with his loving children by his side. Jim was born Jan. 18, 1917, in Little River, Kan; and graduated from Wichita North, after which he started a photography studio. When World War II broke out he enlisted in the U. S. Army distinguishing himself as a combat photographer and earning a bronze star in the China-Burma-India theatre. After the war, Jim turned to aerial photography, earning his pilot's license and providing Wichita-area businesses with images of their properties and developments. Beechcraft hired him in 1952, where he rose through the ranks to lead the company's advertising department. While at Beech, he and nationally known aviation science writer Martin Cadin photographed thousands of American landscapes and landmarks from a Beech Debonair. These images were published in is My Landin 1961. Photographs from the book were donated to the Wichita Art Museum and publicly exhibited in 2010. Jim's photography earned him a lifetime achievement award from the National Geographic Society in 1980. He retired from Beechcraft in 1982. A friend to many local artists, Jim was an avid printer, painter, paper maker and bookmaker and was a member of the Wichita Bibliophiles. His hand-printed and illustrated miniature books are highly prized. Jim also maintained an art studio where he and his friends exchanged ideas about printing and papermaking. In 2006, he donated a collection of 35 rare maps by Wichita artist Robert T Aitchison to Wichita State University's Ablah Library. He traveled throughout the southwest photographing the Grand Canyon and many other rugged locations. As he traversed the country in his Toyota Land Cruiser and VW bus, he would look for unique country mailboxes. His mailbox slide shows provided a whimsical view of Americana. His wife of 64 years, Ann Holmes Yarnell, his parents, Roy and Ruby Yarnell and his brothers, Duane and Rex preceded Jim in death. He is survived by his children, Richard W. Yarnell and Barbara Yarnell Chamberlin (Mark). A reception to celebrate Jim's life is scheduled for Thursday, August 18, 5:30 p.m. 8:30 p.m. at the Wichita Art Museum. Memorials can be made to the Kansas Humane Society, 3313 N. Hillside, Wichita, KS, 67219, the Wichita-Sedgwick County Historical Museum 204 S. Main, Wichita, KS, 67202 or the Wichita Public Library, 223 S. Main, Wichita, KS, 67202. Downing & Lahey Mortuary East. Tributes may be sent to the family via www.dlwichita.com

Published in Wichita Eagle from Jul. 23 to Aug. 14, 2011.
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