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James Jim Service


1931 - 2017 Obituary Condolences
James Jim Service Obituary
Vice Admiral James Jim' Service (Ret.) January 20, 1931 - February 10, 2017 Carlsbad Vice Admiral James "Jim" Service, USN (Ret.) 86, of Hailey, Idaho, died Friday, February 10th in Carlsbad, CA with wife, Natalie, and granddaughters Constance Service and Meredith Johnson at his side. Born January 20th, 1931, in Grosse Point, MI, he was the son of the late Bruce E. Service and Constance (Mills) Service. Jim was a decorated Naval Aviator beginning his long, storied career in 1950 as a Naval Aviation Cadet (NAVCAD). He flew combat missions in the Korean and Vietnam Wars, served as test pilot, commanded aviation units and various ships, was President of the Naval War College and ultimately commanded the Naval Air Forces, United States Pacific Fleet, at Naval Air Station, North Island. His aviation squadron commands included Heavy Photographic Squadron 62 in Jacksonville, FL and Heavy Attack Squadron 123 in Whidbey Island, WA. He commanded the Fast Combat Support Ship USS Sacramento (AOE-1) and the aircraft carrier USS Independence(CV-62), which he frequently remarked was one of his most rewarding and challenging assignments. During the Reagan Administration he was Commander Battle Force, Sixth Fleet, and Task Force 60 in the Mediterranean Sea during which time he planned and executed the operation in the Gulf of Sidra in which two F-14A Tomcat fighters from Fighter Squadron 41, USS Nimitz (CVN-68) destroyed two Libyan Su-22 attack aircraft in the Gulf of Sidra incident of 19 August 1981. He was a recipient of the Gray Eagle Award, presented to the active Naval Aviator with the earliest date of designation and was selected for membership in The Early and Pioneer Naval Aviators Association,"Golden Eagles", in recognition of his leadership, outstanding skill as a pilot, his wide experience, good judgment, personal character and dedication to flying. He retired from the Navy in 1987. During his naval career Jim flew nearly every jet in the Navy inventory at one time or another. He continued his love of flying after leaving the Navy, owning two general aviation aircraft in which he would launch on various adventures with his wife, Natalie and three sons. A natural athlete, he seemed to excel at anything he attempted. He was elegant and accurate with a fly rod, an exquisite skier and fabulous wing shot. He was fond of saying, "If you're not having fun, you're not doing it right!". He possessed a playful sense of humor and delighted in a great joke or clever story. In retirement Jim was a director of the Wood River Medical Center in Ketchum, Idaho, from 1991 to 1995 and served as a financial adviser for the PGR Advisors consulting group in San Jose, California. In 1992 Jim accepted an appointment to the board of directors of the Sturm, Ruger Company, Inc. and served as Chairman of the Board from 2006 to 2010 and later as Chairman Emeritus until his death. He was a bold and caring patriarch with a deep love of family and friends. He is survived by his loving wife of 62 years, Natalie Harpst Service, along with three sons; Mark and Jane Service of Honolulu, Hawaii, Bruce and Martha Service of Anchorage, Alaska, David and Betsy Service of San Diego, California, six grandchildren; Kyle Service, Brett Service, Kathrine Haluch, Constance Service, Kevin Service, Meredith Johnson, two great-grandchildren; Ryland Neal-Service, Kenna Kate Service and brother; David Service of Huntingdon Valley, Pennsylvania. Memorial services will be held at 2:00PM April 3, 2017 at Ft. Rosecrans National Cemetery, Cabrillo Memorial Drive, San Diego. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to The Nature Conservancy, Tribute and Honor Giving link on The Nature Conservancy website.
Published in The San Diego Union Tribune on Feb. 26, 2017
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