James Frederick “Jim” Claybourn

James Frederick “Jim” Claybourn

Birth
Nashville, Davidson County, Tennessee, USA
Death 3 Nov 2004 (aged 79)
Evansville, Vanderburgh County, Indiana, USA
Burial Evansville, Vanderburgh County, Indiana, USA
Memorial ID 32312122 · View Source
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James Frederick Claybourn (known as "Jim") was born on August 6, 1925 in Nashville, Tennessee. Jim graduated from Reitz High School in 1942. For much of his life Jim was relatively short, yet by the time he left the Air Force at the age of 21, Jim was 6 feet tall and weighed 146 pounds. Thus, for his generation, Jim had grown to be a tall and skinny man.

Jim entered military service on November 27, 1943 at the age of eighteen. He was a Sergeant with the 24th Combat Mapping Squadron of the Thirteenth Air Force Base Unit, stationed in Karachi, India. Jim's squadron made maps of a busy aerial highway - called the "Hump" - which stretched from India to China, over the eastern Himalayas and some of the world's tallest mountains. Jim served as a photographer and gunner. The "Hump" was a crucial route to ferrying supplies to the Chinese Army so it could stay in the fight against Japan. After serving roughly 13 months in the States, and 15 months overseas, Jim was discharged on April 17, 1946. He received the Asiatic-Pacific and American Theater ribbons, three bronze stars, and the Victory medal.

After the War Jim immersed himself in the westside community of Evansville, Indiana, and increased his involvement at Howell United Methodist Church. Growing up Jim never particularly cared for church, but upon returning from the War he discovered that he missed it. "It made a ... I feel like ... a profound change in my life. I didn't want to miss the activities, or the interaction, between the people and the neighbors and the relatives that I met at church. It was kind of like a huge extended family." Along with Jim's immediate family, a number of other Claybourns attended Howell. Jim would carry on the tradition and served on the church's Board of Trustees, taught Sunday School, sang in the choir, was President of the Methodist Men's Club, sponsored Methodist Youth Fellowship, and coached the church basketball team.

Soon after returning home from the War Jim also continued another tradition begun by his father and brother by joining Reed Lodge No. 316 of Free & Accepted Masons. He was initiated on Dec. 18, 1946, passed on Feb. 3, 1947 and raised on April 12, 1947. He remained an active member of the lodge his entire adult life, serving as Worshipful Master in 1980 and Treasurer from 1983-1998. The lodge meant so much to him that when his son (Douglas) and grandson (Joshua) also joined the same lodge many years later, he had to fight back tears of joy. Jim was also heavily involved in the Hadi Shrine Temple and frequently assisted with its annual production of the circus.

Jim had passionate loyalties for certain institutions - among them Howell UMC, the Masonic Lodge, Indiana Univ. and Reitz H.S. - which he would support with zeal until the day he died on the 3rd of November, 2004. His allegiance to Reitz was so strong that he very rarely missed their football games, and even included a game in his honeymoon. He frequently volunteered with many of the school's athletic teams, and when two of his grandsons played football, basketball and soccer for Reitz, he was adopted as a grandfather of sorts for all of the teams' players.

An old classmate of Jim's described him this way: "He liked to argue just for the hell of it, but always in a good-natured, light-hearted way that immediately made you smile." At his funeral the Reitz fight song was played, and as his hearse made its way to his final resting place at Memorial Park Mausoleum, it made one final lap around the Reitz High School grounds. Fiercely loyal to the end, Jim would have it no other way.


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  • Created by: Hal Bloss
  • Added: 20 Dec 2008
  • Find A Grave Memorial 32312122
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for James Frederick “Jim” Claybourn (6 Aug 1925–3 Nov 2004), Find A Grave Memorial no. 32312122, citing Alexander Memorial Park Cemetery, Evansville, Vanderburgh County, Indiana, USA ; Maintained by Hal Bloss (contributor 46549933) .