James

January 6, 1920 ~ July 17, 2022

Born in: Jerome, Arizona
Resided in: Torrance, California

James Sturgeon Stewart, January 6, 1920 to July 17, 2022,  was born in Jerome, Arizona. He spent his early years LeeVining, California, then graduated from Inglewood High School.  While studying at UCLA, he met and married Ollie Lee Walker.  After spending 3 years as a Lieutenant and navigator in the eighth Air Force in WWII, being awarded an Air Medal and a Purple Heart, Jim returned to UCLA, earning a Masters degree in Physics.  Living in Inglewood, he had a 35 year career in aerospace, and became an active member of the Society of Professional Engineers.  He was a leader in the MathCounts program, designed to excite Middle School students about mathematics.  He was also a Boy Scout Leader, and was the only male member of the local branch of the League of Women Voters, with whom his wife was active. After the death of Ollie Lee, Jim reconnected with Candy Wilson, a friend since high school, with whom he spent the last 21 years of his life.  Together, they joyfully set foot on all 7 continents.

Jim was a lifelong hiker and camper, completing most of the John Muir Trail in the Sierra Nevada, and hiking to the Annapurna Sanctuary in Nepal at the age of 69.  He created an aerial photo guide to the John Muir trail, and, being a bit of a Renaissance Man, also wrote and self published a book of poetry, reflecting his early life experiences, as well as his philosophies of the world.  He was working on a book about his early life in the Sierras.  Jim loved children, and spent much time with his 2 children, 3 grandchildren, and 6 great grandchildren.  Sadly, he died just short of the birth of his first great great grandchild.

Services

Service: October 9, 2022 11:00 am

Lighthouse Memorials & Receptions - Rice Center
5310 Torrance Blvd.
Torrance, CA 90503

310-792-7599
LAFuneral.com

Reception / Repast: October 2, 2022 12:00 pm - October 2, 2022 2:00 pm

Lighthouse Memorials & Receptions - Rice Center
5310 Torrance Blvd.
Torrance, CA 90503

310-792-7599
LAFuneral.com

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  1. Sincerest condolences from all of the volunteers at the 493rd BG Museum, Debach, England.
    James served with the 493rd BG, 860th & 862nd BS on the B-24’s and B-17’s flown by the Group, completing 34 combat missions in WWII.
    Rest in Peace

  2. 2nd LT James S. Stewart reported to the 493rd Bomb Group (BG), at Debach, England, on 24 June 1944, as the Navigator, with the crew of LT Lyle E. Winkenhauser, and they were assigned to the 862nd Bomb Squadron (BS). James’ first combat mission was flown on 12 July, flying in a B-24 Liberator bomber. On the 20 July mission, his bomber was forced to ditch in the North Sea (because of loss of fuel caused by the intense FLAK) and they were rescued by a British Air/Sea Rescue boat – the Bombardier, LT Carl E. McClendon, drowned. In September, the 493rd BG transitioned to flying the B-17 Flying Fortress bomber. On 30 October, James flew his first combat mission with the crew of LT Ambrose C. Shaw, and flew his remaining missions with this crew. On 16 December, James was promoted to 1st Lieutenant. James’, 34th, and last, combat mission was flown on 16 January 1945. The FLAK was fairly accurate and they did receive some damage that resulted in fuel loss. LT Shaw decided to land in Belgium and refuel. The next day, they headed to England. The weather closed in both in England and on the Continent. With zero visibility, landing the plane didn’t seem as an option. LT Shaw told his crew he was going to setup the autopilot and everyone would bail-out of the plane. Everybody jumped except for LT Shaw, who then bumped into the Co-Pilot who didn’t have a parachute (it had been accidently opened inside the plane – and was not useable). In the meantime, the crewmembers who had jumped had landed. James received a broken leg on landing, and was evacuated to a field hospital near Brussels. It took almost a week to get everybody back together. James remained with the 493rd BG up to May 1945 (he did not fly any additional combat missions) and likely returned to the States in June or July.

    This is written “In Memory” of James S. Stewart and his time with the 493rd Bombardment Group, stationed at Debach, Suffolk, England.

    On behalf of the Board of Directors of “The Fighting 493rd Bombardment Group Memorial Association” and all of our members, I would like to pass on our most sincere condolences to James’ family and friends. James was truly a member of “The Greatest Generation.”

    David J. Schmitt
    Director, Editor, and 493rd BG Historian

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