James Thomas McKee May 14, 1916 – March 3, 2012 Colonel James T. McKee, retiree of the United States Air Force and beloved son, husband, father, grandfather, brother and friend passed away on March 3, 2012. He is survived by his wife Ruby of 68 years; son Stephen; grandchildren Glenn and Catherine; great-grandchildren Karen and Brian. He was preceded in death by his daughter Karen, parents Hugh and Cammie McKee of Picayune, MS. Two weeks after receiving a BSC degree from the University of Mississippi, he entered the Air Force as an Aviation Cadet. In 1942 when World War II began he helped ferry the first B-25s to Basra, Iraq. He then flew bomber planes in the African Campaign against Rommel from El Alamein to the victory in Tunisia. In 1943 he returned to the US and married Ruby Taylor, his college sweetheart, of Grenada, MS. His last assignment before the end of the war was on the China Burma India staff. He also flew 43 missions over the "Hump" to China. After the war he went to Harvard University and received a Masters' degree in business. He was then assigned to the Pentagon as a Staff Officer in the Directorate of Procurement for four years. The next assignment was to Bonn Germany where he was Chief of the Logistics Branch of the Military Advisory Group with the mission of helping the German Air Force re-establish its logistics system. In Los Angeles he was Air Force Plant Representative to Hughes Aircraft Co. and later to Lockheed Sunnyvale. His last assignment before retiring from the Air Force was Vice Commander of the Air Force Contract Management Division. After retiring from the Air Force he worked seventeen years as a Los Angeles County Deputy Tax Assessor. He was a member of the Daedalians, The Society of the Cincinnati and the Scottish Rite of Freemasonry.

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  1. James McKee was always a gentleman and I will miss him terribly. He was always welcoming, gracious and mischievous. If my memory serves me right, I think I have known him 40 years. I feel very sad to have lost a wonderful friend. He was a top-notch tennis player and a great baker of chocolate chip cookies. The romance between James and Ruby was wonderful to watch as the years went by. How fortunate they were to have all of those years together. God Bless the family and keep Him close to your sides.

  2. James: What an affable man was he. Steeped with mischief and in the lore of the military. Excellent in serving a tennis ball or a glass of wine raised in a toast. A retired colonel with medals galore who was never inclined to boast. Loyal and true to his wife and his country and in love with aircraft coasting the sky. Gallant to the end and now in the atmosphere where eagles and angels fly. I shall miss you!!

  3. James McKee was not only my uncle, but also my hero. He was the epitome of the word “gentleman”, a chocolate chip cookie champion, a gifted gardener,charitable, a true example of patriotism, and a prankster. (No, Uncle James, I have not forgotten the time you caught an eel on your fishing line and tried to convince my daughters to dangle it in front of me!) The world always shone brighter because of him, and I do believe his light will still shine on all of us from up above. He will be missed by all of my family more than words can express. The controls are yours now, Uncle James. Fly high and free!

  4. James McKee was my oldest brother AND life-long hero. My greatest childhood memory was the day James placed my little brother, Frank, and I on top of dirt in a wheelbarrow and dumped us all together! We never laughed so loudly and long before or since. Also, Frank and I used to DIVE off our house to James with unmeasurable delight: James always caught us and laughed so heartily with us. We told James “We want to go wherever you go!” James was such a generous man (especially to orphanages) and to many many people. I’m certain he was welcomed with open arms and much fanfare when he arrived at the pearly gates of heaven, for he was truly a good Christian man, a wonderful husband, father, grandfather, friend and Colonel in the U.S. Air Force. He was a highly respected member of the “Greatest Generation” and now “flies” on to his next assignment–but he will be missed here on earth.

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