James Morris Yowell, known all of his life as Jim, died on Saturday, April 21, 2012, at Grays Harbor Community Hospital, Aberdeen, at the age of 91. He was born on February 10, 1921, in the Hoquiam General Hospital, the son of James Haynes and Mary Alice (Fairbairn) Yowell.
He graduated from Wishkah High School in 1939 and had worked for Shafer Brothers’ Logging as a blaster and powder monkey.
Jim joined the U.S. Army Air Corps on December 17, 1941, where he attended Aircraft Factory Service Schools in Buffalo, N.Y. and Airplane Engine Mechanic School in Kansas City, Mo. After graduating from the Air Corps Schools as an Aerial Engineer, he began flying missions over the North Atlantic. Jim achieved the rank of Staff Sergeant, received the Aviation Badge and was decorated with medals for Good Conduct, World War II Victory and American Campaign medals. Upon being honorably discharged on November 25, 1945, and released from duty, Jim wandered into a sidewalk café in Newbury Port, Mass., where he met Vesta “Sis” Weld. Jim and Sis would stay in touch by writing letters for the next several years.
He then worked for five years for the U.S. Civil Service as a senior aircraft engineering instructor at the 18th Fighter Wing at Clark Air Force Base in the Philippines. He was commended for his knowledge of both jet and reciprocating aircraft engines and also his abilities as an instructor at the base’s technical schools.
When Jim returned to the States, he took a job for a short time in California and then for Boeing in Seattle before deciding to attend Grays Harbor College.
In October of 1950, Sis traveled west to visit with Jim and his family. One month later Jim was married to Vesta “Sis” Chandler Weld in Aberdeen on November 3, 1950, and she survives at the family home in Hoquiam.
He studied engineering at Grays Harbor College and in ICS Correspondence Courses, beginning his career at Lamb Grays Harbor, first in the drafting department where he was promoted to Drafting Supervisor. After transferring to the engineering department he worked his way up to become the head of the department. He traveled extensively with the company to many countries and had lived at New Westminster, BC for a couple of years with the Lamb Cargate facility. He retired in 1985 as the general sales manager.
Late in 1985, Jim and his son, Mac, started Maintenance Welding Service, Inc. Jim helped managed the office. He worked with the company up until the day before he was hospitalized.
Jim enjoyed fishing and camping along local rivers with his friends and family. He loved to relax at his cabin on the river that his friends and family helped him build. Many campfires, barbeques and even explosive 4th of July parties held at the cabin have been the highlight of Jim’s recent years.
Besides his wife of 61 years, Vesta, Jim is survived by a daughter, Rebecca Ann May, of Hoquiam; a son, James Malcolm “Mac” Yowell, of Hoquiam; a grandson, James Michael “Mike” Yowell, of Hoquiam; his faithful dog “Buddy”; and numerous nephews, nieces and cousins. He was preceded in death by two sisters, Elsie Smith in 2000 and Joyce Peterman in 2005.
A celebration of Jim’s life will be held from 2:00 to 5:00 p.m. on Saturday, June 2, 2012, at the Hoquiam Elk’s Lodge.
A card of condolence with a message may be sent to the family at www.fernhillfuneral.com.
Arrangements were entrusted to Fern Hill Funeral Home, Aberdeen.