JAMES PADGETT James Phillip Padgett, 87 passed away on 16 August 2019 in Las Vegas Nevada from kidney failure. Jim was born 30 May 1932 to Sidney Danel and Alpine (Kirchhaine) Padgett in Lake Butler Florida. Jim was a 1955 graduate from the University of Florida and received his master's degrees from Golden Gate University while in the military. Jim retired from the U.S. Air Force after 26 years having obtained the rank of Lt Col and served as a navigator/Electronic Warfare Officer (EWO) flying reconnaissance aboard an RB-50, RB-66, and EB-57E Canberra and his greatest love the F-105 Thunderchief as a Wild Weasel EWO. He served during the Vietnam War and was held as a POW in Hanoi. Among his medals is the Silver Star, Distinguished Flying Cross, Air Medal, and Purple Heart. He was a member of the NAM-POW's, Society of Wild Weasels, and Red River Valley Association. Jim loved the Air Force and enjoyed and respected every pilot that he flew with. After retiring from the Air Force Jim began another career working at Edwards Air Force Base in California as an Electronic Warfare Systems Analyst with the B-1 project. He retired again in 2007. Family has always been number one in his life. Jim had a generous heart and loved his friends like they were family. He enjoyed watching sports, especially his Florida Gators and looked forward every Spring to visiting Cedar Key Florida and to hunting in Northern Nevada in the Fall. In addition to his parents he was preceded in death by his brother Sidney Danel Padgett (Jackie), sisters Alba Jean Coburn (Henry), and Patricia Padgett Tileston, and grandson Connor Bartlett. Jim is survived by his loving wife of 54 years, Grace Baker Padgett, one son James Padgett, II (Michele); and three daughters, Stephanie Suriano (Rudy), Jacqueline Arnold (Will,) all of Las Vegas and Katherine Bartlett (Eric) of Destin Florida. He also leaves behind 10 grandchildren, one great grandson, nephews, and great nieces and nephews. A Memorial Service and burial with full military honors will be held on Thursday 24 October at 2PM at the Southern Nevada Veterans Memorial Cemetery, in Boulder City Nevada. A celebration of life will follow at the home of James and Michele Padgett in Las Vegas. In lieu of flowers contributions may be made to The National League of POW/MIA Families, 5673 Columbia Pike, Ste 100, Falls Church VA 22041.
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Published in Las Vegas Review-Journal on Oct. 6, 2019.