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Taps: James Ashford

April 18, 2014

  click on photographs to enlarge

Retiree News received word of the passing of Colonel James R. Ashford, retired commander of the then 154th Fighter Group. Colonel Ashford was 90 years old and passed on April 9, 2014.  Colonel Ashford was a Korean War veteran who flew F-86s on active duty and later with the Hawai‘i Air National Guard.

His obituary posted on the Farnstrom Mortuary (Independence, Oregon) website reads:

Colonel James R. Ashford – July 13, 1923 – April 9, 2014

Colonel James R. Ashford, 90, of Independence, died peacefully at home, surrounded by his loving family, on April 9.

He was born in Honolulu, Hawaii on July 13, 1923 to Huron and Lillian Ashford, the second of three boys.

Jim grew up in Honolulu and graduated from Punahou High School in 1941.

In World War II, he served as a fighter pilot in the Ninth Air Force in Europe. He attained the rank of Captain and was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross and several Air Medals for his service. He was a member of the Hawaii Air National Guard and a jet pilot for 26 years. Jim retired as a Colonel and the Commander of the Hawaii Air National Guard in 1978.

Jim has been an active volunteer; in the jointly sponsored AARP/IRS Tax Counseling Program at the Monmouth Senior Center; the Evergreen Air Museum in McMinnville; and at the Bishop Museum Planetarium in Hawaii.

Jim met Anne Landon, a Navy Wave, during the war and they married on January 5, 1946. They raised three daughters and spent much of their leisure time deep sea fishing in Hawaii.

After Anne’s death in 2003, Jim moved to Independence to pursue his passion in flying and he built three experimental airplanes. He enjoyed rich friendships and the comraderie of living in an airpark.

Jim is survived by his daughters ; Carol (Tim) Brown; Anne Ashford; and Joan (Des) Wellsmore, 7 grandchildren and 5 great-grandchildren (and twins on the way).

A celebration of his life will be held on Saturday, April 26th at 3:00pm in his hangar at 724 Cessna St; Independence, OR.

In lieu of flowers contributions may be made to the Friends of the Independence Public Library. For photos, memories and on-line condolences, please visit Jim’s memorial website at


The website states that his interment will be at Oahu Cemetery, 2162 Nuuanu Ave, but provides no date.

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