James Clarence Horsley, Jr. (Jim)
September 26, 1927 - November 20, 2019 Age 92
Jim died peacefully at his home in Fort Walton Beach, Florida, Wednesday, November 20, 2019. He was born in Albany, Georgia, the only child of James C. Horsley, Sr. and Jessie Merle Bell. Unlike most of us, Jim knew exactly what he wanted to do with his life from a very early age and that was to fly airplanes. After graduating from Franklin High School, Franklin, North Carolina, Jim worked several jobs in order to pay for flying lessons and then joined the Army on his 17th birthday. After short stints at Clemson College and Amherst College, Jim received an appointment to the United States Military Academy at West Point, New York, where he graduated in the Class of 1950. Upon receiving his commission, Jim joined the U.S. Air Force and was the first of 70 student pilots in his class to fly solo. Jim married the love of his life, Carol Jean Tate on July 28, 1957, in Osyka, Mississippi. He served as a fighter pilot and test pilot, flying over 50 different airplanes throughout his career, which also included combat tours in Korea, flying P-51 Mustangs, and Vietnam flying F-100 Super Sabres, earning numerous medals and awards for his service.
After retirement from the Air Force, Jim worked in Real Estate starting his own company, Playground Realty Center, and later partnered with his son, Steve, to open two Subway Sandwich Shops in Huntsville, Alabama.
Jim always loved water skiing, playing golf, and spending time with his family. He was a member of First Baptist Church, Fort Walton Beach, where he regularly attended and served as a Sunday School teacher for a time. He also served as treasurer for his local Homeowners Association.
Jim is survived by his wife, Carol, his daughter, Sally Horsley Spencer and son-in-law, Chris, of Cary, North Carolina, his son, Steve Horsley, of Fort Walton Beach, and his granddaughter, Allison Elizabeth Spencer, of Fairfax, Virginia. He was preceded in death by his parents and a son, David Tate Horsley.
Visitation will be held Tuesday, December 3, 2019 at 10 AM at First Baptist Church, Fort Walton Beach, with the service to follow at 11 AM. Interment will be at 2 PM at Barrancas National Cemetery, Pensacola.
The family would like to express a sincere appreciation to his wonderful and loving caregivers that helped care for Jim at home during his extended battle with Parkinson's Disease. You gave him a quality of life that he would not have had otherwise and we are forever grateful.
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