James "Jim" Riley Eaton

Army Badge
  • Name: James "Jim" Riley Eaton
  • Location of Birth: Fargo, North Dakota
  • Date of Birth: August 28, 1924
  • Date of Death: March 1, 2006 (81 years old)
  • Parents: Louis Hadley and Laura Edna (Crane) Eaton
  • High School and Class: 1943 - Fargo High School, Fargo, North Dakota
  • College: Radio Class at Moorhead State Teachers' College - Moorhead, Minnesota
    Bachelor of Science degree in mechanical engineering from North Dakota State University in Fargo, North Dakota
  • Highest Rank: CAPT (Captain)
  • Branch: Army
  • Other Branch: United States Army Air Forces
  • Date Sworn In: April 22, 1944 (Enlistment Date)
  • Place Sworn In:
  • Date of Discharge: December 2, 1945 (Discharge Date)
  • Place of Discharge:
  • Military Awards:
    Purple Heart
    Air Medal with 5 Oak Leaf Clusters
    European-African-Middle Eastern Theatre Ribbon with 5 Battle Stars for Air Combat Balkans, Rome-Arno, North Apennines, Po Valley and Southern France.

  • Military Highlights:
    James volunteered to join the Army Air Force. He served 2 1/2 years with 14 months based in Italy as an Air Force navigator. He flew 25 combat missions in B-24 heavy bombers and 43 combat missions in C-47 resupply planes for a total of 68 combat missions. The C-47 missions were both daytime and nighttime missions dropping supplies or landing to pick up partisans in Yugoslavia. Jim served in both the 15th Air Force and the 12th Air Force. He was separated from the Air Force in 1945 with the rank of Captain. Throughout his life, Jim was proud of his service to his country.

  • Wars Involved:
    World War II

  • MIA / POW:

  • Civilian Life:
    Jim was the youngest of four children and grew up in Fargo, North Dakota. After graduating from Fargo High School in the last mid-year class in January, 1943, he took a Radio class at Moorhead State Teacher's College.

    In July 1949, James went to work for the General Electric Company in Schenectady, New York, where he lived for four years. After completing application and sales courses, he worked as a sales engineer for General Electric in Columbus, Ohio (7 years), Erie, Pennsylvania (4 years) and Duluth, Minnesota (21 years), for a total of thirty-six years with General Electric.

    He retired in 1985 and built a house on Deer Lake, north of Grand Rapids, Minnesota.

    Jim was a life member of Disabled American Veterans and Tau Beta Pi, and a member of Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, American Association of Retired Persons, Engineers Club and G. E. Elfun. He was a member of the Methodist Church in each city in which he lived. He loved automobiles, sailing, fishing and all aspects of living on a lake in northern Minnesota. He took a keen interest in financial matters and in monitoring the stock market. He believed in hard work and in doing the right things.

    While still in college, Jim married his high school sweetheart, Joyce Coleman of Fargo, North Dakota, on August 24, 1947.

    He is survived by his wife of fifty-eight years, Joyce; and two children, Nancy and Thomas; a granddaughter, Nancy; a sister, Sarah Dixon, and many nieces and nephews. He was a good and honorable man.

    Jim died at St. Mary's Medical Center in Duluth, Minnesota and is buried in Riverside Cemetery at Fargo, North Dakota. (Plot Southpark Section U)

  • Tribal Affiliation(s):