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Col. James Hiteshew

PIKEVILLE -- Colonel James Edward Hiteshew, an American patriot, warrior, and hero, died Tuesday at 75 years of age while a patient at Wayne Memorial Hospital.

He was retired from the United States Air Force after 27 years of service with more than 5000 flying hours and more than 250 hours in combat. Known as "Mumbles" he qualified in numerous aircraft, including the B-52, B-47, F-100, and F-105. After 74 missions over North Viet Nam, he was shot down and remained a prisoner of war for one week short of six years. The United States of America awarded him the Silver Star, the Distinguished Flying Cross, the Bronze Star of Valor, the Legion of Merit, the Purple Heart and more than seven Air Medals.

After retirement from the Air Force, Colonel Hiteshew started the Air Force Junior ROTC Detachment at Eastern Wayne High School. His unique teaching style and sense of humor developed this detachment into one of the "showcase" detachments in the Southeast region.

Colonel Hiteshew was born in Jackson's Mill, West Virginia, and was married to his high school sweetheart, the late Billie C. Hiteshew for 48 years before she died in 2001.

Preceded in death by his son Michael E. Hiteshew, he is survived by his daughter, Susan, and grandsons, Michael and David Davis, of Herndon, Virginia.

He was an active member in St. Joseph United Methodist Church, the Order of Daedalians, the Quiet Birdmen, the River Rats, the Nam POWs, as well as many other organizations.

Funeral services will be held Friday at 2 p.m. at Seymour Funeral Home Chapel with Rev. Brian Huffman and Rev. Wayne Hicks officiating. Burial will follow in Evergreen Memorial Cemetery with full military honors.

The family will receive friends tonight and Thursday from 6 until 8 p.m. at Seymour Funeral Home and other times at his residence, 5296 Hwy. 117 North, Pikeville.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to St. Joseph United Methodist Church, 202 W. Church Street, Pikeville, N.C., 27863.

Published in Obituaries on February 8, 2006 2:13 PM