James R. Kirton, Jr., affectionately known as “Uncle Buddy”, passed away January 7, 2020 peacefully at his niece’s home in Beebe, Arkansas at the age of 82. He was a very caring person, and had no children, although he did spoil his nephews, nieces and neighbor kids, along with his wife of 53 years, Yasuko Kojima-Kirton. He is preceded in death by his wife, Yasuko, his parents Ouida M. and James R. Kirton, Sr., brother Clarence G. Kirton, brother in law and sister in law from Shimonoseki, Japan.
He was born in Savannah, Georgia and grew up in the Columbus area. He attended St. Bernard Preparatory School in Cullman, Alabama, where he graduated and immediately joined the Air Force. He served in the Air Force for 23 years, including serving in Korea with his brother. He obtained his pilots licenses (Airman) and worked in the Telecommunication Division as a supervisor to become a Senior Master Sergeant before retiring in Fort Worth, Texas. He later worked with Lockheed Martin to obtain three college degrees in Business. Upon retiring, he loved tinkering with autos, home repairs, home improvement, lawn and gardening, like his father did. He enjoyed visits to see his nieces and nephews in Japan. He was highly involved with the Shriners and Scottish Rite of Fort Worth, Texas. He and his wife were supporters of children with disabilities. Together they joined the Blue Lodge, in 2007 they transferred to the Ridglea Lodge 1341, of Forth Worth, where he was active until 2019. He will be dearly missed.
He lived with his niece, Ouida Kirton, great neice Anja Bays, and great nephew Jason Kirton who remained by his side until the end. He is survived by his sister Eleaner Evans-Dolvin, nephews; Akihiko Okada, Clarence Kirton Jr., John Kirton, James Kirton, nieces; Toshiko Nishihara, Ouida Kirton, Elizabeth Vesey, Debra Vesey, step-niece Barbara Jones, and many great nieces and nephews from Japan.
In lieu of flowers, please make a donation to Shriner’s, Scottish Rite, or Wounded Warrior Project. Burial is at Evergreen Memory Gardens in Columbus, Georgia.
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