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Jim Calmes passed away on July 17, 2012, fighting a good fight to the end from complications of his lung cancer resulting in leukemia, with his family at his side.
He was one of our nationâ€™s heroes, a Air Force veteran, but to his family, he was so much more. He was the father and husband that are the backbone of our country, a man to look up to. He will be so missed. God got a good one!
Jim was born at Pearl River, La., on Jan. 7, 1942, to Charles and Ella Calmes.
Jim spent, as he was fond of saying, 26 years and 28 days (but whoâ€™s counting) in the Air Force as a survival instructor, teaching all-terrain survival at Stead Air Force Base in Nevada; teaching instructors at Fairchild Air Force Base in Washington (where he met the love of his life, Norma); jungle survival at Clark Air Force Base in the Phillipines (where he found Melinda under a rice paddy) where, as part of his duties, taught in-country survival in Vietnam; teaching water survival at Homestead Air Force Base (where Dana swam into our hearts); and then back to Fairchild AFB, teaching survival scenarios for the rest of his career.
Jim retired as a senior master sergeant.
Jim graduated from Hammond High School in Lousiana in 1960, played a year of football on scholarship at Southeastern University then joined the Air Force. He earned his bachelorâ€™s degree in sociology from Park College in Kansas City during his time in the service.
In retirement, Jim enjoyed bowling, hunting, fishing and attending all of the activities that his grandsons were involved in. He tried to make every game!
Jim is survived by his wife of 45 years, Norma Krick Calmes; two daughters, Melinda Eskue and Dana (Tom) Wichman; three grandsons, Aaron and Austin Eskue and Brent Miller; one sister, Linda Calmes; two brothers-in-law, Wayne Talley and Bob Krick; two sisters-in-law, Evelyn Calmes and Leona Krick; and many other loved family members.
He was preceded in death by his sister, Mary Calmes Talley; one brother, T.C. Calmes; one brother-in-law, Kay Krick; and one sister-in-law, Roberta Krick.
A service was held on Aug. 4, 2012, at Christâ€™s Church, W5804 Herman Road, Deer Park, with Pastor Sonny Clemmer presiding. A potluck will follow the service at the Deer Park Eagles Lodge, W12 South Ave.
We are grateful to all the health care professionals and the Veteransâ€™ Administration Medical Center for all the care given for medical conditions that resulted from his exposure to Agent Orange and to the Inland Northwest Blood Bank and their volunteer donors who made such a difference at the end of Jimâ€™s life.
In lieu of flowers, please donate in Jimâ€™s name at the Inland Northwest Blood Bank online at www.inbc2org/Get_involved/Current_Fundraising_Efforts.html or make donations to the Community Living Center at the Spokane VA Medical Center, 4815 N. Assembly St., Spokane, WA 99205.