American Veteran 04

James "Jim" Joseph Wasko

January 17, 1939 ~ December 15, 2023 (age 84) 84 Years Old

James "Jim" Wasko Obituary

  James (Jim) Joseph Wasko, age 84, passed away on December 15, 2023, in Crestview, Florida. He was born January 17, 1939, in Albia, Iowa to Joe and Elizabeth Wasko and was the fourth of ten siblings. Jim graduated from Albia High School in 1956 and worked at a feed store in town until he was old enough to enlist in the Air Force and “see the world.” While stationed at Tinker Air Force Base in Oklahoma City, he met Carrol, the love of his life. They married on June 15, 1963, and he always said it was love at first sight. While serving in the Air Force as a Flight Engineer, Jim traveled all over the world, served a tour in Vietnam, and flew many aircrafts, including C118s, C123s, and C130s, on countless missions. During his career, he spent over an entire year in the air, logging well over 8,800 hours of flight time. After a distinguished twenty-one years of service, he retired on April 30, 1979, as a Master Sergeant. After retiring from the Air Force, Jim moved his family to Alma, Arkansas where he purchased some land and built the family home. He began a second career with Norton-Alcoa in Fort Smith, Arkansas, where he worked fifteen years and retired at the age of 55 as a Maintenance Supervisor. After his second retirement, Jim and Carrol sold their home, packed up, stored their belongings, and took off in their motorhome to see the United States. They traveled full time for over ten years and visited family, friends, and all kinds of places. They enjoyed being “snowbirds” and spent their winters in their motorhome in southern Florida. In 2005, after many years of traveling, they purchased a home in Crestview, Florida. They were members of Our Lady of Victory Catholic Church, and Jim was a lifetime member of the Knights of Columbus. Jim was a loving, jovial character who was a lot of fun to be around. He had many talents and enjoyed telling stories, making jokes, tap-dancing, singing to his grandchildren, and playing the guitar, banjo, and harmonica. He loved photographing things that interested him, especially his family, children, and grandchildren. He would often spend hours looking at the photos he had taken and reminiscing. He dearly loved his children and was overjoyed with excitement each time another grandchild was born. He looked forward to family beach vacations and was famous for cooking breakfast (the perfect over-easy eggs) for the entire family early each morning. After all, he always said, “you can’t hoot with the owls and then soar with the eagles.” His grandchildren will always remember him for collecting buckets of seashells and sand dollars throughout the year to spread on the beach so that they could experience amazing shell hunting adventures. Jim was preceded in death by an infant brother, his mother Elizabeth Antol Wasko, father Joe L. Wasko, sister Liz Wasko Gottner, brother-in-law Jerry Gottner, and sister Mary Wasko Hammen. He is survived by his wife of 60 years, Carrol (Reynolds) Wasko and their three children: son Steve (Cathy) Wasko of Mountainburg, Arkansas, daughter Sheila (Wesley) Wilcox of Ocala, Florida, and daughter CoLette (James) Branscum of Perryville, Arkansas; three brothers: Mike (Mary Joanne) Wasko of Glenwood, Iowa, Dan (Gerry) Wasko of Des Moines, Iowa, and Don (Mary Jo) Wasko of Georgetown, Indiana; three sisters: Carol (Steve) Davis of Des Moines, Iowa, Fran (Mike) Munday of Nashville, Tennessee, and Eyleen (Ozzie) Wilson of Loveland, Colorado; brother-in-law: Keith Hammen; and numerous nieces and nephews. He was also “Papa” to eight grandchildren: Justin (Ashlon) Wasko, Courtney (Tanner) Huck, John (Kristen) Wilcox, Holden Branscum, Joe Wilcox, Garrison Branscum, Jacob Wilcox, and Avery Branscum; and one great-grandchild: Jack Wasko. A short visitation will be held at 9:30 a.m. prior to the funeral service on Thursday, January 4, 2023, at 10:30 a.m. at Whitehurst Powell Funeral Home in Crestview, Florida. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that memorials be made to Saint Jude Research Hospital (https://www.stjude.org/donate/donate-to-st-jude.html), the Paralyzed Veterans Association (https://secure.pva.org/PVA/lasting-change-paralyzed-veterans), or the Disabled Veterans Association (https://help.dav.org/page/52586/donate/1?locale=en-US).

Arrangements are entrusted to Whitehurst Powell Funeral Home in Crestview. Guest book and condolences are available online at www.whitehurstpowellfuneralhome.com

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Services

Visitation
Thursday
January 4, 2024

9:30 AM to 10:30 AM
Whitehurst Powell Funeral Home
436 West James Lee Blvd.
Crestview, FL 32536

Funeral Service
Thursday
January 4, 2024

10:30 AM
Whitehurst Powell Funeral Home
436 West James Lee Blvd.
Crestview, FL 32536

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