OBITUARY

James W. Heard

April 1, 1925May 3, 2021
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In loving memory of James W. Heard April 1, 1925 – May 3, 2021

James W. Heard passed away peacefully at his home in Jacksonville on May 3, 2021, surrounded by his family. He was 96. Jim, or “Captain Heard” as he was often called by former work colleagues, was widely admired for his life of service to his country and his community, from his days in the Army Air Corps during World War II, to his long career in law enforcement. He was born on April 1, 1925, to James S. Heard (“Pa Jay”) and Eliza Heard (“Ma ‘Liza”), in Bainbridge, Georgia. Growing up on a farm during the Great Depression as the youngest of nine children, he often said that until he was a teenager, he thought the only parts of a chicken were the neck and the feet (the only parts he ever got to eat).

Jim graduated from West Bainbridge High School in 1941, just before the country was drawn into World War II. He volunteered to join the Army Air Corps soon after he turned 18, and served as a tail gunner in a B-17 bomber. While stationed in England in 1945, he flew 26 bombing missions over Germany and other enemy territory. Like most men of his generation, he was modest about his contribution to the war effort, and would talk about it only when asked. He waited until his last months to tell his family how he almost lost his life, when German flak blew a hole through his plane right where his head would normally have been. He was saved only because he was leaning over to look out the bottom of the plane to see if the bombs hit their target.

After the war, Jim moved to Jacksonville, where he joined the police force and soon after met the love of his life, Josephine Windham, known to friends and family as “Jo.” They married in 1953, and had two children, James (also Jim) and Holly. He was devoted to his family, often working two jobs when his children were young to make ends meet, and later taking care of Jo during a long illness until her untimely death in 1990.

He spent his whole career in law enforcement, starting out as a patrolman for the Jacksonville Police Department (which later became the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office), and climbing steadily through the ranks until he retired as a captain — and head of the Vice Squad — in 1972. He then became head of security for the Charleston, South Carolina, Naval Shipyard, before returning to Jacksonville to become Security Director for the Duval County School Board, where he worked until his final retirement in 1992.

Jim had a passion for gardening, planting and harvesting wonderful fresh vegetables until his late 80s. He was also a very animated sports fan, yelling and cursing at football games on TV to the extent that one of Jo’s friends found watching him more entertaining than the game. Later in his life, he became an active member and Deacon of Franklin Street Baptist Church, where he found both spiritual succor and a wonderful community of friends. Jim will be remembered for his devotion to his family, service to his country and community, kindness, and sense of humor.

He is survived by his son James A. Heard (Esther Yip), his daughter Holly Bond (Sam), and his granddaughters Eliza Williams and Caroline Williams. In addition to Jo, Jim was preceded in death by his grandson Andrew Heard, his second wife, Marcelyn Heard, and his third wife Mildred Pope Heard.

Services

  • Visitation

    Monday, May 10, 2021

  • Celebration of Life

    Monday, May 10, 2021

  • Committal Service

    Monday, May 10, 2021

Memories

James W. Heard

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Pat Adams

May 8, 2021

I have so many wonderful memories of Jim, I remember all the fun days we spent together at the lake with our children. Always felt Jimmy and Holly were like my own children as they grow up together. Jo and I worked so closely together at Southside Estates elementary school for our children and Jim was always there for me when I needed him. I consider them very good friends and I will cherish the last dance I had with Jim at his birthday party. I am so blessed to have known Jim and to have these fond memories!! My love, thoughts and prayers to the family! I am always here for all of you if you need me!! Love always, Pat

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