Dedicated to the Preservation of the
U.S. Air Force Helicopter History
Jim Eugene Hartley, Lt. Colonel, USAF (Retired)July 29, 1931 – November 13, 2018
HARTLEY, Jim Eugene 87, passed away peacefully November 13, 2018 at Kindred Hospital in St. Petersburg, Florida.
Born to Ralph and Goldie Hartley in Tipp City, Ohio July 29, 1931, he graduated from Ohio University in 1954 and was a member of the Beta Theta Phi fraternity.
Jim served in the United States Air Force from 1954-1974 and retired as a Lt. Colonel at MacDill AFB in Florida. He served two tours in Vietnam as a rescue pilot from 1964-1965 and 1971-1972. For his service and valor, Jim was awarded several medals, including the Air Medal and the Distinguished Flying Cross.
During the 1960’s, he was instrumental in the development of Apollo Recovery procedures and helicopter aerial refueling. This was highlighted by piloting the world’s first nonstop Trans-Atlantic helicopter flight from New York City to Paris in 1967. The mission required multiple aerial refuelings and over 33 hours of flight.
After the Air Force, Jim became a realtor and developer. He was a member of the St. Petersburg Yacht Club, the Squires Club of St. Pete and the Quarterback Club of St. Pete. He enjoyed tennis, hunting, and Tampa Bay Bucs football. Jim was also a competitive card player, participating into his 80’s at the annual Las Vegas World Series of Poker tournament.
Jim Hartley is survived by his loving companion, Beverly Smoker; sons, Jim (Teresa) and David (JoAnn); daughters, Sharon Lane and Donna Hartley Cunningham (Miles); four grandsons; five granddaughters; one great-grandson; nine great-granddaughters; and nephews and nieces.
He will be interred at Bay Pines VA Cemetery in Pinellas County, Florida.
Published in the Tampa Bay Times from Nov. 25 to Nov. 26, 2018
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