Lt. Col. James Kyle Riddle Jr., of Menifee, CA., was saluted, told he was cleared to go, chose his runway, and left his home draped with the American Flag in the evening of April 10, 2012.  Jim was born in Grassy Creek Township, Spruce Pine, North Carolina, to J.K. Riddle Sr. and Grace Lee Bailey Riddle, May 24, 1924. He and his younger brother Bob grew up in the country hills of Spruce Pine. As a young boy he saw a plane flying overhead and was certain he would one day be a pilot. He graduated from Harris High and after the bombing of Pearl Harbor, enlisted in the Army Air Force at Wright Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton, Ohio.

He was a WWII Veteran Bomber Pilot, member of the 58th Wing, 40th Bomb Group stationed in India and later in Tinian. He served his beloved country for 28 years in the Air Force and Reserves before retiring. He was a member of the 302nd Troop Carrier Wing flying the C-119 at Clinton County Reserve Base. He later transitioned to Rickenbacker as Squadron Commander of the 356th Tactical Airlift Wing flying C-123.


Jim was Past President of the Buckeye Wing Association.

He owned a hardware and later worked for Morris Bean and Co. as Superintendent of Sales helping to design aluminum castings for Boeing and the Aero Space program. He worked with Bell Telephone and was instrumental in the laying the Transatlantic Cable. Always trying to better himself, he continued education courses in his field. He had a passion for restoration, was a Member of the Heritage Commission of South Charleston, Ohio, and worked tirelessly with his best friend Bob Vogel to restore the Opera House and Depot. Jim was an accomplished pilot instructor, marksman, swimmer, and scuba diver.

Jim met his third wife Patty on a blind date and proposed on the first date. He and Patty golfed at Menifee Lakes Country Club, exercised at the fitness center and attempted to play racquetball until he became ill. He was part owner and member of the Flying Arrows. He and Patty flew the Piper Arrow around the United States.


He was preceded in his passing by former wives, Sara Louise Shoemaker and Sheila Margaret Thon Dickerson. Jim was a conservative, soft spoken and kind man and “Dad” to Kathy Bell, Connie (Carl ) Gilbert, Mary Harris, Julie (Michael) O’Loughlin. John (Kathy) Riddle and James (Karen) Riddle. There are 11 grandchildren and 6 great grandchildren who loved and admired him. This amazing, giving man was:    “The proudest American They Have Ever Known”.

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