James Joseph Heston
Jan. 29, 1921 – October 2, 2017
After a long life of service to the country, community and family he loved, James Joseph Heston passed peacefully from this world into the next earlier this week. Known as Jim to his friends and family, he died Monday near his home in the Northern Neck of Virginia following complications from a stroke. He was 96.
A World War II veteran, longtime federal government employee and community volunteer, Jim was recognized by leaders and colleagues for his hard work and dedication on behalf of his fellow Americans. He was awarded the Meritorious Civilian Service and Exceptional Civilian Service awards, the highest honors granted civilians by the Secretary of the U.S. Air Force.
Born in Philadelphia in 1921, Jim attended public schools and went on to earn an engineering degree from Temple University. He later completed programs at the Southwestern Institute of Technology in Oklahoma, Department of Defense Computer Institute in Washington, D.C., and Harvard University Graduate School of Business Administration.
Jim’s career in public service began with a job at the Frankford Arsenal in Philadelphia in 1941. Two years later, he joined the U.S. Army Air Corps and served for the duration of World War II with the Ninth Troop Command in the European Theater of Operations. During his service with the First Allied Airborne Army, he helped the French Resistance fight the Nazi German occupation and collaborationist Vichy régime.
After the war, Jim returned to Philadelphia and worked for the Ordnance Procurement District until 1955, when he was transferred to the Pentagon. Once in Washington, D.C., he worked his way up to deputy chief for logistics policy and procedures at Headquarters, U.S. Air Force.
Jim retired in 1974 to a country home on the Yeocomico River in Virginia, but he still felt the call to serve his community. He accepted the role of county commissioner for Westmoreland County, a position he held for five years until his second retirement.
An active volunteer during his career and retirement, Jim served on a variety of advisory boards and organizations at the state and local level. He was a member of the Virginia Commission on Local Government, Governor’s Economic Development Advisory Council, Governor’s Area Manpower Planning Council, Redistricting Committee for Westmoreland County, Westmoreland County Transportation Safety Commission, Westmoreland County Planning Commission and the Northern Neck Planning District Commission. He served in volunteer and employee roles for the Pentagon Federal Credit Union and the Bank of Lancaster Advisory Board. He also volunteered his time and talent to the Lee Boulevard Heights Citizens Association, Boy Scouts of America and the Westmoreland County Republican Party.
Jim was married for 47 years to the former Marie Evelyn Mitchell, who passed away in 1990. He is survived by his daughter, Evelyn Marie Embry, whose husband Bill passed in 2009; son James Joseph Heston, Jr. and his wife Nancy; and a sister, Helen (Heston) Gheen. Jim has four grandchildren, Stephanie Embry, Grant J. Heston, Megan Embry and James Joseph Heston, III; and three great-grandchildren, Emmalie Knoll, Brock Heston and Molly Heston.
A memorial graveside service will be held 1:00 p.m. on Saturday, October 7, 2017 at Carmel United Methodist Church, Kinsale, VA
In lieu of flowers, the family asks that you remember Jim with a donation to the American Red Cross to assist victims of the recent hurricanes.