James Attaway

Baker City, 1921-2017

Lt. Col. James A. Attaway, USAF, Ret., 96, of Baker City, died Dec. 18, 2017, at Boise.

A graveside service will take place this spring at Mount Hope Cemetery.

Jim was born on May 29, 1921, at Phoenix, Arizona, to Albert and Bessie (McCulley) Attaway. He attended high school in Bellflower, California, and graduated in 1939. He then attended Fullerton Junior College where he received cadet pilot training, graduating in 1941. Jim also obtained pilot training for B-24s and B-17s in the United States Air Force.

Jim married Rosemary Cravens on Aug. 17, 1945, at Detroit.

On Oct. 30, 1941, at age 20, Jim became an official Air Force pilot. He flew B-17s over Europe. His B-17 was named “Black Heart.” Jim flew 25 missions in World War II. On one of his missions, Jim and his crew were to drop bombs on a target. When they got to their target, for some unknown reason, they were alone without backup. They dropped the bombs, hit their target and headed home. They encountered several German fighter planes and two of their engines were shot out and a waist gunner was killed. When they landed safely back at the base, they realized how lucky they were to be alive. On examination of the plane Jim realized he had a 20 millimeter shell sitting under his seat, inches from taking his life. Also, there was an explosive device lodged beneath the plane that failed to explode. Jim’s family thanks him for his service and thanks God for protecting him.

Jim retired from the Air Force after 20 years of service. He then worked for the FAA Flight Service at Baker Airport and retired after 20 years.

He loved golf and played with the guys twice per week until he was 90 years old. He was a member of the Nazarene Church, Elks Lodge, American Legion and Veterans of Foreign Wars.

Jim is survived by his daughters, Cathy Blankinship and Susan Cassidy, both of Baker City; his son, John Attaway of Boise; 6 grandchildren and 15 great-grandchildren.

He was preceded in death by his parents, Albert and Bessie Attaway; his wife, Rosemary C. Attaway; and his son, Danny S. Attaway.

Memorial contributions may be made to the Rachel Pregnancy Center of Baker City through Gray’s West & Co. Pioneer Chapel, 1500 Dewey Ave., Baker City, OR 97814.

To light a candle in memory of Jim, or to leave a condolence for the family, go to www.grayswestco.com.