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May 13th, 2015

Col. James B. Carvey



Col. James B. Carvey

On May 6, the world lost a true patriot, hero, a member of "the greatest generation" and a truly honest and loyal loving family patriarch.

James B. Carvey was born on June 10, 1915, (during WW1) and was the only child of Charles Milburn and Anna (Rosecrans) Carvey in Newburgh, New York. He wrote in his memoirs that he remembers a very happy childhood. He had an artistic talent that his mother nurtured.

Upon graduation from high school, he joined the New York National Guard until he was accepted into West Point Military Academy. He was the illustrator for the West Point annual drawing mostly cartoons. He graduated from The Academy in June of 1939 and was handed his diploma by President Franklin D. Roosevelt

A few weeks later, he married his high school sweetheart and love of his life, Florence Elizabeth Mennerich, at the Cadet Chapel at West Point.

His first assignment was to the 26th division of the 1st Infantry, but in two months his regiment had to leave for 7 month of intensive training in Georgia as it became apparent that Hitler’s Germany was about to take over the world. He embarked on an series of maneuvers in various locations which separated him from his bride. During that time was promoted to 1st Lieutenant in command of Company K. He was able to return to Newburgh for one day in time for the birth of their first child, Joan Elizabeth. The new family moved to Florida in 1942 with the 1st division, but after only 3 months, the Division was secretly moved to Pennsylvania to prepare for deployment to Europe where he was promoted to Captain - battalion operations officer. During his deployment to England, they arrived during German air raid in the Irish Sea. While in England, his second daughter, Lucinda Ann, was born in Newburgh. He did not return to the states for 3 years

Early in 1942, he was assigned as battalion operations officer to lead an advance military unit to England and Scotland for practice on the beaches for WWII. In late October 1942, he and his men left for North Africa and the war. He was in combat in Oran, Tunis, Algeria, Tunisia, Sicily and other countries in that area.

In June of 1943, his battalion returned to England to prepare for the Normandy landings. During the Thanksgiving holiday, the King and Queen of England invited them to Buckingham Palace where he met the two teenage princesses (the present Queen Elizabeth and her sister Princess Ann).

On June 5, 1944, they left Plymouth for the landing at Omaha Beach. As they approached Omaha Beach, their landing craft hit a mine which blew up and sank the craft. Carvey (now a Major) somehow survived the explosion and was in the water about 4 hours before a landing craft from LST494 found him. After a month in a Wales hospital for a back injury, he returned to Europe and rejoined the Ist Division of the Infantry. The regimental surgeon determined that his injury was not ready for further combat and sent him back to a military hospital in England where he was awarded the Purple Heart. His additional awards were the French Croix de Guerre, the Silver Star, the Bronze Star and the Legion of Merit.

His next assignment before the end of the war was at the Pentagon as a briefing officer in the office of the Chief of Staff of the Army . In 1948, his third daughter, Patricia Florence, was born.

After the Pentagon assignment, he was sent to the War College in Ft. Leavenworth, Kansas. A year later, he and his family were transferred to the American Embassy in England for 4 years where his last child, Jacqueline Marie, joined the growing family. They returned to the Pentagon just one week before the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II in 1952.

His next assignment was Ft. Benning, GA, before deployment to Korea in 1955 as a Lt. Colonel.

In 1957, he was assigned to Texas Tech as the Head of Military Science and Tactics for four years. He was responsible for getting the attention of all football fans by initiating the shooting off a cannon every time Texas Tech made a touchdown! In spite of the shock waves, he was promoted to a full Colonel. In 1961, the family was sent to Ankara, Turkey, and then to his last assignment in 1965 at the Presidio of San Francisco.

He retired in 1967 and returned to Lubbock where he earned his masters degree in education. In retirement in Lubbock, he delivered Meals on Wheels for 20 years.

In 1995, "The Colonel" (as they refer to him) moved to Midland and has resided at Manor Park for 20 years. Soon after his arrival, he initiated an annual golf tournament. He rarely missed any of the Midland great grandchildren’s sports, dancing, singing and MCT performances.

He enjoyed traveling, working with boy scouts and most sports that he could play with "his girls"- badminton, tennis, pool, ping-pong, bowling. He was also an avid football fan.

He especially loved to fish and play golf with his friends, his daughters and their families. He also continued with his drawing and painting talents until his hands became too shaky in the last 10 years.

James was a fighter, a brave soldier through and through. He almost reached the age 100 despite

enduring war back injuries, colon cancer, heart surgery and in recent years several age-related ailments.

He was preceded in death by his wife in 1974, his mother in 1946, his father in 1960, grandsons Jonathon James Sossoman in 1990 and Tommy Beaugh in 2014, his brother-in-law Arthur Mennerich in 1994 and former son-in-law Robert Southerland in 2013.

Surviving to cherish his memory are his four daughters and their husbands, Joan Elizabeth Southerland Rice (Douglas) of Midland, Texas; Lucinda Ann Sossoman (Jack) of Topeka, Kansas; Patricia Florence Stark (Mike) of Phoenix, Arizona; and Jacqueline Marie Beaugh (Ray) of Rio Rancho, New Mexico.

Surviving grandchildren are Pamela Southerland Lookabaugh (Andrew) of Midland; Sharla Southerland Hamil (Daniel) of Little Elm, TX; Todd Sossoman and (Stacy) of Topeka, KS; Holly Sossoman Riley of Olathe, Kansas; Tanya Sossoman Valdez (Mario) of Corpus Christi, TX; Nikki Stark and Samantha Stark Townsend (Bill) of Phoenix; and Ann Beaugh Johnson (Shannon) of Portland, Oregon.

Also, great grandchildren Dale Lookabaugh (Nicole) and Brooke Lookabaugh of Midland; Justin Lookabaugh of Dallas; Kayla and Brandon Telshaw of Corpus Christi; Jonathon Sossoman, Zaydan Sossoman, Zandreah Sossoman and Braidan Sossoman of Topeka, KS; Cheyenne and Chase Riley of Olathe, KS; Cynthia, Cassie, Christopher and Zack Conner of Phoenix,; Ryan Johnson of Oregon: Aaron Johnson of New Mexico; and Mathew and Emma Townsend of Phoenix.

Young Great Great Grandsons Nolan James Lookabaugh of Midland and Korbin James Montez of Corpus Christi, TX.

In addition, his sister-in-law Ginny Mennerich of Newburgh, NY and his four Mennerich nephews and their families.

On May 14, our family will lay his body to rest beside our Mother in Peaceful Gardens in Lubbock with full military honors befitting a great and honorable man who served his country and family well.

On June 10, 2015, the 100th anniversary of his birth, we will have a celebration of his life for friends and family at the Chapel in Manor Park at 2pm followed by a reception.

In lieu of flowers, his favorite charities were West Point association of Graduates, St. Judes Children’s Hospital, Sloan Kettering Memorial Cancer Center, M D Anderson Cancer Hospital, Wounded Warriors and Manor Park (to whom we express our greatest appreciation especially the staff at the Great House and Cowden Cottage who cared for him so well and lovingly).

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