James Harold Florence
May 12, 1927 - June 24, 2021
James Harold Florence, Jim, 94, passed away peacefully at Kootenai Medical Center, in Coeur D Alene, ID on the evening of June 24th 2021. Son, Jim Florence, Jr. and daughter, Connie Thompson were at his side.
Jim was born on May 12, 1927 to Ista Grace and Luther Sebastian Florence in McAllister, OK. He was the last surviving member of a family of eleven children. The family was caught in the throes of “The Great Depression” and “Dust Bowl” conditions severely impacting Oklahoma. A decision was made to relocate the family to the Central Valley of California, settling in the city of Modesto in the Thirties.
As with many young men of his generation, Jim enlisted in the U.S. Navy at the age of 17 to serve his country during World War II. He was stationed aboard the USS Napa (APA 157) a Haskell class attack transport ship assigned to Transport Division 44, Amphibious Forces, Pacific Fleet. While aboard the USS Napa, Jim participated in the Battle of Iwo Jima, Operation Beleaguer, sailed to the ports of Tsingtao, Hai Phong, Takao, Manila, Yokohama and Okinawa before returning to California. He was honorably discharged, Seaman First Class in 1946.
As a World War II Veteran, he was honored to participate in the 2013 Inland Northwest Veterans Honor Flight to Washington, DC to visit those Memorials dedicated to honoring their service and sacrifices.
While he was on leave from the Navy, he met the “Love of his Life”, Mary Inez, at his sister, Frances’ home in Southern California. Jim and Mary Inez were married in Modesto, CA on September 17, 1946. The couple celebrated 67 years of marriage prior to Mary Inez’s passing in December 2013.
Jim and Mary Inez raised their three children primarily in the Greater San Francisco Bay Area. He worked tirelessly, coached Little League Baseball, provided three teenagers driving lessons and shared his love for the outdoors.
Jim and Inez moved to Coeur D Alene, ID in the mid eighties upon Jim’s retirement as an Engineer from ABC Television, San Francisco, CA. Among his many memorable work experiences, his favorite was participating in the ABC Wide World of Sports coverage of the 1976 Summer Olympics, Montreal, Quebec, Canada. This assignment earned Jim an Emmy Award.
In his retirement, he thoroughly enjoyed all the outdoor activities Coeur D Alene provided; hunting fishing, camping and boating. He was a regular at the Senior Citizen Center, enjoying the camaraderie and especially, a friendly game of Pool. He gave back to his community by picking up and delivering groceries to the Food Bank. Later in life, he was an avid viewer of Christian Television, NFL Football, Major League Baseball and a voracious reader of Western Novels.
Jim is survived by his daughters, Connie (David) Thompson, Lethbridge, AB, Canada; Frances (Brad) La Verne, Miles City, MT and son, Jim (Barbara) Florence, Coeur D Alene, ID. He had 9 grandchildren, Andrea, Erika, Michael, Tony, Jennifer, Elizabeth, Joshua, Rebecca and Jesse, 15 great grandchildren and numerous nieces and nephews.
We will celebrate Jim’s life on Friday, July 16, 2021 at 10 AM; English Funeral Chapel, Coeur D Alene, ID; Inurnment to follow at Riverview Cemetery.
Memorial donations may be made to a Veterans charity (i.e. Wounded Warrior Project, Fisher House Foundation, Gary Sinise Foundation, or Inland Northwest Honor Flight)
“And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.” (Revelation 21:4)