Jimmy Lincoln Happeny, 86, passed peacefully, surrounded by his family, to enter his eternal reward and meet his loving Savior on June 29, 2019 at the Southern Arizona Veteran’s Hospital in Tucson, Arizona.
Jim was a dedicated husband to his wife Bettye (Kinsey) and the two shared 65 wonderful years of marriage together. He was a loving father to Robert, Sheryl, Joel, Tim, and Janna. To his 11 grandchildren Matthew, Kinsey, Daniel, Stephany, Summer, Kevin, Christopher, Kymberlee, Brandon, Brittany, Bradley and 7 great-grandchildren Wyatt, Logan, Kevin, Ian, Owen, James, and Atlas he was affectionately known as Papa and was eagerly awaiting the arrival of Robert Wesley due in October, 2019.
He was born on February 12, 1933 in Circleville, Ohio to James and Clara Happeny. He was a cherished brother to Marcielle, Ernest, Carl, Carolyn, Geraldine, Larry, Billy, Emmett Ray, Naomi, and Alberta. After an accident left his father with a broken back, Jim as the oldest boy in the family dropped out of high school midway thru 10th grade and shouldered the responsibility of working full time to help support his family.
He was preceded in death by his parents, James and Clara, his sister Marcielle and his brothers Ernest, Carl, Larry and Emmett Ray as well as his grandson, Christopher.
He joined the US Air Force in June 1952 and while attending technical training to be an engine mechanic at Sheppard AFB near Wichita Falls, TX he met his beloved Bettye at the Wichita Falls Church of the Nazarene. They were wed on June 11, 1954 and Bettye joined him where he was already stationed at Travis AFB near Fairfield, CA. All 5 of their children were born while they lived there.
He spent the next 36 years working for and supporting the military as an aircraft mechanic and maintenance supervisor in both active duty and civil service roles. In 1972 he was assigned to the Military Aircraft Storage and Disposition Center (MASDC) later redesignated as the Aerospace Maintenance and Regeneration Center (AMARC), unofficially known as the “aircraft boneyard” at Davis-Monthan AFB near Tucson, AZ. He retired from there in 1988.
After retirement he spent the next several years serving others as a school janitor, apartment complex maintenance man, car mechanic, landscaper, and general all-around fixer-upper go-to guy.
With Bettye by his side as his “better half” as he liked to call her, he spent his life as a dedicated and faithful Christian, serving his God by serving others. He was a founding member of the First Church of the Nazarene in Fairfield, CA where he helped build, maintain and clean that facility. He continued to help upgrade, modify, expand, maintain, and clean at Catalina Vista and Central Church of the Nazarene in Tucson, Arizona. An oft repeated phrase in his simple, yet moving and straight-forward prayers was “let go and let God’. To his final breaths he prayed that others would come to know his Jesus.
Although not a sports or athletics enthusiast as a young man, once he started having kids he decided he had better remedy that deficiency and in doing so became a fan of the recently relocated San Francisco Giants. He passed on his love of the game and the team to all of his children and even found time to coach all 3 of his sons in Little League baseball. He enjoyed watching all of his children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren in whatever endeavor they were involved in and joined in whenever possible.
He enjoyed watching old TV shows like Gunsmoke, Mission Impossible, and Bonanza and loved western movies featuring legends like Roy Rogers, John Wayne, Don Collier and Walter Brennan. He loved crossword puzzles, jigsaw puzzles, and board games.
He loved to joke and tell stories about growing up in Central Ohio with his big family, or taking road trips with a church youth group, or relating a particular maintenance problem he had on an aircraft, or how one of his grandkids was doing in sports, school, or music. Whatever the subject he had a story for it.
In recent years with his failing health, he became a fixture out on the front porch swing watching the neighborhood happenings, or greeting the mailman, or talking with the neighbors.
He touched the lives of so many people in so many different ways that it is impossible to completely chronicle or describe his life and the impact he had in these few words. He leaves a huge void and he will be missed, but his legacy lives on in the lives of his friends and family.
A memorial service and celebration of his life will be held at 6 pm at Central Church of the Nazarene, 404 S Columbus Blvd, Tucson, AZ 85711. A reception at the church will follow the service. All are welcome.
In lieu of flowers, the family invites you to donate to Nazarene Compassionate Ministries Unsponsored Children’s Fund. Mail checks to: GTS, P.O. Box 843116, Kansas City, MO 64184. Write “Jimmy Happeny Memorial Fund ACM 1851” in the memo.