James Christopher Pool, Jr., son of James Christopher and Elizabeth Routh Pool, was born July 29, 1945, in Ogbomosho, Nigeria where his parents were Baptist missionaries (since 1935) and attended school there (including Newton Memorial Academy) until age 14 when he attended Barret Jr. High School and Atherton High School ('62) in Louisville, Ky. He graduated with a B.A. (journalism major) from Baylor University in 1966. He enlisted in the Air Force where he was commissioned as an officer and became a pilot in Vietnam flying some 400 combat missions. In 2000 he wrote "The Phantom Colonel," a memoir of his time as a pilot of an AC-47 Dragonship named "Spooky" in the 4th Air Commando Squadron stationed at Phu Cat, RVN. In 1972, while stationed at Lockbourne AFB in Columbus, OH, his only child, James E. Pool was born. For many years Jim flew Boeing 707 refueling aircraft; his last assignment was that of maintenance squadron commander at Hickam AFB, Honolulu, HI. Before leaving the Air Force in 1977 with a rank of Captain, Jim earned a Master of Arts, Industrial Management/Supervision degree from Central Michigan University. In 1977 Jim joined a local Baptist church in Pearl Harbor, became a deacon and Sunday School teacher; he even did some preaching. Jim traveled to Winchester, KY in 1977 to attend Bob & Mary Beth's wedding. In 1979 he tested the entrepreneurial waters by starting an airline cargo business in Hawaii (APEX - Air Parcel Express Hawaii Inc). At the company's peak in 1981, he had working for him three dispatchers on round-the-clock shifts, two delivery persons, and a full time salesman. Jim did much of the local flying himself. Competition from FedEx, Airborne, and Purolator, however, forced Jim to shut down the company in the summer of 1984. Jim traveled to San Angelo to see his mother and Frances in 1984 and also visited the Arnetts in Louisville. Back in Hawaii in 1984 he took a job with Kelly Services and learned word processing while hoping for a job as a dispatcher for South Pacific Island Airways. Whether that job materialized is unknown, and last letter home that Jim saved was Feb 1985. In 1988 he married a former Baylor classmate whom he mentioned having met up with in a letter maile home in 1978; the marriage ended in 1990. At some point Jim became a cab driver and lived in a converted warehouse on Oahu for several more years. In the spring of 1994 Jim left Hawaii, flew to San Francisco, took a bus to see his son graduate from West Point in NY, and eventually moved "permanently" to San Angelo, TX where he helped take care of his mother Elizabeth until she died in Nov 2000, age 91. He developed an independent mortgage business called "Jim Pool Funding" for a few years and called himself "Cowboy Bob;" during this time he enjoyed a business association with his cousin, "Dolly" McEvoy. In San Angelo he attended the First Baptist Church of San Angelo and served as a deacon. He organized his parents' missionary memorabilia of some 30 years and in the fall of 2011 (with help of John David McGee and Stinson Humphrey) had most of items shipped to Duke University archives (http://library.duke.edu/rubenstein/findingaids/poolfamily/). After Elizabeth's death in 2000, Jim continued to live in San Angelo a year, driving a cab. He then moved to Phoenix and, while experiencing "Me and Bobby McGee" freedom, drove a taxi there as well and was an angel of mercy to scores of destitute persons (like himself.) Vision problems caused him to give up driving, and he lived as a homeless person for several months living on a bench behind the public library until Clay and Todd Routh found him a job at the Lago Vista resort near Austin in 2004. Roger Congdon and Rob Routh were instrumental in helping Jim get VA benefits, and about 2007 he moved to the Tutor & Ellis Personal Care Home in Temple, TX, for a few years before moving into an apartment in 2010. While at the assisted living facility he published a quarterly journal "Tutor Tales" in which he wrote biographical and human interest stories about the residents. In 2007 Jim flew to China and married Liufen, hoping they'd be able to open a Chinese restaurant in Temple. Immigration problems, however, prevented her coming to the United States. Jim enjoyed a meaningful reunion trip to Michigan visiting with his son Jim E.and family in 2008. Until the last few years of his life, Jim enjoyed sharing e-mails with friends, especially fellow missionary kids (MKs), and he was able to attend several Nigerian missionary reunions. He developed copd & congestive heart failure and died of a heart attack on 18 Aug 2013 at age 68. Jim was married four times: Mary (July 25, 1970 - 1974), Judith (June 4, 1974 - Oct 27, 1976), Irene (Nov 7, 1988 - Dec 13, 1989), Liufen (2007). He is survived by one son, James Erickson Pool (Megan) of Ferndale, MI, four grandchildren (Elijah, Esther, Eden, Olive), and a sister Carolyn Pool of Annandale, VA. An older sister, Frances died in March 2000. Jim's father died in 1978 a week shy of 73 yo. Jim enjoyed all aspects of life, had a great sense of humor, and loved to tell stories. As fellow MK friend Philip Whirley noted: "No one could tell a story like he could, and it really didn't matter if the history he recounted was true or not. I couldn't tell the difference, and I often wondered if he could. He was that good. :-)"
Funeral arrangements by Scanio-Harper Funeral Home of Temple, TX. (comments regarding Jim may be left at their website.) Mausoleum interment of ashes service: noon, Sept 6, 2013, Central Texas State Veterans Cemetery, Killeen, TX. A Remembrance Lunch followed at the Monument Café, Georgetown, TX. Memorial gifts: Hospice or charity of choice.
Collection of Jim Pool photos (1945-2013)