Obituary: Stidham, James Manuel

James Manuel Stidham
James Manuel Stidham(None)
Published: May. 30, 2023 at 3:51 PM EDT
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James Manuel Stidham, 96, of Williamstown, WV passed away on Monday, May 29, 2023 at Marietta Memorial Hospital. He was born on October 16, 1926 in Hazard, KY to the late James and Olga Feltuer Stidham.

Jim left school and his home in Kentucky at the age of 14 and spent the next few years on his own as a laborer in Cincinnati and Dayton. World War II broke out and at the age of 17, he went home to get his stepmother’s approval to sign up. He was sent directly to Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island for training. He then went to Hawaii where he became part of the newly formed Marine 6th Division, 29th Regiment and in November 1943 this newly minted Marine boarded a troop ship bound for the Pacific Theater. He saw action in Okinawa and China until the unit was disbanded overseas. After discharge from the Marines and a short stint back home, Jim decided to rejoin the military and entered the Army Air Corp, soon to become the United States Air Force, from which he retired in 1966. USAF Master Sergeant Stidham served tours in Korea and Viet Nam as well as minor conflicts around the globe.

All during his service Jim enjoyed his love for the sport of golf. He played scratch golf on courses around the world with officers who appreciated his great skill. That love and ability to play continued until his last days.

Jim found a purpose in Masonic work. He was raised a Master Mason in Germany and now belongs to Williamstown Lodge No. 129. He joined the Bahia Shrine in Orlando Florida where he was active in many units and raised countless dollars to support Shrine Children’s Hospitals. His pride was the Racing Saints where he built the model Indy cars that appeared in many parades. Having no children of his own, Jim cherished the work he did to raise money to care for kids in the hospitals.

Jim was created a Jester in Orlando Court 166, demitted to Parkersburg Court 156 and became a life member in 2019. He was also a member of Nemesis Shrine, the Scottish Rite, the American Legion of Kissimmee, FL, The V.F.W. in Parkersburg, WV and the Kentucky Colonels.

Every one of Jim’s Masonic family knew him to be the ultimate gentleman, full of fun, personal stories, and a loving family man. His wife Toni was the cherished light of his life. In addition to his wife, he is survived by a sister-in-law Jody Stewart.

In addition to his parents he was preceded in death by a sister.

A Graveside service will be held at 11 AM on Saturday, June 3, 2023 at Mt. Olivet Cemetery with full military honors and masonic rites. Visitation will be held from 3-7 PM on Friday, June 2, 2023 at Hadley Funeral Home Reno Chapel, 1021 Pike St., Marietta, OH 45750.

In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to the Shriners Children’s Hospital,110 Conn Terrace, Lexington, KY 40508.

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