James Oscar Bland
1956 - 2023
James “Jim” “Jimmy” Oscar Bland of Winston-Salem, NC passed away on March 29, 2023 at Novant Health Forsyth Medical Center after a month long battle with pneumonia. He was 66 years old.
Jim was born on September 28, 1956 to Simney Fensden Bland and Sarah Jeanette Fulwood Bland in Ocala, Florida.
Jim left for basic training at the age of 20 and was part of the first ever co-ed basic training test program at Ft. Jackson, SC. On a bus traveling to Ft. Rucker, AL, Jim met 18-year-old Dawn Bland when he noticed her sitting in front of him and laying her head on the window. He slid his jacket behind the seat for her to lay her head on. They went through Air Traffic Control School together, were married 3 months later in Ozark, AL and then shared a delicious meal together at McDonald’s.
After being stationed in Seoul Korea from 1977-1978, Jim and Dawn moved back to the US where they welcomed their first daughter (Jeni) at Womack Army Hospital in 1978 and their second daughter (Becky) at Cape Fear Valley Hospital in 1980.
Jim left the Army in 1980 and joined the Air Force shortly after. He was stationed at Eglin Air Force Base near Ft. Walton Beach, FL. After sustaining a shoulder injury that made him unable to be cleared for active duty, Jim left the Air Force with a medical discharge in 1988. He held many different occupations over the years, and he retired as a Research Analyst from Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center, but at heart he was always an Air Traffic Controller. Jim and his family eventually settled in Davidson County, NC and stayed there for 8 years before moving to Clemmons, where they lived for the next 24 years.
Above all, Jim loved his family. Jim loved to cook family supper every Sunday and for any special occasion the family was having, keeping his family connected and close. He loved animals, especially his two kitties, and ALL animals loved him. He even managed to tame a wild squirrel he named “Petey.” He loved football and you could find him watching his Carolina Panthers any time they were playing. He loved practical jokes and games. He loved birds, building sandboxes and tree houses, and nerf guns and water guns to terrorize his grandchildren with. Jim had every tool and gadget you could ever need. Probably two of them. He didn’t just help people in need. He got to know them, their stories. Invited them to church and found them housing and brought them clothes and became their friend. He was a Deacon at Pinedale Christian Church. He loved his church and his church family and there was rarely a time the doors were open that Jim was not there.
Jim is survived by his wife of 46 years Dawn Kathleen Johnson Bland (64), his daughters Jennette Kathleen Bland Cossey (44) and Rebecca Lynn Bland Ritter (43), his sisters Charlotte Bland Reames (74) and Sue Bland Gilpin (59), and his grandchildren: Baden (20), Kahlan (19), Mason (18), Taylor (16), Levi (10), Logan (10), Mena (8), and Soren (5). He was preceded in death by his father Simney Fensden Bland, his mother Sarah Jeanette Fulwood Bland, his brother Daniel Fensdon Bland, and sister Sarah Finley Thompson.
The family will be holding a Celebration of Life service for Jim on Monday, April 3, 2023 at 11:00 a.m. at Pinedale Christian Church.