James (Jim) Elbert Marlar
James (Jim) Elbert Marlar, 88, of North Little Rock, Ark., passed away peacefully on Tuesday, September 5, 2023, with family at his bedside. He was born in Rector, Ark., on August 16, 1935, to Jewel and Lena Marlar.
He is preceded in death by Margaret Joan Marlar (wife), Lena Marlar (mother), Jewel Marlar (father), Daniel Jewel Marlar (son), Jewel Dean Cranford (sister), Linda Sue Gamble (sister), his infant twin sister, and his close friend David Bunning.
He is survived by his older sister, Eula Jean Haywood of Little Rock, Ark.; four grandchildren: Adam Harper (Cheyenne) of Austin, Tex., Daniel (Emily) Marlar of Jonesboro, Ark., Clay Marlar of Swifton, Ark., Lindsey Marlar of Newport, Ark.; two greatgrandchildren Kai and McKinsley, along with many nieces, nephews and a host of other relatives and friends.
Jim attended Rector High School, graduating in 1953. The Civil Aeronautics Administration qualified him to exercise the privileges of mechanic in 1954. He used this knowledge when he joined the United States Army in 1956 – 1963. He was given the position of ‘mechanic’ in the 74th field artillery battalion, going on to spend time in Germany, participating in field training exercises. He would eventually go on to attend Arkansas State College and Northrop Institute of Technology, receiving his Bachelor of Science degree in electronic engineering. Jim utilized this degree for the rest of his career. He worked initially for Square D, then for Industrial Heating and Control Manufacturing, and finally for himself as an independent mechanic. He met Lewis Casey during this journey, earning himself a professional colleague, a J3 Cub co-owner, and most importantly, a loyal lifelong friend.
Jim’s love for flight developed as he experienced life and the world. In 1969, the Department of Transportation – Federal Aviation Administration certified him as a commercial pilot. He flew numerous crafts, soared across countless waters, and even received two monumental awards: the Wright Brothers Master PilotAward for safe flight operations continuously for 50+ years and the Charles Taylor Master Mechanic Award for safe maintenance operations for 50+ years. He concluded his flight career in his beloved 1953 Cessna 195, logging thousands of hours flying and building camaraderie amongst his fellow pilots. He spent his final years mentoring many mechanics, such as Turnor Brown, as well as maintaining the position of ‘hangar buddy’ with Presley Melton, conducting annual inspections. The two would often reflect back on their 40 plus years of friendship and Jim’s days as a banner pilot. The most important banner Jim ever flew was for Presley’s own son. High above a packed Razorback football game read the question, ‘Will you marry me?’ with Presley’s future daughter- in-law looking on.
Jim had a quiet demeanour but was always quick to share a laugh. He loved film and photography, capturing his life’s moments with his original German Kodak film camera. He loved to read, journal, and share a margarita or two with his family on the holidays. He travelled throughout Germany and France with his wife Joan. Jim spent 3 ½ years with David Bunning and others restoring a 1943 Howard DGA 15-P which would go on to win the 2010 Grand Champion of Oshkosh.
However, his greatest accomplishments of all were the familial titles he was honoured to hold: son, brother, uncle, father, grandfather, and great-grandfather.
The family would like to extend special thanks to the Emergency Department and Critical Care Unit staff at Baptist Health Medical Center of North Little Rock, AR; Dr. Yuekui Li of the VA in Fort Roots, North Little Rock, AR; and Anthony Valley of North Little Rock, AR.
In Lieu of flowers, you may make donations made in his name to the Experimental Aircraft Association Chapter 165 Hange, 8050 Remount Rd, North Little Rock, AR 72118 Celebration of life in North Little Rock with burial at Woodlands Height Cemetary in Rector, Ark., to be determined at a later date.