JAMES P. HARKINS
Lt. Colonel JAMES PATRICK HARKINS WWII and Korean conflict veteran passed away peacefully on Wednesday, October 28, 2015 in McLean, VA at the age of 93, surrounded by his loving family.
Mr. Harkins was born in Davenport, Iowa on December 17, 1921 to the late James Patrick Aloysius Harkins and Marian Christine Harrison Harkins. He had three sisters, the late Barbara Harkins, the late Dorothy Harkins and the late Mary Harkins. Mr. Harkins was raised in Methuen, Massachusetts and New York City, New York. He attended Newtown High School in Queens, New York, from which he graduated in 1939.
While attending High School, Mr. Harkins worked for the National Broadcasting Company (NBC) in Radio City. After High School, he worked for the New York World’s Fair, welcoming visitors to the Ford Motor Company exhibit. During that same year, Mr. Harkins enlisted in the 7th Regiment of the New York National Guard for an anticipated period of 24 months of active duty. Pearl Harbor changed those plans and the 24 months became 5 ½ years of active duty. Colonel Harkins served in Air Control for the Mighty 8th Air Force, 492nd Bomb Group, and was headquartered in Warrington, UK during the war.
After the war, Mr. Harkins attended Harvard University under the GI Bill and graduated in 1949 with a degree in Economics and History. While at Harvard, he was an active and enthusiastic member of the Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity (SAE).
In 1950, after the outbreak of war in Korea, Colonel Harkins was recalled to the Air Force as a Captain and became an Assistant Professor of Air Science and Tactics at Manhattan College and New York University. Colonel Harkins resigned from active duty in 1954, after armed hostilities in Korea came to an end. He remained in the Air Force Reserves, attaining the rank of Lt. Colonel.
Mr. Harkins met Marta Ulrika Eden, a Swedish immigrant, in 1958 while both lived in Greenwich Village in New York City. They were married on January 16, 1959 and enjoyed 56 years of wedded bliss. After marrying, Mr. Harkins joined the Civil Service, taking a position with the Veteran’s Administration. First assigned in Croton, New York and later at Veteran’s Administration headquarters in Washington, DC.
They lived in Peekskill, New York and Arlington, VA, where they raised their children. Mr. Harkins retired from the Civil Service in 1984. He is survived by his wife of 56 years, Marta of McLean, Virginia; his son Adrian of Stockholm, Sweden and his wife, Birgitta; his daughter Marian of Ashburn, Virginia and her husband, Roger; his son Paul of Round Hill, Virginia and his wife, Ania; his daughter-in-law Susan of Round Hill, Virginia; his seven grandchildren – Anna, Malin, James, Jorden, Sarah, Joseph and Grace; great-granddaughter Lycke and great-grandson Trey.
Mr. Harkins is remembered with deep love for his sense of humor, his intellectual hunger, his love of books, his keen interest in his children and grandchildren and for piloting his family ship with warmth, grace and stability for so many years.
A Celebration of Life service will be held for Mr. Harkins on Sunday, November 22, 2015 at 2PM at the Chapel at Vinson Hall, 6251 Old Dominion Drive, McLean, VA 22101. In lieu of flowers, donations and/or memorial contributions can be made to: The 8th Air Force Historical Society PO Box 60369 Savannah, GA 31420-0369
Published in The Washington Post on Nov. 15, 2015
Harkins, James P. [MCxfaculty RIP]
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