James Wilburn Masingill of Buena Park, California, known as “Nano”, “Jim”, “Jimmy” and “Big Jim”, passed away September 21, 2018, at the age of 73, of a heart attack while doing something he truly loved: tailgating with a crowd of friends before a USC football game. He was born February 27, 1945, in Columbus Mississippi, the firstborn of Elmer Wilburn Masingill and Freddie Mae (Stephens) Masingill.
Jim attended Ernest Harmon Air Force Base High School in Newfoundland Canada and Dover Air Force Base High School in Dover Delaware; then he found his true calling when he joined the United States Air Force in May of 1965. He welcomed daughter Jennifer Lynn in 1969, his precious Jenny. He enjoyed an illustrious 22-year career in the Air Force, achieving the rank of Master Sergeant. Among other assignments, he worked for the 762nd and 655th Radar Squadrons, receiving numerous letters of commendation both for his skills as a soldier as well as an organizer of base social events. Some of the places Jim was stationed were Massachusetts, New York, Virginia, Florida, and he loved to tell and retell stories of his stint in Thule Greenland.
Following his retirement in 1987, he worked for the Federal Aviation Administration’s William J Hughes Technical Center in Egg Harbor Township New Jersey. And after meeting the love of his life, Cleo Lopez, on a cross-country trip, he left the FAA and took his radar analysis and electronics engineering skills to Dimensions International as Senior Principal Engineer, permitting him to move to Buena Park California and marry Cleo in July of 1990. Jim later consulted for Systems Technology Inc in Hawthorne California as well as running a home business fixing classic stereo receivers.
Big Jim was known for his exuberant personality and unique contagious laugh, his devotion to his family and friends that knew no bounds, his amazing gift of being able to fix just about anything mechanical or electronic, and his skills as a grillmaster, put well to use at USC football tailgates and Christmas morning breakfasts.
Jim was preceded in death by his mother, Freddie Masingill, and his daughter, Jennifer Lynn (Masingill) Boutiette.
He is survived by his wife of 28 years, Cleo Masingill of Buena Park, California, children Cynthia Ureno, Edward Ureno, and Maryke (Ureno) Santizo, granddaughters Arianna Boutiette, Yvette Ruvalcaba, Danielle Martinez and Alex Santizo, grandsons Daniel Joey Ruvalcaba, Christian Ureno and Dominic Ureno, great grandchildren Asaiah Navarro, Chloe Martinez, and Hector Velasquez (who was just 8 days old at the time of “Nano’s” passing), as well as his father Elmer Masingill (96), and his sister Linda (Masingill) Barlow.
A celebration of Jim’s life will be held Wednesday October 10, 2018 at 3PM, at Heritage-Dilday Memorial Services, 17911 Beach Blvd, Huntington Beach California 92647. Flowers are welcomed, or supporters can consider the Wounded Warrior Project or USO (United Service Organizations) to donate to in Jim’s honor.