Celebrating the life of Jim Bautista
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Jim was born to Javier and Mary Ellen Bautista on April 12,1956, in San Antonio, Texas. On January 31,1986, he enlisted in the United States Air Force and swore an oath to support and defend the Constitution of the United States. During his 22 years of active duty service, he was a boom operator and CFIC instructor on the KC-135 tanker aircraft. As a CFIC instructor, Jim was qualified to create in-air mistakes to instruct the instructor candidates on how to become qualified boom instructors. He also served with Tanker AirLift Control Element (TALCE) operations. He was charged with instructing all US military forces in air load planning of USAF cargo aircraft. With the TALCE, he supported Command and Control for the Air Mobility Command (AMC) at remote locations all over the world. During his service, he was stationed at the 917th Air Refueling Squadron at Dyess Air Force Base, Texas, the 344th ARS at McConnell Air Force Base, Kansas, and the 54th ARS at Altus Air Force Base, Oklahoma. Jim was a veteran of The Gulf War, Operation Desert Storm, and Operation Enduring Freedom. Jim earned several medals during his service, including the National Defense Service Medal, Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal, and Global War on Terrorism Service Medal. He served honorably in the Air Force, achieving the rank of Master Sergeant.
After Jim's years in the service, he earned a Bachelor of Applied Science (B.A.S.) from Wayland Baptist University in 2010 and a Masters of Science in Aeronautics from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in 2014. He continued his passion of working with students, pursuing a second career in the field he loved most. He was a KC-135 Boom Operator for CAE and a KC-46 ATS Boom Instructor for Flight Safety. "Jaws" was a vital part of the Flight Training Unit (FTU), teaching and preparing young students as they set out on their own Air Force careers. Always with a smile on his face, he positively influenced both his students and the community.
He married the love of his life, Melinda, on May 28, 1994, in Abilene, Texas. Jim and Melinda enjoyed traveling together as well as spending time with their kids and grandkids. They were also very involved in philanthropic programs, honored together with a CAE Volunteer of the Year award for their selfless contributions to OU Children's Medical Center and formation of Sheridan's Sunshine Foundation for Childhood Cancer, named after their beloved daughter, Sheridan Nicole, who lost her life to bone cancer, in 2011. As part of Sheridan's legacy, the foundation raises awareness and research funding for childhood cancer in the Oklahoma region.
Jim loved all sports, especially OU football and softball. Together with his family, they would attend OU home football games and the NCAA Women's College World Series. He competed in many local car shows with his 1950 Ford F-1 pick-up, "Lavender Louie". If you ever needed a trivia partner, Jim was your guy. He was a music enthusiast and could name any artist, album, or song title. He had the biggest heart and would be your greatest fan.
Jim will be lovingly remembered by his wife of 27 years, Melinda; three children: Stephanie Wimer and husband Corbin of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, Skylar Bautista of Altus, Oklahoma, and Sophia Monreal and husband Mike of San Antonio, Texas; five grandchildren: Tristan Wimer, Rhoslyn Wimer, Michael Monreal, James Monreal, and Xavier Monreal; and his parents, Javier and Mary Ellen Bautista of San Antonio, Texas and parents-in law, Gilbert and Maria Montes of Midland, Texas. He will also be dearly missed by his friends in the Altus and Boom communities.
He was preceded in death by his son, Steven Bautista, and his daughter, Sheridan Bautista.
A Celebration of Life service will be held at 11 am at First Baptist Church of Altus with Dr. Jeff Moore officiating. Jim will be laid to rest next to Sheridan and Steven in the Altus Cemetery.
In lieu of flowers, the family asks that memorial contributions be made to Sheridanâ€™s Sunshine Foundation. Âwww.sheridansunshinefoundation.com
Arrangements are under the direction of Lowell-Tims Funeral Home and Crematory, Altus, Oklahoma.
To sign the online guest book and share memories with the family please visit www.Lowell-Tims.com
To send flowers in memory of Jim Bautista, visit the Tribute Store.
300 North Main Street
Altus, OK 73521
2400 Falcon Road
Altus, OK 73521