James Taylor Webb passed away on April 22, 2023, in Bandera, TX at age 81. He was born in Yakima, WA on March 5, 1942. Jim was very proud of his family’s long tenure in the area as a fourth generation Taylor to be born in the Yakima Valley. He had a happy childhood growing up on the family small apple ranch in Lower Naches. He particularly enjoyed spending time at their cabin near the intersection of the Bumping and American Rivers where he got into mischief, learned to hunt for wild mushrooms, and unsuccessfully fished while his father and brother routinely caught their limits. He graduated from Naches Valley High School in 1960 and enjoyed attending class reunions.
He received his B.S. in 1965 from the University of Washington. Following graduation, he joined the Air Force and went through fighter pilot training to become an F-4D pilot in 1967. He upgraded to Aircraft Commander in 1969. He was stationed in Vietnam in 1970 where he was pilot, flight lead, and functional check pilot. He was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross and 9 Air Medals, among other awards. After his voluntary discharge from active duty, he began graduate school at the University of Washington in Biochemical Ecology. During his graduate studies, he served in the USAF Reserves at McChord AFB, WA and flew C-141A heavy transport jets. He flew a total of 4,315 hours in military aircraft. He received his M.S. in 1975 and Ph.D. in 1979. Jim’s dissertation study results were published in Science in 1980.
From 1979-1984 he taught Biology at the Air Force Academy, Colorado Springs, CO, where he also was a flight instructor and active in the SCUBA club. He was then assigned to the School of Aerospace Medicine at Brooks AFB, San Antonio, TX. He was honorably retired as a Major and continued his research career with KRUG Life Sciences and Wyle. While at Brooks AFB, his focus was on the physiological effects of high altitude in support of the USAF and NASA. He published many peer- reviewed articles in the Aerospace Space Medical Association (AsMA) journal and other scientific publications. Over the past few years, he championed the use of a breathing mixture of oxygen, hydrogen, and helium for use in space travel for Moon/Mars missions.
Jim was very active in AsMA from the early 1980s until his death, serving on many committees and involved in several constituent organizations. He was president of AsMA in 2013-2014. Over the years, Jim received several awards, and in 2018, he was honored with the Louis H. Bauer Award (AsMA’s highest award). In addition, Jim was proud of his membership in the National Order of Daedalians (a fraternal and professional order of American military pilots). He remained active in the organization and could always be found participating in the local chapter's events. In recent years, he was an active member of the Quiet Birdmen pilot association in Kerrville.
Jim married Judy Bound in 1964 in Yakima. They raised two children, Susan and Michael, as a military family. Jim met his second wife, Frances Laue, in a singles group in 1986 and they were married in 1989. Jim and Fran shared a love of travel and visited 57 countries and 27 US states. Their final trip was to Paris, September 2022, for the International Conference of Aerospace Medicine, followed by a barge cruise in the Burgundy area.
Jim was preceded in death by his parents, Kenneth LeRoy Webb and Marjorie Witten Webb, both of Yakima. He is survived by his wife, Frances Laue of Bandera, TX; daughter Susan Russo (Trish Marquez) of Colorado Springs, CO; son Michael Webb (Jessica) of Yakima; grandchildren Alicia Russo, Rowan Webb, and Trent Webb; great-granddaughter Carly Russo; brother Raymond Webb (Jackie) of Moses Lakes, WA; Cousin Katherine McAnulty of Portland, OR; and numerous nieces and nephews.
His ashes were interred in the family plot at the Tahoma Cemetery in Yakima, WA with family, friends, and a military honor guard in attendance.
Please consider donating to the Alzheimer's Association, the IAASM James T. Webb Outreach Fund, or the AsMA Foundation in lieu of flowers.