James Earl Radford, Sr.

Published 10:28 am Monday, September 19, 2016

James Earl Radford, Sr., died suddenly at St. Luke’s Hospital in Columbus, N.C., on Sept. 14, 2016.

Earl was born in Caroleen, N.C., on Feb. 16, 1923. In February 1952, he met June on a blind date in Washington, D.C.—and married her in October. This happiest of marriages lasted for 63 years, until June’s death in December 2015.

Earl graduated from Tri-High School in Rutherford County, N.C., in 1939. He turned down offers from major league baseball teams and served in the United States Army Air Corps during World War II. After the war, he earned a B.S. in mechanical engineering (Class of 1949) at North Carolina State University.

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

He spent the bulk of his career working for the U.S. Department of the Navy’s Naval Ordnance Laboratory in White Oak, Md., as a civilian. In 1979, Earl and June retired to the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains. They had 20 wonderful years on their Green Hill acreage, with unparalleled views of the mountains, before moving to Tryon Estates in Columbus.

Earl is survived by his daughter, Carol Radford Plambeck (Doug) of Tualatin, Ore.; his son, Dr. James E. Radford, Jr. (Heidi) of Hendersonville, N.C.; five grandchildren (Elisabeth Walk [Mitch] of London, England; Benjamin Radford of Arlington, Va.; Andrew Plambeck [Michelle] of Portland, Ore.; Rebecca Radford of Arlington, Va.; and Jacob Radford of Raleigh, N.C.; and three great-grandchildren, Otto and Linus Plambeck of Portland, Ore., and Elsa Walk of London, England. He is also survived by one brother, Floyd Radford of Caroleen, N.C.

A private family service will be held at a later date. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to Hospice of the Carolina Foothills, 130 Forest Glen Drive, Columbus, NC 28722.

An online guest register is available at www.mcfarlandfuneralchapel.com.

McFarland Funeral Chapel
Tryon, N.C.