James Hyre is remembered as a smart, well-educated and hard-working man.
"James was always working at something," said younger brother Herbert Hyre, the last of six West Virginia Hyre brothers. "He was a fine brother, always very responsible, honest, a down-to-earth person.
"James grew up on a farm, but he enjoyed living on the water on the Coast," said Esther Hyre of Milford, Ohio, a sister-in-law.
Johnny Harris, who managed one of the Hyre's housing complexes, said Hyre was quite a landscaper and electrician. "He knew a little bit of everything," said Harris. "Sometimes he would talk about World War II when he was a tailgunner on a B-26."
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Hyre, who was 83, retired from the Air Force at Keesler and joined his wife, Shamsi, 75, in real estate.
"Before going overseas in the war, James was an Army Air Force boxing champion," recalled brother Herbert. "We lived tough back in the mountains. He was quite a bruiser.