James Coley was born on October 28, 1920 in Cave Springs, KY to parents Arthur “A.J.” Coley and Vernie Birdwell Coley. He is one of four children. He graduated from 8th grade at Cave Springs School. He was married to Mae Rene Coley for 44 years, and they have four children: Sue Monday, Ed Coley, Jackie Coley, and Shelley Botts.
James worked as a farmer for the majority of his life. He raised tobacco and hay, contracted out his services and picked corn for people, and milked cows on his dairy farm. He also worked for the county mowing all of the roadsides. He was always a very hard worker, and he believed in taking care of yourself. However, he also helped take of others too. He acted as a Community Fire Volunteer which meant that the Fire Department left supplies with him to distribute to his neighbors in case a fire ever broke out. He also helped with any kind of veteran events in the local area.
While he farmed for the majority of his life, a great deal of his stories come from his 3 years, 3 months, and 3 days as a member of the Army Core Air Force. He served as a cook for military pilots in World War II in the Pacific Area (Iwo Jima, Gilbert Island, and Marshall Island). One coincidence was that he got to randomly meet someone from the area during his time overseas, Robert Moore. Moore was from Barren County, and he and James kept in touch with each other after the war was over.
In his spare time, James enjoys UK Basketball, Chicago Cubs Baseball, ginseng hunting, and attending any kind of patriotic event. He is most proud of his kids and all that they have accomplished.Back to the list of inductees