James Edward Vinson passed away peacefully on November 2, 2023 in Maumelle, Arkansas. “Sonny” was born on November 14, 1934 to Truman and Beulah Vinson in London, Arkansas. He is survived by his son Kent Vinson and wife Holly of Houston Texas, his son Karl Vinson of Pasadena Texas, and his daughter Karen Aldridge and husband Mark Akins of Cleveland Texas. He had 5 grandsons, Austin Aldridge, Tanner Aldridge, Aaron Aldridge, Matthew Vinson and Mark Vinson along with numerous nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his 2 sisters, Frances Miller and Doris White, and the mother of his children, Marilyn Vinson.
As a young man, James worked on the family farm and received an A. S. Degree in Electrical Engineering from Arkansas Tech before joining the Army National Guard of Arkansas. He then served his country as an Electronics Technician in the US Air Force for 4 years, 2 of which were spent in Japan. Following his honorable discharge, he got married and finished his B.S. degree in Math and Physics at Arkansas Tech.
James applied his learning and experience at several jobs in California and Missouri, before moving the family to Houston, Texas to work on the Manned Space Program at the Johnson Space Center. This began a long and successful career working as an Astronaut Trainer, Computer Programmer, Project Manager and Computer Systems Manager. James received several awards and commendations in recognition of his excellent support of NASA’s Gemini, Apollo, Skylab, Space Shuttle and Space Station programs.
After his retirement from the Aerospace Industry, James returned to his beloved Arkansas where he taught computer courses part-time at Pulaski Tech and enjoyed a slower pace of life. He took great pleasure in mentoring students, keeping up with his favorite sports teams, listening to country music, and having coffee with friends. Sonny’s later years were impacted by dementia, but it never diminished his zest for life or his pleasant, easy-going nature.
Arrangements by A Natural State Funeral Service 2620 West Main Street, Jacksonville, Arkansas 72076. 501-982-3400. Online guestbook available at www.anaturalstatefuneralservice.com