James Alva Trehearne celebrated his 90th birthday on March 19, 2014. He was born in 1924 in Redkey, Ind., where he attended Redkey High School and was a member of the band, playing the flat key bb Bass French Horn. He sang solos occasionally at church.
After graduating from high school, James was drafted into the military. After basic training in Miami, he was sent to Baton Rouge, La., for administrative schooling. Upon completion of the schooling, he was assigned to several stations in the U.S. before being transferred to England. When he arrived in England, he was assigned to the Army Air Corps (U.S. Air Force). He performed administrative duties there.
Upon returning to the U.S. he was stationed at the Pentagon in Washington, D.C. While there he studied photography and was assigned many photo shoots, including photographing the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. James was at an air show at Idlewild Airport and was involved in a plane crash, but with no serious injury. Another assignment was to the North Pole to photograph missions. This wasn’t too successful since his camera kept freezing up.
After leaving the military, he signed up for a program to take school pictures at military instillations in Europe. He was based in Germany and traveled to several countries in Europe.
James entered the Air Force again and, while at Edwards Air Force Base, he left the military and started his own photo business in Lancaster, Calif. His business was very successful and he received many awards. One of those awards was “Professional Photographer of 1964” presented at the Professional Photographers of Southern California banquet at the home of none other than Zsa Zsa Gabor. He has a photo of him with Zsa Zsa and her husband, Conrad Hilton.
After closing the photo studio in Lancaster, James signed with a company operating from Jackson, Miss., that contracted to photo students for the school. He traveled to various locations with this company before relocating to Atlanta, Ga. There he went with Eckerd Drugs as assistant manager and worked in various stores throughout Atlanta.
He visited friends here on the Gulf coast and finally moved to South Walton in March 2000. In this location, James operated the photo section of Eckerd Drugs next to Winn-Dixie until Robert Long hired him to manage Water Color’s while he and his wife, Sharon, traveled each summer throughout the U.S. teaching watercolor art.
At Robert Long Water Colors, James painted his first work of art and has painted numerous works since. He is currently retired and lives in Santa Rosa Beach. He has one daughter and two granddaughters who reside in Palmdale, Calif.