Members: Chatmas to Hammond

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Jim Chatmas was raised in the town of Hearne, Texas, which is close to the Bryan-College Station area. His dad was a Greek and his mom too. He gets his sense of humor from his father.

He entered Texas A&M in 1941 at the age of 16. When the first grade reports came out, he got a notice to go see the dean. He thought it was very nice that the dean would like to welcome him to college. The dean asked him if he liked A&M and he said he really did. That's good, said the dean, with your present grades it will take you 22 years to graduate.

Two years after Pearl Harbor, Jim and 500 Aggies enlisted in the Army on the same day. Jim took two different basic trainings and finally through officer candidate school he became a second lieutenant in the 1258 engineer combat battalion.

At 19, Jim was in charge of a platoon of men in the European theatre during the Battle of the Bulge under Gen. George Patton. He received the Purple Heart and Bronze Star. His MRIs still show shrapnel from the war. Ask Jim about the bridge and Patton one day.

With two years in college before the war, three years in the service, and two years back at A&M, Jim graduated with a degree in mechanical engineering. He entered the motion picture business (known as the "picture show" business in those days) in Hearne, Texas, with his father. His father had hired this young college student who was home for the summer to be a cashier at the theatre. She was Fay Pauline Nunley and after four dates she and Jim were married and just celebrated their 59th anniversary. She knew she was going to marry him and he says, "she had it all."

After three years in Hearne, he purchased a theatre in Ferris, Texas, which is just south of Dallas. It was doing fairly well until a strange thing in a box with a glass front, some round and some square, came along and it was called television. I Love Lucy was the final blow as he was now operating in the red.

Jim answered an ad in the Dallas paper for a sales engineer. And was hired for $300 a month - not a week - a month, and was glad to get it. After two years, the boss told him he knew about his theatre, but there was an opening in Fort Worth for a branch manager and he offered it to Jim. Jim said give him time to buy a padlock and he would lock that dude up.

They moved to Fort Worth with their two children, Nancy and Bob. The owner retired and the company was taken over by three salesman, with Jim being the president of the company. As the company grew, it was apparent that the president should be in the home office - not in Fort Worth. The last thing Jim wanted to do was move to Dallas (for reasons that we all understand). He approached his partner and suggested that he buy him out and assume the presidency since he was in Dallas. The partner said he would if Jim would promise to stay and run the Fort Worth office, which is what he wanted. Jim retired two years ago after spending 25 years with the same company.

One of Fay and Jim's loves was traveling. They have traveled from the Great Wall of China, the Pyramids, Moscow, the Amazon River, Alaska, Argentina, Australia, New Zealand and every country in Europe. Their most unique trip was sailing from New York to England on the Queen Mary, spending two days on the Orient Express and flying from London to New York on the Concord. The Concord left London at 10 a.m. and due to time zones, they arrived in New York at 8:30, one and a half hours before they started. Jim will tell you there's never been a bad trip.

Jim is a past president of the Association of Heating and Air Conditioning Engineers, Moslah Temple Shrine Patrol and of this Rotary Club. Two days a week, he is a volunteer at Harris Hospital. He and Fay spend weekends at their ranch.

One of his achievements that he is extremely proud of is the fact that at 83 years old, he is an 18-year prostate cancer survivor. This is due to one thing - early detection. It is possible to have prostate cancer without any symptoms so it is mandatory to have your yearly check up.