The 1942 Aussie Penny: A Story of Friendship and Legacy
Australian bloke, James Wainwright, was working as a TV satellite technician in Oklahoma, USA. While laying cable in a random house the customers interest in James peaked when he heard his Australian accent. The two struck up a conversation and discovered a shared connection to Australia. His father, Jim, was a veteran of the Pacific War and spent some time in our great southern land.
Just a few days ago, James shared his story in our private Facebook group 'Blokes Advice' wondering what he should do with this penny now his has brought it home. Amongst many suggestion and general interest in the story, it and caught the attention of member (and clearly a research beast) Michael Musumeci. With the help of Michael uncovering the man behind this penny, the two wanted to share Jim's incredible life story and the inspiration he left behind.
Remembering James "Jim" Gattis of Sapulpa, born November 5th, 1923 in Hickory, Oklahoma to Abbie and Viola Gattis. Jim was a veteran who served in both World War 2 and the Korean War, and was part of a unit that was awarded a citation by the President of the United States.
Jim married the love of his life, Martha (Marty), on October 17, 1956, and together they had two amazing kids, Carla and Clay. Unfortunately, Marty passed away in 1996, but Jim went on to marry Teata, whom he met at the Oklahoma Baptist Retirement Centre in Oklahoma City. They fostered children for 20 years and adopted Chloe in 2013.
Jim lived a full life, having been a teacher, banker, farmer, security guard, foster parent, and even a Girls Scouts Camp Caretaker. He was an active member of Church Inside Out in Sapulpa and loved helping out with the Mobile Missions Network, remodeling community centers and taking care of foster babies.
Jim was known for his gentle spirit and caring heart, and he is deeply missed by all who knew him. He was preceded in death by his parents, wife, sisters, son, and grandsons, but is survived by his wife, Teata, daughter Carla and Chloe Gattis, sister Margaret, four stepsons, 19 grandchildren, and 6 great grandchildren.
Jim passed away on December 1st, 2021, at the age of 98, in the comfort of his own home. He will always be remembered as a proud member of "The Greatest Generation", and for his bravery, dedication, and kindness.
James has now donated the penny to be framed along with Jim's story and photo, ensuring that his memory will live on. Jim's life serves as a reminder of the impact one person can have on the lives of those around them, and the importance of cherishing the special relationships we form.
Thank you to James for sharing the story, and Michael for his research and write up!
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