Jim Diffendorfer’s career at Ashland High School athletics and academics was very noteworthy. His quest to play basketball early in life was started by his father, Ralph, who built a plywood backboard and hoop in their barn on the Hayesville Road. After school, Jim fed the hogs then shot baskets hour after hour. When his family moved to Ashland, he was ready to compete.
Jim earned three varsity letters in basketball and baseball at Ashland High School and was captain of both teams his senior year. His 747 total points in basketball for three years ranked him sixth in 1956 for his career in the All Time Record Book.
Upon graduation from Ashland High School, he applied for admission to the U.S. Air Force Academy, but was denied at that time. Instead, he enrolled at Denison University where he again excelled in academics and athletics. After one year at Denison, Jim reapplied to the Air Force Academy and was accepted. He then played three years of varsity basketball for The Academy, starting all three years, and was captain his senior year. His senior year at The Academy he held the rank of Lt. Colonel and was a wing training officer.
Jim graduated a 2nd Lieutenant in the Air Force in 1963 and served 26 years, retiring in August 1989 in the rank of Colonel. His flying experience was primarily as a B-52 pilot. Incidentally, Jim has over 2,000 hours flying time in the B-52. He also flew the T-37, T-38, C-131B, TH-1F, and H43B. Non-flying assignments following his graduation in graduate astronautics from the AF Institute of Technology at Wright-Patterson AFB were primarily test and evaluation management of strategic weapons systems (B-52/cruise missile integration, B-1, MX, and air-launched cruise missile). Jim spent his last four years in Germany; two years as the AF Attaché to West Germany in the Embassy in Boon and two years in Wiesbaden. These four years afforded Jim and his family ample opportunity to travel and enjoy the splendors of Europe. Jim has three: David, Jay, and Sra.
Jim is employed by the Boeing Company in Seattle. He teaches pilots to operate the Boeing 747-400 by instructing ground school and flight simulator. He says it’s like playing the world’s largest electronic game.
Nominator: Mrs. Helen Diffendorfer