William James Brinkley 52, gained his heavenly wings on June 17, 2021.
A lifetime resident of the Dover / Fort Barnwell area, where he was very well known in Eastern, NC and surrounding states. James was the owner and Commercial Pilot of Eastern Flying Services, which was an aerial crop-dusting service. We have all heard that plane buzzing overhead and had a wing tipped at us to say “Hello”. Most children in the area called him the “Airplane Man”.
He is preceded in death by his mother, Mary Lou Brinkley.
Left to cherish his memory is his father, Preston Brinkley (Margie) of Dover; son, Gabe Simpkins (Megan) of Dover; grandson, Preston Jesse Simpkins; sisters, Michelle Wilson (Lee) of Kinston and Alice Lane Dale of Grantsboro; brother, Charlie Smith (Lynn) of Cove City; aunts, Violet Frazier (Dr. Richard Frazier) of Kinston, Alice Davis Spain (Sidney) of Ayden and Peggy Davis of Albertson; uncle, Billy Davis (Mary) of Kinston; nephew, Billy Joe Aldridge of New Bern and countless cousins and his special K9 co-pilot “Buddy”.
James was a dedicated member of the New Testament Baptist Church in Kinston, NC.
His faith and love in Christ showed to all who knew him because he lived it daily. James was hardworking and a high achiever. He was one of the good ones always humble and kind. This man gave his heart and soul to whoever or whatever needed his attention.
Second to his love for Christ his family was top priority, James was a family man. He was proud of his new grandson “Preston”. He was quick to show off the pictures of his new grandson. James was proud of his son Gabe, who worked alongside his father in the business. James kept a close check on his father and step mother to make sure their needs were met or to give them a call just to tell them he loved them. For those that knew James knew that Charlie was his trusted ground man. James loved his family, both biological and those he selected to be his family. As many of you can relate to his regular phone calls of “what’s going on brotha”? Or to his sister “call your brother”!
James had many, many friends, fellow Church members, Pilots, 252 Racing Buddies and so on. Those that were close to James were checked on frequently by phone calls, visits and possibly a fly over.
People were amazed at the talent he had in the job he was so passionate for. James was an adrenaline junkie some might say, for a quiet, reserved man down deep he was as adventurous as they come. Even with all the obscure flying that was part of his job, would make most uneasy, he still needed more and loved drag racing. Rest assure that James gained his heavenly wings on Thursday night and he was in the two places that he loved the most. Despite the thrills that came from his job and hobbies, it was the people he loved the most. From the pilots he flew with, to the drag racers he competed against. He always showed up to the racetrack as part of the pit crew or he made his appearance at sunset with an aerial fly over the pond. If you had the opportunity to fly with James you knew his home was in the sky. The impression that he made on so many lives is a true reflection in all the kind words, post and calls. He was a true man of God who lived life on the edge.
He knew where he was going and he was proud of where he was from, we are all going to miss his cheesy grin.
To the Son, Father, Brother, Grandpa, Nephew and Friend until we meet again, we’ll keep our eyes to the sky.
“A man who has friends must himself be friendly, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother”. Proverbs 18:24 NKJV
Visitation will be held from 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. Thursday, July 1, 2021 at New Testament Baptist Church. Funeral service will be held at 1:00 p.m. Friday, July 2, 2021 at New Testament Baptist Church with Pastor Tim Daniels officiating. Burial will follow the funeral service at Manning Cemetery in Grifton.
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