James “Jim” Franklin Hewlin, Sr., was born on February 7, 1924, in Bronxville, New York, the youngest of four children to Julia and George S. Hewlin, Sr. He went on to glory on September 12, 2018, and bequeathed a legacy of love, faith, and resilience. Although he experienced hardships as a child, he lived a life full of joy, kindness, and gratitude for God’s everlasting grace. Shortly after graduating from high school in Mount Vernon, NY, he was drafted into the U.S. Army where he was solicited for the Army Specialized Training Program, which sent a group of approximately 350 African-American soldiers who possessed a high aptitude for math, science, and engineering to Howard University for advanced training. The program was discontinued after a year, but Jim forged profound friendships among his fellow “Promethean” soldiers that spanned decades. After serving overseas in World War II as a radio operator, Jim returned home and utilized the GI Bill to attend Pace University where he earned his B.A. in Business Administration. In 1946, he married Juanita Velma Barnes, and from that union was one son.
In 1960, Jim started a new chapter in his life, moving to California and marrying Eva Bennett. Jim and Eva were married for 42 years. Professionally, Jim excelled in his career with the State of California, becoming a State Auditor, a Supervising Tax Auditor, and eventually District Tax Administrator II until his retirement in 1985. During that time, Shiloh Baptist Church, where Jim became a Deacon, was the center of the Hewlins’ Christian life. Deacon Hewlin was also a Sunday School teacher, Vice Chairman of the Trustee Board, President of the Senior Choir, Secretary of the Deacon Board and Chairman of Deacons Training.
When Jim became a widower, he was blessed to find love and companionship in the winter of his life with Mabel Thompson. Together, they enjoyed travel and fellowship with Jim’s Promethean Army brothers and experienced a community of faith with their active participation in Emmanuel Baptist Church of San Jose. Their life was filled with a rich circle of family, friends and neighbors. Even with the challenging health experiences Jim endured later in life, his spirit of independence, honor, and perseverance never faltered.
To cherish his memory, Jim leaves behind wife Mabel Thompson-Hewlin; son James “Teeko” Franklin Hewlin, Jr.; granddaughter Tiffany Omodara Hewlin; goddaughter Monica Brown; nieces Barbara and Ina Whitehead, Elnora Bing, Dorothy Cave, Michelle Holman and Jean Wadley; god-nieces Laverne Ayodele Moore and Rosie Robinson; nephews Albert Lockwood, Sahiem Lockwood, Kerry Lockwood and Craig and Richard Ware; stepchildren Barry and Toni Ingram, Eric and Constance Thompson, Robert and Karol Ingram, Lisa Beckham, Christopher Thompson and Ava Thompson; and a host of dear family, friends and colleagues.
We will always remember his strength, courage, humor, and compassion. Jim is now and forever resting peacefully in the comfort of the Lord.