Maris, James R. (1919-2008) | Purdue University Libraries, Archives and Special Collections
James R. Maris was born September 13, 1919 in Lafayette, Colorado to Foster Melvin Maris and Elizabeth Osborn Maris. He was married on January 16, 1943, in Montgomery, Alabama, to S. Lucille Carr. They had four daughters, Cathy, Nancy, Susan and Vickie.
Maris was a professor of aviation technology and was instrumental in the organization and development of the Department of Aviation Technology at Purdue University. He served as department head from 1955 through 1982 and then held a position as assistant to the dean in the School of Technology where he retired in 1984. Purdue is noted for establishing new standards of aviation education by developing two-year associate degrees and four-year bachelor’s degrees in aviation maintenance, aviation electronics, and flight during this time. He also was involved in the founding of the University Aviation Association.
Mr. Maris served in the Army Air Corps and later, the Air Force. He flew numerous planes, but spent the majority of his flying hours piloting B-24 bombers in World War II. He and his crew flew 30 missions out of Wembling, England. His second mission was D-Day. He was called back to active duty for the Korean War and retired from the Air Force Reserves in 1979 with the rank of lieutenant colonel.
He was a member and elder emeritus of First Christian Church Disciples of Christ, where he was active in many roles. He was also a member of the Reserve Officers Association, Alpha Eta Rho, Experimental Aircraft Association and Purdue University Retirees. He volunteered many hours for the Church Women United Food Pantry and the Purdue Visitors’ Center and gave tours of the airport to school children and Purdue visitors.
His hobbies included building planes and a car, attending air shows, public speaking about World War II, photography, creative writing, poetry writing, and volunteering.
Professor Maris died January 9, 2008 in Lafayette, Indiana.