Fallen Checotah soldier loved the service, remembered as dedicated patriot; died March 31 in Afghanistan during his second tour
BY SUSAN HYLTON World Staff Writer
Tuesday, April 24, 2012
4/24/12 at 7:35 AM
CHECOTAH - Family and friends mourned the death of Army Spc. James Evan Dutton at First Baptist Church on Monday morning.
The 25-year-old Checotah soldier died March 31 in Logar province, Afghanistan, while serving his second tour of duty in the U.S. Army.
He was buried at the Fort Gibson National Cemetery.
Dutton grew up in Weleetka where he was known as "Little James." He was active in sports and enjoyed camping, fishing and "picking on his sisters," said the Rev. Don Williamson, who knew Dutton as a child.
Williamson said Dutton was active in church and would make helpful suggestions in children's programs and church fundraisers.
He had all the kids dip their hands in paint and sign their handprints for a church mural. He came up with the idea of hanging umbrellas upside down from the ceiling so patrons could drop funds into them to purchase church office equipment.
"He was a big help," Williamson said.
Williamson recalled that Dutton always played the role of police officer in childhood games.
Dutton later moved with his parents to Checotah, where he was a firefighter with the Lotawatah Rural Fire Department and worked at Winkle's Hardware before enlisting.
A slide show displayed pictures of him through the years: as a toddler, playing with family, in his Weleetka Outlaws football uniform, fishing and having fun outdoors, clowning with friends and overseas with his unit.
"James loved the U.S. Army and planned on a long career serving his country," Williamson said. "He believed in and loved what he was doing and that is where he wanted to be."
After basic training, Dutton became a firefighter and mechanic in the 10th Mountain Division at Fort Drum, N.Y.
He was deployed to Afghanistan in 2009 and returned home in 2010.
While stationed at Fort Bliss, Texas, Dutton was deployed a second time to Afghanistan in February 2012.
"He left quite a vacancy when he lost his life," Williamson said.
Dutton is survived by his wife, Ellen Marie Dutton, and his young son, William Tyler Anderson of El Paso, Texas, as well as his parents, James and Trina Dutton of Checotah, and several brothers and sisters.
Original Print Headline: Love for service
Susan Hylton 918-581-8381
The casket of Army Spc. James Dutton is carried Monday during a ceremony at Fort Gibson National Cemetery. Dutton, 25, died March 31 in Afghanistan while on his second tour of duty for the U.S. Army. MATT BARNARD / Tulsa World
Dana J.H. Pittard presents a folded flag to family members of Army Spc. James Dutton on Monday during a ceremony in Fort Gibson. MATT BARNARD / Tulsa World
Soldiers stand alongside the headstones at Fort Gibson National Cemetery during a service Monday for Army Spc. James Dutton. MATT BARNARD / Tulsa World