World War II veteran Major James V. Janifer, also known as “Jim,” was a lifelong Washingtonian. He was born on Champlain Street to Albert and Lula (Thompson) Janifer on Nov. 15, 1919.
He started out at Armstrong High School and then transferred to Dunbar High School. One day after his graduation in 1940, he was drafted in to the Army but enlisted in the National Guard instead. A few weeks later, the National Guard was federalized and he was sent for training in Fort Dix, N.J., and eventually to Officer’s Candidate School.
While in the Army he developed a passion for ping pong and tennis and won numerous trophies for the Army. He met his future wife, Elizabeth Thomas “Libby” at the USO in New York City. She taught him how to dance at the Savoy Ballroom and passed on her love of dancing to him. They were together for 68 years.
During World War II he was sent to the mountains of Italy with the 2nd Battalion of the 92nd Infantry Division. He fought with the all-Back battalion and earned a Purple Heart and the Bronze Star medal.
During his career, Jim was stationed in Korea, France, Japan and Germany, retiring after 24 years of service. Throughout his posts around the world, he attended school at the University of Maryland University College, eventually earning his bachelor’s degree in 1961. He went on the study architecture at Pratt Institute of New York City.
After retirement, Jim was a well-known architectural consultant around Washington, D.C. He and his wife were members of Bolling Air Force Base’s Officer’s Club. They played bridge and belonged to the Mid-Atlantic Section of the American Bridge Association.
Jim suffered kidney failure at the Knollwood Military Residence.