The patriarch of a major Southwest Louisiana business has died. J.W. Stine, a WWII veteran who started what would eventually become Stine Home & Yard, passed away Wednesday morning at the age of 102, surrounded by family, KPLC is reporting.
The company now operates about a dozen stores along the Gulf Coast.
According to the company's website, Stine Home Improvement began in 1946 when high school best friends J.W. Stine and J.C. Carlin returned to their Sulphur homes from World War II as decorated combat pilots. They bought land and began building homes as the newly formed Starlin Construction Company. After six successful years in the Construction business they amicably parted ways and J.W. went into the retail Lumber business.
Stine was a B-26 pilot in the Mediterranean theater. He completed forty missions bombing France and Germany during World War Two. In an interview for KPLC’s Hometown Heroes, Stine remembered the first time he saw one of the new German jets whiz by his bomber. It shot down two of his buddies who were on a plane Stine was to have been flying.
“When I came into supper, the guys had already flipped for my mattress. They thought I had gotten shot down. But they were glad to see me," Stine told KPLC for the story marking his 100th birthday.
Stine told the station the war taught him to appreciate life. “It sure did make me respect living. Because I sure have been in some binds.”
Stine and his friend J.C. Carlin took the little bit of money they earned during the war and invested it into the Starlin subdivision in Sulphur. The streets in that neighborhood were named after wartime planes. The two men needed materials for those homes, so they created Starlin Lumber Company in the early fifties. Eventually Stine’s six boys worked there.
“They worked for the lumber yard for their spending money and college,” he told KPLC. “When they graduated, that’s all they knew, so they stayed there working there. "
Here's the story KPLC did to celebrate Stine's 100th birthday.
We'll have information on the funeral arrangements as soon as it is available.