James Edward Carlin

  • Born: April 1, 1945
  • Died: July 2, 2020
  • Location: Sunnyvale, Texas

Charles W. Smith & Sons Funeral Home

2343 Lake Rd.
Lavon, TX 75066

Tribute & Message From The Family


James Edward "Jim" Carlin was born on April 1, 1945 in Harriman, Tennessee to Delbert Dennis Carlin and Imogene Lenore Payne Carlin. He joined big sister, Anita, and later the family was complete with the arrival of his little sister, Nancy. The family moved around the country during Jim's early years. The family settled in Irving as Jim started high school. He was a proud graduate of Irving High School Class of 1963.
One of Jim's favorite things growing up was his membership in the Order of DeMolay. This organization provided structure and guidance, helping mold him into the man he would become. His father Delbert coached many of the sports teams he was on and was also a big contributor to his good upbringing. Later, Jim became a Freemason and a member of the Scottish Rite of Freemasonry. He first joined the Irving Masonic Lodge #1218 and later became a member of the Duck Creek Masonic Lodge #1419 where he found his home. Jim was also a Shriner at Hella Temple.
Jim found his calling when he answered an employment ad in the newspaper and became a Dallas Firefighter on July 1, 1964. He fell in love with the fire service and quickly became a legend in the Dallas Fire Department (DFD). Years later he would recount his legendary experiences through the elaborate real life stories he would tell to everyone he met. Promoting to the rank of Captain, Jim was one of the most decorated firefighters in the history of the Department. During his career, he was awarded the Department's two highest awards for bravery – the Distinguished Service Award and the Medal of Valor. Both are only awarded when the firefighter has placed themselves in the most dangerous circumstances to save the life of another. Jim absolutely loved the DFD and considered every firefighter as part of his family. He influenced many young firefighters during his career and even continued teaching recruits after he retired.
Although Jim loved his career as a firefighter, he loved his family even more. He lived life to the fullest. He worked hard, played hard and loved with all of his heart. He was a lifelong athlete and loved being outdoors. He absolutely adored his kids and was so proud of them. His kids always knew they could count on Jim to find something fun to do whether it was fishing, golfing, hunting, playing darts or sliding down the hill all day on the rare occasions we had snow. He was never too tired to play and made life fun. Jim never met a stranger – and always had a story to tell. Whether it was about firefighting, fishing, hunting or just bragging on his kids – if he saw you, he was going to tell you a story.
Jim's last years were tough. Frontotemporal Dementia robbed him of his independence and many of his abilities, but it never took away his love for us. Even in his last days, when his grandbabies were placed on his lap, he would pat them and kiss their heads.
Jim left this world on July 2, 2020 at the age of 75 surrounded by his family. He was loved all the way to Heaven where his Heavenly Father had made a place for him. He joined his mom, dad, and sister Nancy Phillips along with many family and friends in Heaven on that joyous day. What a reunion that must have been! Leaving to carry on his legacy and to cherish his memory (and retell all of his stories) are his family including sister and brother-in-law Anita and Jimmy McLeroy and their family; wife, Debra; sons and daughters-in-law, Scott and Marisa Carlin, Kevin and Lissa Carlin; daughter and son-in-law, Katherine and Michael Cvejanovich, and his precious grandchildren - Alysa Rahn, Kailey Carlin, Summer Carlin, Luke CVejanovich and Emma Carlin along with many other friends and family. He will be missed but never forgotten.