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FEATURED William Henry CUSTOMER: Jim Atkinson

By William Henry September 21, 2019
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The Tradition Continues...

About 5 years ago, we lost my step-dad, Jim Shamblin, after a long battle with Post-Polio Syndrome.  Luckily for me, Jim and I developed a special bond over the years that I will always treasure, and he sealed it with his beloved collection of William Henry knives.

Jim Shamblin was a “man’s man” and had the kind of life you only read about in adventure novels.  As a teenager, he joined the Merchant Marine during WWII, and was the sole survivor when the tanker he was serving on was torpedoed by a Japanese submarine off the coast of India.  After floating on a drum for a week, Jim was rescued by another US tanker.

Jim and his stellar knife collection

Jim ended up joining the Army and served in post-war Germany, and eventually in Vietnam, where he survived a helicopter crash.  He became an engineer and worked on projects for the Department of Defense, NASA, the US Air Force, as well as international companies and foreign governments. And, in his retirement, Jim wrote 6 novels, largely autobiographical, about some of the amazing episodes in his life.

Over the years, Jim had collected weapons, and especially exotic knives, from the many countries and cultures he experienced over his career.  But, when my Mom got the great idea to give him William Henry knives for his birthday, that collection took on a new luster, and always put a twinkle in Jim’s eye.

One of the most profound moments in my life, the day I truly understood just how much Jim cared about me and respected me, was on his deathbed, when he stated emphatically:  “I want Jimmy to have my knife collection.”   It’s an honor I take very seriously.

The knife collection, featuring 9 William Henry knives, is one of my most prized possessions, and is the perfect reminder of a remarkable man who lived an epic life.  Needless to say, they are displayed prominently in my home.  And, the tradition continues: on my birthday, Mom adds to Jim’s knife collection.

-Jim Atkinson

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