SULPHUR, La. — World War II veteran combat pilot, and long-time Louisiana businessman and philanthropist, J.W. Stine, celebrated his 100th birthday on July 22.
When asked to share the secret to living such a long life, J.W. said, “Always be humble and grateful for everything in your life.”
J.W. Stine resides in the home where he and his wife, Dee Dee, raised their family of seven children in Villa Maria, one of many Sulphur subdivisions, he and life-long friend J.C. Carlin began upon returning from World War II.
Although J.W. has been retired for over 30 years, he still has an office inside Stine’s corporate headquarters in Sulphur, La. Three of his sons have also retired from Stine, while three remain active in the business. Seven of his grandchildren are now a part of the business that their grandfather started many years ago.
Jackson William (J.W.) Stine was born to Sulphur residents, Andrew Stine and Elma Landry Stine, on July 22, 1918 and attended Sulphur High School where he played quarterback for four years. He attended Normal College (today’s Northwestern State University) on a football scholarship. He also loved the sport of boxing and was a Golden Gloves boxer.
J.W. married his high school sweetheart, Doris (Dee Dee) Drost on January 14, 1944, just before he was sent overseas to fight for his country in World War II. They remained married for 67 happy years until her passing in 2011. Together they raised six sons and one daughter. They are: Richard, Gary, Janie LaCroix, Jay, twins Dennis and David, and Tim. J.W. now has 31 grandchildren and 71 great grandchildren.
Faith, family and community have always been at the center of J.W.’s life, and these are values he and his wife taught and instilled in their children. As a result, his children continue to keep faith and family a priority in their lives, and take time to serve their communities.
J.W. is a proud father of an accomplished and nationally-known artist, a colonel in the Air Force, a captain in the National Guard, two former Louisiana state legislators, a former Sulphur City Councilman, a former Louisiana Commissioner of Administration, past president of Greater Beauregard Chamber of Commerce, past McNeese State University Foundation president, past chairman of the Boy Scouts of America Calcasieu Area Council, past chairman of the Council for A Better Louisiana, a current member of the Christus Health System Board, and current chairman of Louisiana Association of Business and Industry.
J.W. joined the United States Army Air Corps (the predecessor to today’s United States Air Force) in 1943. Captain Stine flew more than 40 combat missions as a pilot of a B-26 aircraft.
J.W. flew the B-26 Marauder in the 17th Bombardment Group. This group conducted bombing missions against critical targets throughout the Mediterranean, Italy, France and Germany. The Group received the Distinguished Unit Citation (DUC) for its support of the Anzio invasion and another for its outstanding performance over Schweinfurt. For operations in support of the invasion of France, they received the French Croix de Guerre with Palm. A list of his combat missions can be viewed online here.
J.W. and his childhood best friend, J.C. Carlin, opened a construction company in Sulphur after WW II and then a lumber company to supply the construction business, Starlin Lumber. In 1952 J.W. bought out J.C.’s share. He changed the name in 1973 to Stine Lumber. All six of his sons later joined the company.
Stine Lumber Company has been headquartered in Sulphur, La. for 72 years, and employs approximately 850 associates. It has 10 locations throughout Louisiana and one location in Natchez, Miss., with annual sales of more than $200 million.
J.W. is a member of Our Lady of Prompt Succor Catholic Church in Sulphur. He has also been a member of the Knights of Columbus and the American Legion for many years. In 1989, he was awarded Citizen of the Year by the Diocese of Lake Charles.
Giving back to his community has always been important to J.W. Millions of dollars have been given to countless organizations through both personal and company donations over the years.
J.W. Stine celebrated his centennial birthday at a private family gathering on July 22.
“Obviously, Dad touched our lives in more ways than we can count, but he also touched the lives of so many people in our community. We want to share this special 100th birthday celebration with all of our customers and friends as well,” said Dennis Stine, CEO. Stine Lumber Company will host 100th Birthday Celebrations in each of its stores on Saturday, Aug. 4.
“Dad was always so grateful to all of his customers over the years. It is only fitting that we share this milestone with them, and thank them for honoring our dad, and us with their business,” David Stine, VP of Marketing and Merchandising, added.
The first 100 people to walk through the front doors at each Stine location on August 4 will receive a free commemorative J.W. Stine 100th Birthday hat. Those who are not early birds will still have the opportunity to purchase a commemorative hat if they wish, with all proceeds to benefit the VFW. Stine associates will be grilling hot dogs for customers and serving birthday cake and other refreshments on this day.
Stine stores are located in Sulphur, Lake Charles, Iowa, DeRidder, Crowley, Jennings, Natchitoches, Broussard, Walker and Alexandria, La. and in Natchez, Miss. More information about J.W. Stine can be found on the company’s website.