Veteran finds peace in Carrboro

By Meghan Cooke
Staff writer

James Stallings, a Korean War veteran with a PhD in economics, has traveled to 24 African countries.
Commons Photo by Meghan Cooke

He was an Army commander during the Korean War. He had breakfast with Milton Friedman, a famous economist. He has traveled to 24 African countries. And now, James L. Stallings is taking it easy in Carrboro.

In the span of his lifetime, Stallings, 76, has traveled across the world and has accomplished much, but he had humble beginnings.

In 1948 the Indiana native attended Purdue University, where young men were required to take ROTC for their first two years of schooling.

Stallings laughed as he described the worst part of his early college years: the difficult dating climate.

“The GIs were coming back from World War II, and a 17-year-old freshman like me had no chance with a girl,” he said.

Perhaps he was lucky or was just being modest about his chances with the ladies because while he was in college, he began dating Evelyn Fay Gard, the daughter of one of his professors, who eventually became his wife.

Meanwhile, tensions were building in world politics. Stallings’ professor of military science and tactics said that things were going to happen in