James Burwell Urquhart, Jr., was born in Columbia, South Carolina, on 1 July 1912, son of James B. and Alice G. (Childs) Urquhart. He attended the University of South Carolina, where he was Manager of the Football Team and a member of the German Club, Cotillion Club, and SAE Fraternity. After graduation with the degree of Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering, he was employed as a Civil Engineer in Columbia. He was commissioned Ensign in the Civil Engineer Corps of the US Naval Reserve on 28 January 1941, was later transferred to the US Navy’s Civil Engineer Corps, and subsequently attained the rank of Captain, to date from 1 July 1960.
Called to active duty in April 1941, he was on duty in the Public Works Department of the US Marine Corps Air Station, Parris Island, South Carolina, at the outbreak of World War II in December of that year, and remained there as Assistant to the Public Works Officer, and later as Public Works Officer, until August 1942. He was then ordered to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, where he served more than two years as Officer in Charge of Construction (shipyard and floating dry dock construction). During the latter period of the war he was Officer in Charge of Construction (floating dry dock) at Stockton, California. He was released to inactive duty status in March 1946.
His next tour of duty was spent at the Public Works Center, Guam, Mariana Islands, as Operations Officer and Executive Officer, 30th Naval Construction (Planning, Construction Projects) with Task Force 43. In that connection he served in Washington, DC, from December 1955 until August 1956 as Construction Officer for DEEP FREEZE, the Navy’s Antarctic Expedition.
From August 1956 until February 1961 he was Assistant Public Works Officer and Deputy District Public Works Officer, with additional duty as Deputy Officer in Charge of Construction and Classified Material Control Officer at the Naval Academy, Annapolis, Maryland. He next served as Director of the Maintenance Division, Bureau of Yards and Docks and in April 1962 transferred to the Officer of the Chief of Naval Operations, Navy Department and was serving as Assistant Head of the Shore Facilities Branch when ordered detached in October 1964 for duty with the Field Support Activity, Washington, DC.
Captain Urquhart had the American Defense Service Medal; the American Campaign Medal; World War II Victory Medal; and the National Defense Service Medal.
He was married to the former Eva Marie Williams of Beaufort, South Carolina, and had a son. Captain Urquhart died in Columbia, South Carolina on 12 September 1976 and is interred in Elmwood Memorial Gardens, South Carolina.