Feb. 10, 1931 - April 6, 2018
Jack Turner James, 87, of Waco, passed away Friday, April 6, 2018, at Stony Brook Assisted Living of Hewitt. A memorial service will be held at 2:00 p.m., Tuesday, April 10, 2018, at Grace Gardens Funeral Home Chapel located at 8220 Woodway Dr., with Rev. Neil McGowan and Rev. Alberto Melis officiating.
Mr. James was born on February 10, 1931 in Kildare, Texas, to William Oscar and Maggie (Turner) James. He spent his teenage and young adult years picking cotton and working as a roughneck in the oilfields. He followed through on his desire to get a college degree and after a stint in the Army, where he was stationed in Wiesbaden Germany as a Staff Sergeant from 1951-1954, he was able to attend college on the G.I. Bill. He received his Bachelor's and Masters' degrees from Stephen F. Austin State University.
Jack worked as a teacher, coach, assistant principal and principal at Kildare, Valley View, Gainsville, Clarendon, Gladewater, and LaVega Texas schools. In 1976 he became superintendent at LaVega Independent School District where he completed his career upon retiring from the district in 1990. During his tenure he earned many local as well as state awards, commendations, and accolades for his tireless work for his school and children's education. His philosophy was your circumstances don't limit you. You can do anything you want to. Jack constantly challenged himself and believed that's what life is about. "When there ceases to be a challenge for people, those are the people you see sitting on the porch with a dead look in their eyes."
He became a member of the Jim Bayou Masonic Lodge in Kildare, Texas in 1957. He received his 60 year service award pin this past year. He was a member in the Jim Bayou Lodge, White Rock Lodge, Bellmead Lodge, and the Baylor Lodge. He served in various offices including District Deputy Grand Master of the Grand Lodge. He was a member of the Karem Shrine, Scottish Rite Bodies of Texas, and member of the York Rite of Texas.
Jack was a life-long athlete who enjoyed running, martial arts and lifting weights. He was an avid reader and loved traveling.
He is survived by his wife, Janis Pearce James, and his three children, Roy Earl James and wife, Kathy, of Hewitt, TX, Richard Lee James of Tyler, TX, and Leslie Ann Landry and husband, Steve of The Woodlands, TX; his sister, Tressa Carpenter of Monroe, LA, grandchildren Samantha Landry, Sara Landry of The Woodlands, Greg Price, Eric James and Brooke James all of Dallas, TX, and many nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his first wife, Dorothy Ann James; and his brothers, Irvin James Sr. and Sam James.
For those desiring, the family has suggested the Alzheimer's Association https://www.alz.org/ for memorial contributions.
The family expresses their grateful appreciation to the staff of Stoneybrook Memory Care Unit and Bluebonnet Hospice for their excellent care of Jack.
The Guest Book is available at www.gracegardensfh.com.