Jim passed as he lived, tapping his foot to a bluegrass song. His favorite hobby was writing songs and playing music with a local band, the Seldom Herd. Jim had beautiful hands and used them to deftly pick a guitar and banjo, hold a harmonica, crack pecans, and teach his daughters to drive a stick-shift in the winding Texas Hill Country. He infused his family with an appreciation for songs and music and, more importantly, words, their meanings, and the important stories they could tell.
Jim was a devoted and liberated father, often serving as carpool dad for piano lessons, swim meets, Girl Scout cookie deliveries, and summer camps. He was the father who asked children about what they were reading, how they were doing in school, and where their dreams would take them. He was a caring listener, who knew all sides of an issue and chose to remain informed, rather than political.
Jim was born in Watertown, Tennessee and moved to Texas at six weeks old, where he spent the rest of his life. He graduated from Goldthwaite High School where he played all sports and served as captain of the football team. After an honorable discharge from the United States Air Force, Jim earned a Bachelor of science degree from Texas State University and married Mary Helen in Alvin, Texas. He was spoiled by Mary Helen until his last day. No one could make a sandwich, salt a ripe peach, or bake a fresh pan of cornbread any better than Mary Helen.
Jim earned a Master’s of education degree, also from Texas State, and was a certified educational diagnostician and school counselor. He became a proponent of play therapy during a long career in public education. He was president of the Breakfast Lion’s Club in San Marcos and served a number of community and professional associations. He loved the Texas Longhorns and the Texas State Bobcats and preferred listening to games on the radio.
When diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease over ten years ago, Jim accepted it with dignity but aimed to keep his mind and body strong. He walked miles and lifted weights, read four books a week, researched the disease, and prepared his loved ones for each progression.
As a life-long member of the Church of Christ, Jim looked forward to a joyous and heavenly reunion with those who preceded him in death, including his mother and father, Alene and Ernest, and beloved aunts, uncles, cousins, and dear friends.
Jim is survived by his loving wife of 56 years, Mary Helen’ and his siblings and their spouses, Esther and Fred, Farrell and Vena, and Danna and Edgar Lee. He is also survived by his adoring daughters and sons-in-law, Debbie and Floyd and Catherine and Mark. He was blessed by the love of grandchildren and great-grandchildren, including Rebecca, Reed and Makenzie, Keelia and Keegan, Lindsey, Brian, Madison, and Summer, Ryan and Lindsay, and Courtney.
The family wishes to express its deep appreciation for the dedicated staff at Autumn Grove, The Heights and hospice care provided by AMED of Houston, Texas.
Family will receive friends at Pennington Funeral Home in San Marcos at 11 a.m. and a funeral service will be held at noon Tuesday, Oct. 9. Burial will follow at the San Marcos City Cemetery.
If desired, contributions in memory of Jim may be made to the Friends of the San Marcos Public Library. www.friendsofthesanmarcoslibrary.com.
Arrangements by Pennington Funeral Home, San Marcos, Texas 78666, 512-353-4311. www.penningtonfuneralhome.com.