On April 7, 2023, James Houston Ripley passed away peacefully surrounded by all his family. While the past year has been a difficult one for James, it has given him cherished “bonus” time with family and friends. A visitation will take place on Tuesday, April 11, 2023 at 1:00 pm at Commerce Funeral Home. A funeral service will follow beginning at 2:00 pm at the funeral home. Interment will be at Shiloh Cemetery in Klondike.
James was loved and respected by all who knew him. He lived a very full life, and had many different careers. He began work as an electrician at Hamp Malone and Campbell Soup. He then taught Electrical Trades at Paris High School. It was after teaching that he found his true passion as a dairy farmer. James also through the years worked at Sherwood Medical, Tyco, Covidien, Luckett Crane Service and Hunt County. He also owned and operated Ripley Produce and Ripley Sand and Gravel.
James was born on January 23, 1940, in Deport, Texas (Lamar County), to James Houston Ripley, Jr. and Tommie Tyre Turner Ripley. He grew up in Deport. After losing his parents at an early age, he lived with his grandparents, Lonnie and Mattie Turner.
On November 5, 1960, James married Shirley Ann Doolin, in Deport, Texas in the Ripley homestead house. They made their home in Deport until March of 1970 when Shirley’s father, Clarence Doolin, was killed in a tragic tractor accident. James and Shirley moved their family to Commerce to help her mother, Eneva, with the family farm. Residing in Commerce for the remainder of his life, James found his true love of farming. He had a dairy farm for over 19 years, and then went into raising beef cattle and operating a produce business after retirement. He so enjoyed his Saturday mornings at the Commerce Farmer’s Market, and provided many in the area with fresh produce for their families.
In February 2022, James came to the difficult decision to sell his cattle as he could no longer physically take care of them. Though this gave him more time to spend with family and friends, he missed his cows and that life as he had known it. Suffering with the increasing effects of dementia and congestive heart issues this past year were hard, but James persevered with a smile and positive attitude. He loved joking with his nurses and care givers, and they all loved him and made his days full and bright.
Left to carry on James’s legacy is his wife of 62 years, Shirley Ann (Doolin) Ripley; his daughter and son-in-law, Renee and John Walker of Klondike; his son, Randy Ripley of Commerce; his daughter-in-law, Amy Ripley Lawson of Commerce; grandsons John Travis Walker, Jacob Walker and Shay Ripley; special extended family Jose Mondragon, Zoyla Ortiz, and their sons Victor and Jonathan and his faithful K-9 companion, Jake.
James was preceded in death by his parents Tommie Tyre Turner Ripley and James Houston Ripley, Jr.,his grandparents Lonnie and Mattie Turner, and honorary grandaughter Stormee Light.
Serving as Pallbearers are John Travis Walker, Jacob Walker, Shay Ripley, Jose Mondragon, Chris Black, and Don Zachary.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to Shiloh Cemetery Association, 43 County Road 2055, Klondike, TX 75448.
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