Born to earth on Oct. 9, 1945. Born to heaven on Nov. 10, 2023, at the age of 78 years.
Services were held at Cedar Crest Baptist Church in West Monroe, LA with Dr. Greg Clark, and Dr. Ryan E. Jennings officiating. Burial was at Holmesville Baptist Church cemetery under the direction of Farrar Funeral Home.
He is survived by his wife of 56 years, Frances Johnston Jennings, children, Rynda Yvonne Jennings Lofton (David), Dr. Ryan Edward Jennings (Annette), and Robyn Janelle Jennings. His grandchildren, Nathan Ryan Jennings, Delaney Michael Drumright, Ryan David Lofton (Hannah), Emma Irene Jennings Peters (Brennan), Aubrey Rynn Drumright, Sarah Grave Lofton, Daniel Edward Jennings, and Reid Owen Lofton, two brothers, Roy Eugune Jennings and Marion Al Jennings (Anita). Sister-in-law Dorothy J. Eathorne, brother-in-law, Van Johnston, and a host of friends and relatives.
Serving as pallbearers were Nathan Jennings, Daniel Jennings, Ryan Lofton, Reid Lofton, Brennan Peters, and Jimmy Andrew Lenard.
James was raised in Downsville, LA and graduated from Calhoun High School in 1963. His father, a purple heart and silver star recipient from WWII, was tragically killed when James was only 2-years old. His mom, Grace, widowed at the age of 27, then raised him and his three siblings on her own.
He met the love of his life, Frances Ruth Johnston Jennings, at the Dairy-Etta on a Sunday afternoon, February 21, 1965. James and his buddy, J.D. Hammons proceeded to sit behind Frances in the Movie theater in Farmerville. James asked her to hold his drink so that he could eat his popcorn and as the day progressed, he asked if he could take her to his church that Sunday evening. Thus, their first date was at Aulds Chapel Church in Downsville.
In Oct. of 1965 he received a letter from Uncle Sam requesting his presence in a foreign war. He attended boot camp at Fort Polk, LA. and then to Fort Ord, CA. Later he was sent to Cu Chi, Viet Nam, where he served as a medic’s aide.
Upon his return from Viet Nam, he moved to south Louisiana in August, 1967 to work for Otis Engineering. He returned to Downsville in December of 1967 to marry his bride. James and Frances then settled in Houma, LA for the next nine years to start their family together.
The couple, with three children in tow, proceeded to move around the world as James climbed the ranks at Otis Eng. He worked in over 36 foreign countries. The family lived for six years in Northern Scotland, in a beautiful little town called Montrose. He was then transferred to Houston in Spring, TX for three years. Then sent to Singapore in Southeast Asia for four years. In 1988, James was once again transferred to Houston. When his career ended with Otis Eng. In 1991 James launched a new business venture, AMERITEX Lawn Care Service was born. In 1995, James and Frances returned to Downsville, LA (wanting to return to their roots) and to be closer to Frances’ ageing father. James worked in the gas well-testing field for a short time and then finished his career as a security guard at Glenwood Hospital (three years), then to St. Francis Hospital )10 years) in Monroe, LA.
At every step of the way James and Frances served the LORD in a local church. In Scotland they served at Brechin Baptist Church where James was ordained as a deacon. In South Texas he served at Sawdust Road Baptist Church in The Woodlands. In Singapore, he served at the International Baptist Church. In Downsville, he served at Holmesville Baptist Church and for the last 22 years serving at Cedar Crest Baptist Church in West Monroe, LA. In each of these churches he took on various roles such as Deacon, Sunday School Teacher, Senior Adult ministry coordinator, Royal Ambassadors Leader, missions’ team member and coordinator, outreach leader and many other roles as needed. Participating in mission trips was also considered one of his blessings. In 1996, he joined The Gideons’ International and greatly enjoyed helping them share the WORD of the LORD to the ends of the earth. Never shy, James loved to share the story of the Gideons with various churches.
James never met a stranger. He loved to talk to everyone…literally everyone. Often when dining at a restaurant or entering a business, he would take time to speak with everyone who worked there. His loved for people, friendly banter and his heart for sharing the gospel made an impact wherever he went in the world.