Services for James Harold Gaddy will be 11 a.m. Wednesday, July 3, 2013, at the Dougherty Baptist Church, with his son-in-law, Pastor Jim Burgess, officiating.
James went peacefully to be with the Lord on June 29, 2013, after a long and very courageous battle with cancer. He was born Dec. 29, 1931, at University Hospital in Oklahoma City, and was preceded in death by his mother, Jacqueline Dee Brown; adoptive parents Newton Joseph Gaddy and Nettie Mae Gaddy; his wife of 30 years, Shirley A. Gaddy; brothers Jan R. Brown and Robert D. Brown; sisters Ted and Irene; and stepchildren Judy Smith Pruitt, Michael Smith and Vicki Smith.
James is survived by his sister, Betty Crownover; daughters Alanda Burgess and husband Jim, Amanda Johnson and husband Buster and Waukita Swales and husband Joe; and son Terry Kim Gaddy and wife Becky. He is also survived by stepson David Smith and stepdaughter Becky Smith. He was blessed with 13 grandchildren: Matthew, Levi, Gabriel, Jonathan and Benjamin Johnson; Caleb Burgess, Amanda Burgess McInturff, Lydia Burgess Dantzler and Katya Burgess; Brad, Bryan and Bryce Gaddy; and Michael Ray; along with 13 great-grandchildren and additional step-grandchildren.
James grew up during the Depression in Dougherty, and was raised by his parents, Newt and Nettie Gaddy, learning early in life to make do with very little. He graduated from Dougherty High School in 1949, attended East Central University and continued on to the "School of Hard Knocks University," where he learned how to survive and thrive with a positive attitude no matter what the circumstances.
He was married to Tahwannah Hendricks in Fort Worth, Texas, in 1950 while beginning a long career there with the Santa Fe Railroad. Very soon, he moved his young family back to Dougherty and, in 1961, bought a home in Davis, where he lived for the remainder of his life. He married Shirley Smith in 1969.
He had a long career with the Santa Fe Railroad, working as an agent and telegraph operator at the Dougherty, Davis and Ardmore Depots until his retirement at the age of 55. In addition to the railroad, he was involved in several other ventures, most notably as a restaurateur, owning Pick's Tamales. He was an outdoorsman, a masterful list maker, had a passion for golf, flying, motorcycle and auto racing, landscaping and gardening, and was an avid coin collector.
James always looked for the best in others. He was never at a loss for a story or jokes to tell, and had several lifelong friends. He believed in initiative. His daily motto was "as long as you have your health, you have everything." His personal faith in Jesus Christ was a consistent source of comfort and strength throughout his lifetime. If there is one message he would want to leave with everyone, it would be to "always give the other person the benefit of the doubt, and put yourself in their shoes."
The family is grateful for the numerous friends and relatives, medical workers, home health care and hospice volunteers who were by his side during his final days.
Online condolences may be offered at halesfuneralhomes.com.
Services are entrusted to Hale's Funeral Home, Davis.