The Celebration of Life services for James Robert Royall, 95, will be at 2 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 4, 2013, in the Centennial Chapel of Harvey-Douglas Funeral Home and Crematory. Officiating will be the Rev. Betty Hester and great-grandson, Casey Clinton. Burial will follow in Hillcrest Memorial Park.
James was the eldest of four children born to the late Robert Jackson and Eva Royall. Born Oct. 21, 1917, at Ardmore, he grew up and attended school here. James died Aug. 29, 2013, in a Shawnee hospital following an extended illness.
James and Martha Mae Deatherage were married Nov. 6, 1939, at Ardmore. They were the parents of five children, Jerry Andrew, Kenneth Charles, Nancy, Dorothy Faye and Katherine Ann. He and Martha were married for 36 years until Martha lost her 10-year battle with cancer at the age of 53. Following Martha's death, James moved to Wichita Falls, Texas.
In the freight business for 49 years, James began his career driving a truck for Tyler and Simpson wholesale grocers in 1935. This led to becoming an agent of his own freight line operated by him and his wife. He was also a freight hauler for Campbell express "Humpin to Please," of Wichita Falls, Texas, until retiring in 1985. Always a Jack of all trades (and master of most), James began doing lawnmower repairs, worked on a Christmas tree farm, learned how to build computers; his last endeavor was making frames for jigsaw puzzles and pictures, which he quit doing at the age of 93. James loved lawn maintenance, gardening and striper fishing. His longest lasting hobby began in the '60s, making pin cushion chairs out of tin cans. James called these hobbies, but his children called them work, other than the striper fishing.
James returned to Ardmore from Wichita Falls in 1992, residing with his eldest son, Jerry. James, Jerry and Jessie Eubanks loved going to Ponder's Restaurant for breakfast. They became know as the "Ponder's Papas." Time passed, Jessie moved, Jerry passed away and James became the only "Papa." He continued going to Ponder's until it closed. He then began going to the Prairie Kitchen (seven days a week, if possible) and was known as "Papa, Poppa and Pop." When the waitress would ask if everything was good, his reply was always, "It's Prairie Kitchen ain't it? It's always good."
James was not a man who talked religion, but he read his Bible and would be the first one to tell you, he knew who held his hand. He would say without "Him" I wouldn't still be here. James asked everyday to be able to do one good thing for someone that day, and it would be a good day. A caregiver to all, James was the kindest, caring and giving man who enjoyed every day to its fullest.
James was preceded in death by his parents, Robert Jackson and Eva Royall; his first wife and mother of his children, Martha Mae; and his second wife, Mary; a brother, Leonard Royall; a sister, Lucille Bergman; a son, Jerry Royall; and an infant grandson, Jerry Holder.
He is survived by a son, Kenneth Charles; three daughters, Dorothy Pitts, Kathy Phillips, Nancy Miller and her husband, Lane, all of Ardmore; a brother, Bob Royal, Tribby, Okla.; sister, Iline Seals of Louisiana; nine grandchildren; 16 great-grandchildren; three great-great-grandchildren; the Deatherage in-laws; and numerous nieces, nephews and extended family.
Serving as bearers will be Josh Miller, Dillon Parr, Brandon Ford, Billy White, Jonathan and Gary Phillips.
Services will be directed by Harvey-Douglas Funeral Home and Crematory. Condolences may be sent online at www.hdouglasfuneralhome.com.