James McClure Jr.

Published 12:00 pm Monday, July 11, 2016

James McClure Jr., died peacefully surrounded by his children on Friday, July 8, 2016 after a brief illness.  Jim was a lifelong resident of Sardis, Mississippi, respected attorney, loyal and generous Ole Miss supporter, loving father and grandfather, avid sportsman, beloved member of the community and a true Southern gentleman.

Jim was born in Sardis, Mississippi, on November 25, 1924, the son of the late James McClure and Helene Powell McClure. He attended Sardis schools through the eleventh grade and Sewanee Military Academy from which he graduated in 1942.  After his freshman year at the University of Mississippi where he was a member of Kappa Alpha Order, he received his appointment to the United States Military Academy at West Point from Congressman Jamie L. Whitten.  He graduated in 1946 and was commissioned in the Corp of Engineers as Second Lieutenant.  He was stationed in Germany as part of the U.S. Army of Occupation after World War II.  Jim always expressed gratitude and appreciation for the privilege he had in attending the Academy, and whatever successes he might have had, he attributed in a large part to his training and experiences at West Point.

Although Jim loved the military and wanted to continue his service, due to family illnesses, he resigned his commission as a First Lieutenant in 1950.  He graduated from the University of Mississippi School of Law with distinction in 1953.  His Law School honors included President of the Law School, Chairman of the Honor Council, Chairman of the Moot Court Board, head of his legal fraternity, Phi Delta Phi, and a member of Omicron Delta Kappa Honor Society.  He served as a Mississippi State Senator from 1952-1956, being named as the chairman of the Mississippi Commission on Interstate Cooperation and being a part of many important legislative enactments.  Jim was always proud to tell that his most important accomplishment as a Senator was meeting his future wife, Angele` Kazar.  They were happily married for 53 years until her death.

Email newsletter signup

After retiring from the Mississippi Senate, Jim devoted most of his time thereafter to the practice of law in Sardis as a partner of McClure and Shuler, which he successfully continued to do for more than 60 years.  He served as Sardis City Attorney and was a member of numerous organizations including the Mississippi Bar Association, Panola County Bar Association (Past President), Holy Innocents’ Episcopal Church Mission Committee, 75 Club of Jackson, Lion’s Club, American Legion and the Veteran of Foreign Wars.

Jim continued to be actively involved with the University of Mississippi and was elected President of the Ole Miss Alumni Association in 1985 and was inducted into the University of Mississippi Hall of Fame in 2007.  He also was elected to the inaugural class of the University of Mississippi School of Law Hall of Fame in 2010.  His love for Ole Miss was further reflected in his sponsoring various academics and athletic scholarships as well as service as Chairman of the Lamar Order and being a member of the Intercollegiate Athletic Committee, Chancellor Search Committee, Chancellor’s Trust, Ole Miss Loyalty Foundation, and many other committees and societies.  Over the years, he attended as many Ole Miss football and basketball games as he could. Jim and his late sister, Tupper McClure Lampton, established a lecture series at the Law School in honor of their parents and had many outstanding lecturers including five U.S. Supreme Court Justices, with the most recent being Justices Antonin Scalia and Elena Kagan in December 2014.  Justice Scalia and Jim shared a love of hunting and would compare notes on hunting techniques during their time together in the Mississippi woods.      

Jim is survived by his four children, Circuit Judge James (Jimmy) McClure III and his wife Sydney, Angele` Anne McClure Thompson and her husband David, Susan McClure Mays and her husband Tad, and Jay Justin McClure.  He also leaves behind six grandchildren, Will and Taylor Mays, Anne Kate Thompson, and Justin, Claire, and Molly McClure, as well as many nieces and nephews and adopted family member, Claudie Mae Dickens.

Jim loved God and Jesus Christ, his country, and his family and was passionate about his church, his friends, hunting, fishing, his Ole Miss Rebels and his home.  He never met a stranger and was always there to help provide guidance and assistance to anyone who asked or was in need.  He was wise, kind, fun loving, so full of life and will be truly missed.

The family would like to extend a heartfelt thank you and gratitude to the many skilled and compassionate doctors, nurses and caregivers who crossed paths with Jim through the years, especially during these past few months, as well to his many dear friends, hunting and fishing buddies and colleagues whom he cherished.   

Services will be held at Holy Innocents’ Episcopal Church in Como, Mississippi, where Jim was a lifelong communicant, on Tuesday, July 12 at 2 p.m. Visitation will be held at the church on Monday, July 11 from 5 – 7 p.m.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests that gifts be made to Holy Innocents’ Episcopal Church, P.O. Box 391, Como, MS 38619; the Ole Miss Alumni Association, P.O. Box 1848, University, MS 38677; or the West Point Association of Graduates (Class of 1946), 698 Mills Road, West Point, NY 10996.

Ray-Nowell Funeral Home – Sardis Chapel is in charge of arrangements.