Obituary – James Henry Hellums

Published 1:15 pm Monday, July 1, 2019

James Henry Hellums, 90, died Wednesday, June 26, 2019, in Vestavia Hills, Ala.  The funeral service will be Wednesday, July 3, 2019, at 11 a.m. at Oxford-University United Methodist Church with Rev. Chris McAlilly officiating.  Burial will follow in Oxford Memorial Cemetery.  Visitation will be prior to the service beginning at 10 a.m. in the atrium at the church.

 Born in Jefferson, Texas, to the late Henry Grady and Lillie Clark Hellums, James attended Mississippi State before enlisting in the United States Air Force and serving during the Korean War.  Upon his discharge, he returned to Mississippi and completed his degree at Ole Miss.  A lifetime Methodist and a longtime member of Oxford-University United Methodist Church, Mr. and Mrs. Hellums were the first couple married in the current sanctuary. 

Mr. Hellums was a charter member of the National Cattlemen’s Association and served on the Lafayette County Soil Conservation Committee, among other community service organizations and boards. Under the direction of Agriculture Commissioner Jim Buck Ross, he was instrumental in collecting and preserving early Mississippi farm implements for the Museum of Agriculture in Jackson. He loved Mississippi deeply and valued the contributions of all citizens.

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In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by his wife, Laverne Sanders Hellums, and a daughter, Alicia Hellums. He was also predeceased by all of his siblings: Gertha, Clayton, Vera, Dwight, Daisy, Winnie, Walter, and Jake. Survivors include a daughter, Sally Woolley, and her husband, Tim, of Birmingham, Ala., and two grandchildren, James Paul “J.P.” Woolley, of Birmingham, and Emily Woolley Taylor, and her husband, Jerry, of New Orleans, La. He is also survived by a host of nieces and nephews whom he loved with his whole heart.

 Memorial contributions in Mr. Hellums’ memory may be made to the Alzheimer’s Association, 225 N. Michigan Ave., Fl. 17, Chicago, IL 60601. In honor of Mr. Hellums’ service to his country, the flag of the United States Air Force will be flown at Waller Funeral Home.

 For further information or to leave an online condolence, please call 662.234.7971 or visit