James “Jim” Massey was a beloved husband, father, grandfather, and great-grandfather during his incredible 85 years of life. He passed away peacefully at his home in the early hours of Saturday, May 6, 2023.
Jim had a long and full life. He was born on March 20, 1938, in Strawberry, Arkansas, to two loving parents, Stayton and Mary Zoe (Doyle) Massey. His father held a maintenance position with Lawrence County and the Strawberry School District, and his mother was a homemaker. Jim was the eldest of five, with two younger sisters and two younger brothers, whom he loved to tease. He graduated from Strawberry High School and married his high school sweetheart, Willene (Taylor), on July 14, 1957. They moved to Indiana for a few years, where they started their family. Twila Jeanette was the first of four, and when they discovered Willene was having twins, they moved back to Strawberry. In 1961, their family of three grew to a family of five with the birth of James Taylor and Jeffery Allen. However, heartache struck just two years later when they lost Jeffery Allen; thankfully, the good Lord saw fit to bless them with another child, Pamela Machell. Jim was blessed to enjoy ten grandchildren and twenty-six great-grandchildren and through them all, left a legacy of love spanning three states.
An avid Nascar fan, Jim visited the Indianapolis 500 several times and could often be found watching recorded races with his grandchildren bouncing around the living room. He loved evening rides to the farm with Willene to count the cows, and as the great-grandchildren got older, those truck rides turned into mule rides. Once a serious and stern man, he would light up the minute a great grand walked into the room. Some say grandchildren are the best, but for Jim, it was the great-grands.
A very involved community member, Jim was a member of the City Council where he was recorder/treasurer, a beloved Bible teacher, deacon and elder at the Strawberry church of Christ, and a dedicated cattle farmer. He worked as a tool & dye maker in Batesville. After working for 39 years, he retired from GDX and continued working on his farm as a cattle farmer.
He was preceded in death by his parents, sister, Vannah (Melvin) Martin; sister, Linda (James) Boles; son, Jeffery Allen; son-in-law, Rick Cook; and great-granddaughter, Willow Cook. He is survived by his loving wife of nearly 66 years, Willene; two brothers: Sam (Ellen) Massey, of Bourne, TX, and Doug (Karen) Massey, of Siloam Springs; and three children: Twila Massey, of Strawberry; James (Terrie) Massey, of Strawberry; and Pam Cook, of El Dorado. He leaves behind ten grandchildren: Tai Kirby, Centerton; Trent (Ginger) Polston, Lake Charles, LA; Thomas (Samantha) Polston, Strawberry; Terra (Kim Larimore) Polston, Newark; Kari Ring, Cave City; Jeffery (Holly) Massey, Judsonia; Blake (Jodi) Massey, Strawberry; Lori (Chris) Blevins, Lynn; Taylon (Daniel) Steele, El Dorado; Jared (Miranda) Cook, Tulsa, OK. As well as a herd of great-grandchildren, nieces, nephews, church family, and friends, all of whom he loved dearly.
Visitation will be held on Wednesday, May 10th at Strawberry Church of Christ, 80 N. Main Street, Strawberry, AR, beginning at 10am. The service will follow at 11am, with interment to follow immediately at Ward Cemetery, off Hwy. 230 outside Strawberry. Pallbearers will be Chris Blevins, Jared Cook, Blake Massey, Jeffery Massey, Thomas Polston, Trent Polston, and Daniel Steele.
Jim requested a sermon for his funeral, giving everyone a chance to hear the Gospel, but his family believes, his life was a testament to his faith. To know Jim was to know his love for the Lord. He believed strongly that we were to go forth and love others, sharing our earthly possessions, knowing the true reward lies in Heaven. In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made in honor of Jim and his giving heart to Ward Cemetery ℅ Bank of Cave City at Strawberry; The Children’s Home, 5515 Walcott Road, Paragould, AR, 72450; Rick Cook Servant’s Heart Memorial Scholarship, Harding University Advancement, Attention: Steven Lake, PO Box 12238, Searcy, AR 72149; or the charity of your choice.