James Edward Mankin was born May 15, 1930 to William Thomas and Myrtle Opal (Rushing) Mankin in Hawley, Texas. He passed from this life on January 4, 2016 at Community Medical Center in San Angelo.
He was raised on a farm at Truby, Texas where he grew up among nine brothers and sisters. He attended school at Truby, Noodle-Horn and Anson before joining the Army in 1951. He served with distinction during the Korean War earning two Bronze Stars for valor. He served for many years in the Army Ready Reserve following the war.
James married Dora Ione Grissom on November 19, 1953. They lived in Truby where they raised two sons, James Randy Mankin and Michael Leon Mankin.
He also ran the Truby Musical, a country-western stage show that was held the first Saturday night of each month in the old Truby school building. He not only organized the show, but served as its emcee and helped to develop many talented acts that appeared there. It was in that role that he was able to introduce a young Jeannie Stevenson (Jeannie C. Riley) to the audience as she made her first public appearance.
James made a career in the oilfield but was also a farmer, raising cotton and hogs in Jones County before selling out and moving to Eldorado.
He worked as an oilfield pumper, roughneck, driller and tool pusher. He retired from Wes-Tex Drilling Company in 1990 when he turned his attention to fishing.
James and Dora spent many winters at Port Aransas where they made countless friends from among the “Winter Texans” who flocked to the island each season. He loved catching flounder during the winter and hosting his friends and family to fish fries each summer in Eldorado. Failing health ended his trips to Port Aransas but fishing there was never far from his mind.
James was always quick with a story or a joke and was known to be something of a coffee shop philosopher. He made many friends throughout is life and only lamented the fact that so many of them had left this life ahead of him.
He was a member of American Legion Bev McCormick Post 257 of Eldorado and participated in its meetings until failing health precluded his attendance.
James was preceded in death by his father, William Thomas Mankin, mother Myrtle Opal Mankin Olney and step-father Gene Olney; siblings Joe Tom Mankin, Robert William “R. Dub” Mankin, Betty Ruth Mankin Brown, Dorothy Mankin Scales and Karie Olney Best.
He is survived by his wife Dora with whom he shared 62 years of marriage; sons Randy and wife Kathy of Eldorado and Mike and wife Rhonda of Aztec, New Mexico; grandchildren Holly Studer and husband Jeff of Chandler, Oklahoma, Dr. Sarah Mankin of Lubbock, J.L. Mankin and wife Jacy of Big Lake, and Courtney Clayton and husband Brannon of Plano; and six great-grandchildren.
He is also survived by sisters Mary Francis Andrews and husband James of San Angelo and Marilyn Olney Grant of Abilene; brothers Larry Olney and wife Ramona of Hawley and Jerry Lynn Olney and wife Carla of Hamlin; brothers-in-law Randall Grissom and wife Mary of Irving, Darrell Grissom and wife Maxine of Abilene, and William Earl Grissom of Lawn; and sisters-in-law Ellie Jo Kirk and husband Kenneth of Truby and Sharon Rister and husband John of Hamlin.
Visitation is planned at Kerbow Funeral Home, 210 W. Gillis in Eldorado, on Thursday, January 8, 2016 from 9 a.m. until 9 p.m.
James was a member of Community Baptist Church in Eldorado and it is there that the family hopes you will join them in celebration of his life.
Service is planned for 11 a.m. on Friday, January 9, 2016, with burial to follow at the Eldorado Cemetery where military honors will be rendered.
Pallbearers will be Ronnie Rister, Danny Rister, Langly Rister, Steve Andrews, Telesforo Martinez and Ethan Dennis.