James and Willie Mae (Scott) Howard

This article is planned as a surprise tribute to Mr. and Mrs. James Howard by their daughters on the occasion of their 47th wedding anniversary, Nov. 9, 1993. He was 24, she was only 17 at the time of their marriage.

James is one of eight children born to the late Henry Pleasant Howard and Emma Jane Davis Howard. Only three survive: Joe, James and Mary Laverne who is married to Willie Grey Harris and lives in Joliet, Ill. Deceased are Erlis Lee Howard, William Grady Howard, Gracie, Opal Dell Howard Mayberry and James' twin brother, Jessie, who died when only a few months old.

Mrs. James Howard is the former Willie Mae Scott, a 'daughter of the late Robert Turney Scott and Flossie Sego Scott. She too, was one of eight children, five of whom are still living. They are Prentice L. Scott, Felix Truman Scott, Louise Scott Small, Robert T. Scott Jr. and the honoree, Willie Mae Howard. They all live in or near the Oak Grove community.

James grew up during the depression when times were very hard. His father was a share cropper, so they lived in different communities. He attended school at Rock Hill and Chesterfield.

In 1941, James was drafted into military service at the age of 19. He served four years as a military police­man with service in North Africa, 1943, was in Italy, 1944 and France 1944-45 guarding the rail road and supplies to the front lines. He also directed traffic for convoys.

One of his grandsons, Ryan Hayes, loves to hear his Granddaddy tell about World War II. One such story is about his guarding supplies on a train to North Africa. Usually 2 MPs were put together so they could take turns sleeping, but this time they put each man on a car at each end of the train. They were on the road 5 days with only 10 hours sleep during that time. When James got back to his outfit, they had already moved out to another town. He caught a C-47 [his first airplane ride] to join his outfit in France. You guessed it! He slept all the way through. He has kept in touch through the years with two of his army buddies, Keith Robinson of Milwaukee, Wise, and Ernest Humphries of Sparta, TN. A few years ago, he and his wife visited Mr. and Mrs. Humphries in Sparta and relived many of the times they shared. James was saddened to hear of Ernest's death last year.

After returning from the Army, James began working at Odle Chevrolet until he began taking farm training and carpenter training under Attice Jones. He worked many years for Edward Jowers as a carpenter until he opened his own business. In Oct, 1965, he opened Howard's Slaughter House and ran it until the mid-70's. He continued to do carpenter work until his retirement. He enjoys gardening, fishing and working in his shop using his imagination and ingenuity in how to make something work better or designing his own item for a particular need. Willie Mae grew up on a farm within sight of her present home. She attended school at Oak Grove and Lexington High School.

Willie Mae has a first cousin, Marie Scott, who married Joe Howard, an older brother of James. They lived with her parents in the Oak Grove community. When they would go to Chesterfield to visit Joe's parents, they would ask Willie Mae to go with them to play with Laverne, Joe's younger sister. At this time, James, still a boy, would ride Willie Mae on the bars of his bicycle. She was only 12 when he was drafted into service because of World War II. After four years in the service, he returned home and saw Willie Mae walking down the road with a group of young people as was the custom at that time. He asked her if she wanted to ride and from that time on, they began dating, and dated for seven months before eloping. James had bought Willie Mae a dress and had Marie alter it and keep it at her house. One day, Willie Mae told her Mom she was going to Prentice's store to get some shoe polish for her Saturday of polishing shoes. James met her at Joe and Marie's house and the four went to Corinth, Miss., where James and Willie Mae were married Nov. 9, 1946.

They are the parents of two daughters, Jimmie and Wanda. Willie Mae stayed home with the children until they were in the 7th and 8th grades. She also kept three of her nephews, Bruce Small, Tony and Danny Renshaw. She made all of the girls' clothes, most of the time without even a pattern. Wanda remembers getting her first ready-made dress when she was in the 6th grade. This was very exciting for her at the time, but she now realizes just how much love and effort had gone into dresses her Mom had made. This is a skill Wanda is thankful her mother taught her.

In 1962, Willie Mae went to work at Salant and Salant, working there until it closed. She then worked at Commodore Apparel and at Decaturville Sportswear before retiring. Her hobbies are cooking, sewing, reading and yard work. She and her husband have always had a garden, sometimes two, every year. Her summers are busy times keeping up with the canning and freezing. All the family looks forward to her good cooking, especially at get-to­gethers. Wanda says she is a natural in the kitchen, and seems to have passed it on to her daughter, Jimmy and granddaughter, Jessica. James and Willie Mae are members of Oak Grove Baptist Church.

Their older daughter, Jimmie Kay, graduated from LHS in 1966 and attended the University of Tennessee at Martin. She now lives in Casselberry, Fla., with her 9 year old son, Corey Alan Carter. She works in Orlando as an optician for Drs. Serros and Ramirez. She enjoys aerobics and working in the yard. Corey stays busy with baseball, taekwondo, and playing with his friends. He and his mother like to spend time at the beach building sand castles and collecting shells. He always enjoys visiting Tennessee and would probably move here if given the chance. He loves his grand­mother's biscuits, oatmeal and her stories. Being with Poppa is always fun too, whether its fishing in the pond, making sling shots, talking, or making rhymes. Jimmie cherishes the qualities of honesty, loyalty, fairness and thankfulness her Tennessee parents instilled in her.

Wanda, the other daughter, is married to Larry O'Neal Hayes. They have two children: Ryan O'Neal Hayes, a junior at LHS, and Jessica Lynn Hayes, who is in the 8th grade at South Haven School. They live on Hwy. 22A about five miles out of Lexington. Wanda attended school at Oak Grove for 4 years, before the consolidation of county schools, then went to Pin Oak 4 years and graduated from LHS in 1967. She and Larry were married Feb. 6, 1971. She began drawing house plans in 1978 so she could stay at home with her children but still work. Since April 1988, she has worked as a drafts person for Hayes and Son Construction. Her husband is a 25 year employee of MagneTek-Century. They are members of the Palestine Cumberland Presbyterian Church where Wanda is a SS teacher, also works with the youth group and the outreach committee. Her hobbies are any kind of arts-crafts, and sewing. Both her children are involved in school activities. Ryan is a Babe Ruth All-Star and works part time for G. E. Williams Furniture Co. His hobbies are hunting, baseball and drawing. Jessica is the 1992-93 Miss South Haven. Her hobbies are arts and crafts, drawing, Softball, gymnastics, cheerleading, sewing and competing in beauty revues. Wanda would like to thank her parents for bringing her up in a Christian home and teaching her that an honest, hard-working person can fulfill her dreams if she will only have the courage to stand up for what she believes. She says her mother is a very loving wife and mother, always giving of herself unselfishly. We extend congratulations for 47 years of happiness, and wish for James and Willie Mae many more blessed years.

Lexington Progress November 3, 1993 "An Interesting Person"

James H. Howard born 11 February 1922 - 19 Jul 1994 buried Oak Grove Cemetery Lexington
Willie Mae (Scotts) Howard born 13 Dec 1929

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