James Wycliffe Mims was born in Midland, Texas on October 18, 1923, the son of Percy J. Mims, also a Midland native, and Maurine Littlejohn Mims who came to Midland from Tyler to teach school. He graduated from Midland High School in 1941 and entered Texas A&M where he was a member of the Field Artillery Band. He entered the Army in January 1943, trained as a combat engineer, studied at Boston College in the Army Specialized Training Program, and then was sent to the Military Intelligence Training Center, Camp Ritchie, Maryland where he qualified as a Photo Interpreter. He was sent overseas in the summer of 1944, and was assigned to the 24th Infantry Division then at Hollandia, Dutch New Guinea. He made the assault landing on Leyte, Philippine Islands, October 20, 1944, and served on Mindoro, Lubang and Mindanao, P.I. His father, Percy Mims, died in May of 1945. James, following discharge from the service in October of that year, entered the family insurance business, Mims & Crane, with his mother. This became Mims & Stephens when, in 1946, they were joined by Edwin L. Stephens, "Steve," of Dallas. Steve became one of his best, lifelong friends. James loved serving people and did it with integrity for the many years he was involved in the business. He appreciated the folks who traded with him, as well as the many wonderful people who worked alongside him in the business. One of his greatest joys was when his son, David, later joined him in the business. James married Mary Alice Bell of Rankin on November 25, 1947. To the union was born son James David Mims, and daughters Nancy Jo Mims Geers and Martha Lea Mims Manulik. There are also five grandchildren, Mik Manulik (wife Nicky) of Richmond, Virginia, Morgan Manulik (wife Elena) of Durango Colorado, Mason Manulik (wife Haley) of Fort Worth, Allison Mims Greer (husband Henry) of Midland, and Melanie Mims Curtis (husband Will) of Waco, and 12 great-grandchildren. He was loved dearly by them all, and was lovingly referred to as "Paw Paw." He and Mary (Munner) loved their grandchildren and "greats" and were absolutely wonderful grandparents. James joined the Midland Rotary Club in 1945 and the Midland Jaycees in 1946. He was a member of the Midland Masonic bodies, the VFW, and the First Baptist Church where he served as a deacon, Sunday school teacher for many years, and building and pulpit committee member. He served nine years on the Board of Trustees of Wayland Baptist University in Plainview, one year as chairman. In 1954-55, he served on the Midland City Council. He has been a director of the Problem Pregnancy Center, the Midland Centennial Commission in 1985, the Midland Industrial Foundation, and the Midland Chamber of Commerce, and was a founding director of the Western State bank. His hobbies included reading, fly fishing, and model railroading. He was one of the best, at both his fishing and his model railroading. As his fishing buddies would say, he had an eye for the dry fly. His beautiful railroad layout that he lovingly crafted for over 50 years was carefully dismantled about five years ago by those friends who shared his passion for the art and re-assembled at one of their homes. It is still today being enjoyed, used and added on to by his "railroading buddies." That gave him great pleasure. He recently had a book published, "From Midland to Mindanao," which shared his letters home from the time he was drafted until he came home from his service in the Philippines. He was very proud to see his book available for order on the "E-net"! His three greatest loves were his God, his family, and his church. He was a graceful man, full of love, wit, and wisdom, and will be sorely missed by all who knew him. James was preceded in death by his daughter Nancy, in 2000, his son, David, in 2011, and sweetheart, Mary, in 2014. He is survived by his sister, Margaret Hill of Odessa; his daughter, Martha Mims Manulik and husband Matt; his daughter-in-law, Becky Mims; and by a number of grandchildren, great-grandchildren, nieces, and nephews. Honorary pallbearers are The Rotary Club of Midland, James's Sunday school class, his Wednesday and Saturday breakfast club, and his model railroading buddies. Memorials may be made to the Nancy Jo Mims Geers Scholarship at the Permian Basin Area Foundation at 200 N Loraine St # 500, Midland, TX 79701, to First Baptist Church of Midland at 2104 W Louisiana Ave, Midland, Texas 79701, or The Rotary Club of Midland at P.O. Box 561 Midland 79702. A visitation will be held at Ellis Funeral Home on Thursday, February 16, 2017 from 12:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. and on Friday, February 17, 2017 from 8:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. Burial will be held at Fairview Cemetery on Friday, February 17, 2017 at 3:00 p.m. A celebration service will be held Saturday, February 18, 2017 at 2:00 p.m. at First Baptist Church. Online condolences may be offered at www.ellisfunerals.com .
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