Mr. James Orville McCoy was born on Thursday, August 16, 1945, in Fort Worth, TX to Odie Lee McCoy, Sr. of Oakwood, TX, and Vera Pearl Person McCoy of Corsicana, TX. At the time, James’ father was in the U.S. Army and stationed at Fort Leonard Wood, MO. After Daddy McCoy was discharged from the Army, the family moved to Fort Worth where James and his older brother Odie, Jr. were born, joining his older sisters Mary Franklin and Bobbi Batton. The family lived in Fort Worth for several years before returning to Corsicana. They later moved to Waco, TX, about 50 miles east of Corsicana. Growing up in Waco, James was educated in the Waco ISD at J. H. Hines and graduated from the historic A. J. Moore High School in 1963. At his mother’s insistence, James participated in the high school marching band.He developed his lifelong skill as a musician with his favorite instrument being the saxophone.
Being a true patriot and following his father’s example, James joined the United States Army in 1966 and served honorably as an E-5 Sergeant, Personnel Records Specialist, completing his basic training in Leesville, LA, and broadening his horizons and developing a global perspective while stationed in Bad Hersfeld, Germany. He was honorably discharged from the Army on February 27, 1969, a distinctive date in his life history: Fifty-three years later, he transitioned to eternal rest on February 27, 2022, a soldier in the Army of the Lord.
James made many lasting friendships in high school and in the community…one of which resulted in his meeting his life partner, the former Eleanor Lee Jones. They married July 1, 1972. This union was blessed by the arrival of Michael Anthony, Orva Denise, and Jara Lynette who joined their oldest brother Jimmy Lee in creating a lifetime of love and respect. James always placed priority on family first. He was always the quiet background supporter of the Annual Jones Family Christmas Eve Parties, and he worked tirelessly to make memories and preserve connections by sacrificing to ensure his family could attend theAnnual Hammond-Batts Family Reunionacross the country every single July for over 40+ years. Despite economic circumstances, which sometimes were very challenging, he tuned up his trusty 1978 Brown & Green Dodge Maxi-Van and then his comfy 1998 Tan Suburban SUV and ensured his family reached destinations both far and near… Las Vegas, Detroit, Los Angeles, Dallas-Fort Worth, New Orleans, Washington DC, San Francisco, West Palm Beach, Atlanta, Houston, St. Louis, Chicago, San Antonio, Abilene, Memphis, Austin, the Bahamas, Cozumel (Mexico), and down home to Hammond, TX. Thousands of miles were traveled so that the children and grandchildren could learn their rich family history.
James shared a ministry through song throughout his life and recordedfour CD’s, most notably his first release in 2011, After the Storm. This first release includes original vocals and saxophone by James and encourages those who are facing a season of sorrow. The release and acclaim for After the Storminspired him to formalize his efforts through launching Shamgar Productions. Shamgar Productions’ latest release is the inspirational “James McCoy Live at East Waco Farmers Market.”
As loyal members of Toliver Chapel Missionary Baptist Church, James and older brother Odie, Jr. sang for many occasions while youngest brother Curtis shared his poetic talent. Special projects included the regionally recognized McCoy Brothers Gospel Group with James, Brother Odie, and Musician Doris Ellis, the Don Degrate Delegation, and vocal performances with daughter Jara.
Being an excellent provider and with an entrepreneurial spirit, James was a blessing to countless citizens in the City of Waco as a housing inspector for the Waco Housing Authority for 25+ years. James also owned McCoy’s Roofing, Picture Perfect Photography, and Shamgar (Music) Productions which all offered incomparable customer service and value to Central Texas over many decades.
James attributed his long and full life to his love of wellness and fitness and enjoyed prayer, meditation, communing with nature, running, playing tennis, boating, jet skiing, andmost of all kayaking along the Brazos River. He completed his first 5K Run at 55 years old and 20 years and many 5K’s later, also celebrated his 75th birthday with a 5K Run!
James never met a stranger and offered wise council to anyone he crossed paths with on topics including wellness, nutrition, self-esteem, faith, the human connection and experience, entrepreneurship, work ethic, patience, endurance, and brotherly love. He was unselfish with his time and mentored countless young men and women about leading purposeful Christian lives.
In a special proclamation delivered by McLennan County Commissioner Patricia Chisolm Miller on Sunday, February 20, 2022, James’ commitment, dedicated life work, and singular community contributions were honored. They included his service as one of the organizers of the initial Juneteenth Celebration on Elm in Waco and the Doris Miller Memorial Fundraiser.
He is preceded in death by grandparents, Frank James Person Sr., Ethel English Person, Thomas McCoy, and Uzzie Brown McCoy; devoted father, Odie Lee McCoy, Sr., loving mother, Vera Pearl Person McCoy with whom he celebrated her Centennial “100th” birthday in 2021; father-in-law, Leonard Jones, Jr., mother-in-law, Eula Brown Jones, and brother-in-law, Charles Lyndon Jones; aunts, Arizona McCoy, Cherry McCoy Speed, Odessa McCoy Thomas, and Laverne Person Livingston; uncles, Casey McCoy and Frank James Person, Jr.
Having nurtured family bonds throughout the years, James will be greatly missed by his loving wife Eleanor Lee Jones McCoy “Ella,”; children, Jimmy Lee Parhm (Tammy) of Grand Prairie, TX, Michael Anthony McCoy (Mona) of Albany, GA, Orva Denise McCoy and Jara Lynette McCoy (Nolan) both of Waco, TX; grand-children, Raeshun Denise McCoy Presha, Cameron Alexander Parhm, Myles Stevenson McCoy, Madison Jones McCoy, and Tristan James McCoy-Hawkins; great-grandson, Khyrin Presha Williams; brothers, Odie Lee McCoy, Jr. (Vivian) of Waco, TX and Curtis Weldon McCoy of Cedar Hill, TX; sisters, Mary Franklin of Los Angeles, CA and Bobbi Batton of Sacramento, CA; sisters-in-law, Allene Jones Johnson and Carolyn Jones King both of Waco, TX; uncle, Orville Daniel Person, Sr. (Nell) of Fort Worth, TX; special friends, Jeannie Anderson, Lilla Benson, Doris Bilton, Bill “Boomer” Collins, Sam Ellis, and Johnnie Mary Talton; and many nieces, nephews, cousins, special classmates, tennis partners and countless sorrowing friends and adopted daughters and sons. The legacy lives on for a life well lived.