James Warren Lemley

Photo of James  Warren  Lemley
James Warren Lemley, 71, of Van Buren died Thursday, October 28, 2010 in a local hospital after a lengthy battle with cancer. He was born September 5, 1939, in Fort Smith. He was a retired teacher and coach with his last 29 years of service being at Fort Smith Southside and a lifetime member of the Arkansas Athletics Association. He was of the Methodist faith, a longtime resident of this area. He was preceded in death by parents Fay & Gladys Lemley and granddaughter Cassandra Michelle Lemley. He is survived by his wife of 47 years, Millie Lemley; two sons, Evan Lemley and wife Brooke of Oklahoma City; Hays Lemley and wife Jackie of Van Buren; a sister Jean Ballard and husband Bill of Van Buren; several cousins; five grandchildren, Allison and Tyler Lemley of Van Buren, Ben, Logan and Eli Lemley of Oklahoma City. Funeral service will be 10 a.m. Monday, November 1, 2010 at Ocker Memorial Chapel, Van Buren with burial at Gill Cemetery, Van Buren under the direction of Ocker Funeral Home, Van Buren. He was a 1957 graduate of Van Buren High School. He earned his bachelor's degree from the College of the Ozarks (Clarksville) in 1961. He also earned a master's degree from Henderson State University in 1968. His passion in life was being an educator and coach. He started his coaching career at Siloam Springs in 1961 then had stops at Smackover, Mountain Grove, Missouri, Arkansas High in Texarkana, St. Annes in Fort Smith, and finally Fort Smith Southside where he spent 29 years coaching football, girls basketball, girls track and field, and boys track and field. In total, he was a teacher and coach for 41 years. During his time at Southside he was a part of ten state championships in girls outdoor track and field, two state championship in girls indoor track and field, and six state championships in football. In 1993, 1994, and 1995 he was selected as AHSCA Coach of the Year in girls track. In 2005, he was inducted into the Van Buren Hall of Honor. In 2010, he was inducted into the Arkansas Track and Field Hall of Fame. The family will visit with friends from 2-4 p.m. on Sunday, October 31, 2010 at Ocker Funeral Home, 700 Jefferson Street, Van Buren, Arkansas Pallbearers will be Barry Lunney, Robbie Jones, David Pollard, Steve Peoples, Bret Bricker, David Loyd, Jim Wyatt, Jim Rowland, Mickey Johnson, Phillip Plunkett, Bob Gatling, Daryl Henry, Lee Lewis, Steve Haaser, Pat Patterson, Ralph Santopietro, Jim Hatchett, Wayne Haver, Wayne Sims, Kevin Tiffee, Jon Grant, Pedro Sadler, Eric Burnett, Nick Lasker, Winston Turpin, Travis Biggs, Richard Loomis, Brent Griffis, Charlie Smedley, Tom Cantwell and Wayne Freppon. Honorary pallbearers will be former athletes, teachers and coaches. Memorial contributions may be made to the Southside Athletics Booster Club, C/O Southside High School, 4100 Gary Street, Fort Smith, Arkansas 72903. Online tributes:

Published October 30, 2010

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