James graduated in 1949 from John Marshall High School in Los Angeles, CA. He furthered his education graduating from the University of Southern California with a degree in Agriculture. James served his country proudly in the United States Air Force during the Korean War. He spent 30 years working as a painter for the Ford Motor Company before retiring in 1990. James then spent several years checking gas lines throughout the United States. He later worked for Lowes in the tool department for 10 years. James was united in marriage to Karla Hull on July 9, 2016 in Grain Valley, MO. They attended the First Baptist Church in Oak Grove. James was a Mason for over 60 years and became a Master Mason in the 1970’s and a Shriner for over 50 years and was also a clown and worked in the Shriner’s Circus.
Survived by his wife, Karla Hull of Grain Valley, MO; children, Sara Lemons and husband Greg Bino of Blue Springs, MO, Karin Martinez and husband David of Omaha, NE, Terry Nelson of Independence, MO; step-children, Karl Sicoli of Kansas City, MO, William Richards of Sedalia, MO, Steve Gribble of Missouri; grandchildren, Jennifer Pennington, Justin Bino, Bridgette Nelson and husband Josh, Emily Nelson, Whitney Gellhaus and husband Dan, Joshua Martinez and wife Sara, Thomas Martinez, John Martinez; great-grandchildren, Zoe Pennington, Lainey Pennington, A.J. Pennington, Noah Gellhaus, Elijah Gellhaus, Linnaya Gellhaus, Lily Gow, Ryan Gow, Nathaniel Nelson, Mason Nelson. James is preceded in death by his first wife, Annie Laurie Johnson; second wife, Bettie Gribble-Nelson; parents, George and Eva Nelson.
His family will receive family and friends from 5:00 – 6:00 p.m. Wednesday, October 19, 2022 at Meyers Funeral Chapel, 1600 W. Main St, Blue Springs, MO. Funeral service will begin at 6:00 p.m. at the chapel. A private family burial will take place at the Blue Springs Cemetery. The family suggests that memorial contributions be made to the American Cancer Society. Memories of James and words of comfort for his family may be shared at meyersfuneralchapel.com.