Mr. James “Jim” Ray Koonce, 86, of Sardis, MS, passed away peacefully, on Monday, March 26, 2018 at Baptist Memorial Hospital – North MS, in Oxford, with his wife and a group of faithful friends by his side.
James was born on February 29, 1932 in Yalobusha County, MS. At 19 years of age, he joined the United States Air Force and proudly served his country for 21 years. He served in England, Greenland, Okinawa, and Vietnam. After retiring from the Air Force, he taught welding to young men in vocational education. After returning to his home state of MS, he enjoyed meeting and helping the elderly, gardening both flowers and vegetables, welding and helping anyone that needed his help. He was an active member of Sardis First Baptist Church and a devout Christian. As a member of Gideon’s International, he was dedicated to sharing God’s Word personally and by providing Bibles and New Testaments. He loved his community, working with young people and serving as a volunteer for Batesville Job Corps.
Mr. Koonce is survived by his loving family, which includes, his wife of 64 years, Lamerle Koonce; two sons, Charles A. Koonce (Cindy) of IL and Leslie B. Koonce (Shirley) of VA; daughter-in-law, Nancy Wood (Rick); three grandchildren and six great-grandchildren. He was preceded in death by one son, Steven R. Koonce; five sisters, Mary James, Dot Hincy, Eva Spicer, Ruby Sprabery, and Jony Rusche; his mother, Rose Nell Koonce and his father.
Funeral services will be held at 6 p.m. on Thursday, March 29, 2018 in the First Baptist Church in Sardis. Visitation will be held on Thursday from 4-6pm in the church. Interment will be at 11:30 on Friday, March 30, 2018 at MS Veteran’s Cemetery in Newton, MS. Memorial contributions may be sent to Gideon’s International or the American Cancer Society. Ray-Nowell has charge of arrangements.