James L. Golden
CHANDLER — James L. Golden passed away February 27, 2022 at home surrounded by family. Services for Golden, age 88, are scheduled for 10:00 a.m. on Friday, March 4, 2022 at Hilliard Funeral Home with graveside services following at Edom Cemetery. Dr. Shelby Davidson will officiate with friends and relatives participating. Visitation will be held on Thursday evening from 5:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m. at Hilliard Funeral Home
James was born August 21, 1933, in Tenaha, Texas, to Jesse Leon Golden and Vera Lee Alexander Golden. He graduated from Van High School in 1951 where he played baseball and basketball. After high school James joined the U.S. Marine Corp. and was honorably discharged as a staff sergeant at age 23. During his military service, he saw action in the Korean Conflict.
A college career began at Henderson County Junior College (Athens) where he played basketball. In 1959 he graduated from Howard Payne University with a bachelor’s degree in History, English and Secondary Education. Later he graduated from Hardin-Simmons University with a master’s degree in Administrative Education. Additional graduate work was done at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas and the University of Kansas.
James taught and coached in Paint Rock, Texas for four years before returning to Van High School. The next 23 years he taught speech, drama, and debate and later served as assistant principal for two years. James moved on to the Alba-Golden Independent School District, serving as high school principal for one year and superintendent for three years. At Alba-Golden he was instrumental in a student tree planning project for the campus. James ended his career in education at Alba-Golden with a total of 33 years in education.
Being a Marine contributed to James’ strong conviction for discipline. (Even with a “board” of education.) Many of his former students loved and appreciated him because he was a strong disciplinarian with a penchant for doing the “right thing”. James believed there was “no free lunch” and that everyone should live by the Golden Rule.
James was a Baptist and was ordained as a minister when he was seventeen years old. He pastored churches that could not afford a full-time minister, including John Baptist Church, First Baptist Church Paint Rock, and First Baptist Church Chandler. He served as interim pastor at Edom, Ben Wheeler, Brownsboro, and Murchison.
Welding was a trade that James pursued supplementing his teaching and bus driving salary. After retiring from education, James had a welding business for many years.
Deer hunting was a priority for James, as he taught his grandsons the art of the hunt. He provided rifles for them and taught them how to use them.
Life was diversified for James. He was a Master Mason for 56 years and was elected to the Van School Board, serving as president. He was inducted into the Van ISD Hall of Fame in 2018 and was honored to be selected by Brookshires to participate in their Heroes Flight to Washington D.C. in 2019.
James was preceded in death by his father, mother, and brother.
Survivors include his wife Mary Cathryn, daughter Sandra and husband Don, daughter Karen Lee and husband Gary, daughter Karen Laree and husband Brad, son Keith and wife Julie. Grandchildren are Kelli and husband Chris, Kory and wife Alesha, Kody and wife Brooke, Nathan, Katie, and Colton. Great-grandchildren are Grace, Camille, Isaiah, Griffin, Gentri, and soon-to-arrive Landry “James”.
Serving as pallbearers will be David Cotton, Roger Dutton, Greg Evans, Don Gilchrist, Clint Kellam, and David Ramsey.
A scholarship was established in James’ honor in 2010 from donations from his book, Traveling the Golden Road, an autobiography of his colorful life. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to the James L. Golden Scholarship Fund: First State Bank of Ben Wheeler; Attn: Lena; PO Box 97; Ben Wheeler, Texas, 75754.