Norman “Red” Leroy James, of Muskogee, died Wednesday, March 20, 2013 at Jack C. Montgomery VA Medical Center. He was born August 12, 1922 to George and Mary (Douglas) James in Lincoln, Arkansas. As a youth, Norman moved to Muskogee with his family. He graduated from Muskogee Central High School in 1941.
Norman enlisted in the United States Navy on November 24, 1942 and served during World War II on the USS McCook. He performed duties as a Shipfitter First Class on the Navy destroyer for three years and three months until he was honorably discharged on February 11, 1946. Norman’s ship earned four battle stars: for the Normandy Invasion (D-Day), for a battle near southern France, for a time when a German plane riddled the ship with gunfire, and for mine sweeping in the Red Sea.
Norman received the Good Conduct Medal, the World War II Victory Medal, the American Defense Service Medal, the European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal, the Navy Occupation Service Medal and the China Service Medal.
On December 25, 1949, he married Rosa Lee Dye in Van Buren, Arkansas.
Norman worked at Arkhola Sand and Gravel Company in Muskogee. He retired as the plant superintendent after 33 years of service. Norman was a fifty-seven year member of the Masonic Oriental Lodge No. 430, having achieved distinction as a Master Mason. He joined the Veterans of Foreign Wars in 1996 and served as commander. He was a trustee at the USS Batfish for seven years and was sergeant of the honor guard for eleven years, where he performed over 1,200 funerals. He volunteered at the Jack C. Montgomery VA Medical Center, where he served as deputy representative of volunteer services. He had 5,000 hours of volunteer service in VFW 474 and the VA hospital. Norman was also a proud member of the Disabled American Veterans Chapter 7.
He was an active member of First Baptist Church of Muskogee for thirty years. He enjoyed golfing, gardening, fishing and barbecuing with his family and was very fond of homemade vanilla ice cream.
He was preceded in death by one sister, Mildred Eubanks and four brothers, Robert, Elton, Boyd, and Jay James. He is survived by his wife, Rosa Lee of the home; daughter and son-in-law, Susan and Dan Clawson of Broken Arrow; son and daughter-in-law, Doug and Toni James of Edmond; five grandchildren, Rachel Crawford and her husband, Robert, of Broken Arrow; Hannah Maness and her husband, Benjamin, of Dallas, Texas; Matt Clawson and his wife, Lauren, of Norman; Jackson James of Edmond; and Colton James of Edmond; two great-grandchildren, Griffin Crawford and Oliver Crawford; sister Grace Duncan of Muskogee and several nieces and nephews.
Family will greet friends Sunday, March 24, 2013 from 4:00 to 6:00 p.m. at Foster-Petering Funeral Home. Funeral services will be 10:00 a.m. Monday, March 25, 2013 at First Baptist Church of Muskogee with Dr. Lance Sawyer and Bill Crow officiating. Interment will follow at Ft. Gibson National Cemetery, which will include a Masonic grave side service. Pallbearers will be Dan Clawson, Doug James, Robert Crawford, Ben Maness, Matt Clawson, Jackson James and Colton James.
Funeral service arrangements are under the direction of Foster-Petering Funeral Home. Condolences to the family may be made at www.foster-petering.com