Our community sadly lost a pillar in the community on Monday, October 5, 2020, when Mr. James Nowlin, favorably known as “Mr. James” or “Bubba” passed away from a bout with illness. Funeral Services will be held Saturday October 10, 2020 at 10am at King Solomon Baptist Church located at 1050 Minda St.
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He was a proud son of George Dean Webb and Margaret Nowlin-Bray. James was the older sibling to his brother Bennie who he loved dearly. He was a precocious child and spread joy everywhere he went. James was always a ray of sunshine known for his smile and laughter. Thanks to his Christian upbringing, James learned to have faith in God. He accepted Christ as his personal Savior at an early age.
Mr. James enjoyed school because he really liked making friends. He was always a beacon of light to others. He matriculated through public schools in the neighborhood in Bryan, Texas and was a diligent student. He could run like the wind and really excelled on the track team at E.A. Kemp High School. He set notable records running the 100 yard dash. He was so fast that his friends nicknamed him “Cheetch”. He motivated his teammates and empowered them to run their best. He loved having a good time celebrating their wins. James proudly graduated from Kemp High School in 1961. And attend all their reunions over the years.
His union with Brenda Dumas-Nowlin made him a proud dad of eight wonderful children – six sons and two daughters that made his heart smile. Being a wonderful role model, he instilled good principles in his children to work hard and to love their families. He provided for his family and continued being an integral part of their lives until his last days.
Mr. James’ working career was extensive as he retired from Greyhound Bus after 25 years of wonderful service. He went through an intensive security clearance to drive a charter bus for George W. Bush, Sr. He also drove for Abilene Independent School District for 17 years and CityLink Bus for 5 years. He was dearly beloved by his supervisors, co-workers, patrons and students.
As a servant of our Lord and Savior, he drove one hour to fulfill his role of Deacon at Anson’s Bethsaida Baptist Church. It was his continued faith in the Lord that kept him going despite life’s challenges.
For his 75th birthday, his contributions in the community were well-noted by the honorable Mayor Anthony Williams. Mr. James was presented with a plaque that reads: “Milestones are a part of everyone’s life.” We celebrate and honor the 75th birthday of one of Abilene’s distinguished citizens, James Nowlin.” It is my honor as Mayor to join with family and friends in wishing him a “Happy 75th Birthday” and in celebrating this momentous occasion. I am pleased to proclaim in the city of Abilene, July 25, 2018 “James Nowlin Day” on his plaque from Anthony Williams Mayor of Abilene, Texas.” Mr. James was deeply humbled by this honor and reflected on this commendation often as a momentous milestone in his life.
Being a longtime resident of Abilene’s Pasadena Heights Neighborhood, he readily took the lead to insure that the neighborhood was at its best. His home was such a fun gather place for games, food and good times. He was a skilled and competitive domino player; so much so, he earned the title “The Patriarch of West Texas Dominoes.” Mr. James also loves to barbecue (BBQ) – and had multiple grills, some massive, in his back yard to prove it. He was well known for his BBQ, banana pudding and catering large events.
He shared a beautiful life with his wife Shirley even through her lengthy illness. He was a kind and devoted husband to her. For nearly 25 years, Mr. James was the primary caregiver to her and he fulfilled this loving duty with pride. He was known for saying that he had found peace within and the means without to keep his head above water. "She's my main concern," he said." ... But I know it's important to take care of yourself, too, even though that's sometimes really difficult." Mr. James said his faith in God, and regular visits to his Anson church, help sustain him. He also tries to take time out for personal reflection and healing.
Mr. James credits support to the home health professionals visits to his home for about six hours every day to help with Mrs. Shirley. He was then able to drive a school bus for Abilene Independent School District and visit a few friends at the G.V. Daniel senior center.
As a husband, father, grandfather and friend, he was the embodiment of caring and unconditional love. His legacy will live on in the hearts and minds of everyone he interacted with as well as those he reached but never met. He will be greatly missed for his sense of humor and concern for others. A smile, kind word, respected father, neighborhood father and yard hood mechanic (he could fix anything.) Everyone loved Mr. James. And the loving community of Abilene will truly miss him.
Heaven has certainly gained an angel. Go get your wings Mr. James for a life well lived.
James is survived by his wife Shirley, a host of children Reginald L. Dumas, Auwayne E. Dumas, Myra J. Nowlin, Gregory C. Nowlin (deceased), James Glenn “Lil’Bit” Nowlin (deceased), James Lynn “Bigon” Nowlin, David W. Nowlin, Michael “Hank” W. Nowlin, and Margaret B. Nowlin.
Grandchildren: Sharrod Dumas (deceased), Serrita Dumas, Raelyn Dumas, R’Jalen Dumas, Tiniece Nowlin, David Michael Nowlin, Nehemiah Alexander, Shannon Kennard, Kamden Smith, Ian Nowlin, Ashley Nowlin, Tanyshia West,
Great-Grandchildren: Tyson Dumas, Tauren Dumas, Trevor Dumas, Jordan Robinson, Kobe Cadel Robinson (deceased),
Skylar Rae Robinson, Dae’Vion Cadel Mims.
Great-Great Granddaughter: Kelayla Vion Lee-Dumas.
Step-sons: Billy Lowery; James Lowery (deceased); Sammy Lowery.
Immediate family still living: Gwendolyn Jerkins, (Earnest) of Caldwell, Texas, Sharon (Mickey) Cyrus, (Roy),
George (Jerry) Webb, Wanda Webb, Billie J. Smith, (Ronnie), George D. Webb Jr. (Chic), (Carolyn) and
Pamela J. Albright all of Houston, Texas. Milton Nowlin, Uncle in Bryan, Texas, Charles Nowlin, First Cousin
in Abilene, Texas, Lester Nowlin, Cousin in Arlington, Texas.
Immediate family who have passed: George Dean Webb, father, Ruby F. Webb, wife, Margaret Nowlin-Bray, mother, Mrs. Earious Willis-Webb, Grandmother, Mr. James (Jim) Webb Grandfather, Lee Nowlin Grandfather, Laura Mae Johnson-Nowlin Grandmother, Bennie Lee Nowlin, brother. Services entrusted to North’s Funeral Home. Online condolences may be made at www.northsfuneralhome.com