James Allison Holifield Sr., 80, of Ellisville, died at Forrest General Hospital on Thursday, March 14, 2019, after a lengthy illness.
Visitation will be Saturday, March 16, from 5-8 p.m. at Ellisville Funeral Home. Funeral services will be Sunday at 3 p.m. at Ellisville First United Methodist Church. Burial will follow in the Ellisville City Cemetery. Rev. Phillip Dearman, Rev. Glenn Martin and David McGowin will officiate. Ellisville Funeral Home is in charge of the arrangements.
Mr. Holifield was born Aug. 9, 1938, in Ellisville to William Forest Holifield Sr. and Martha Azzie Haynes Holifield and was a lifelong resident of Ellisville. He was a graduate of Ellisville High School, Jones County Junior College and the University of Southern Mississippi.
James Holifield will always be remembered as a man of character and integrity, who led by example. One of his favorite sayings, when asked by his family to do something, was, “Sure! I’m just here to serve, what few years I have left.” And serve he did — his Savior and his church, his family, his country and his community.
James was a lifelong member of Ellisville United Methodist Church, joining at the age of 12. He loved his church and served His God and church through almost every leadership position in the church. He ended his years of service only when illness made that necessary. At this time he was the church Lay Leader, Lay Delegate to Annual Conference and longtime Sunday school teacher. His favorite way to worship his Lord was by sharing his beautiful bass voice through the church choir for more than 50 years. He was a man of great faith and leaves the legacy of service to his family and friends.
James Holifield, “General Bull Moose,” loved his family. He and his wife Pat began their married life in Ellisville and then expanded their family to include three wonderful children and untold numbers of dogs. He even fell in love with his first cat ever — a gift from God to comfort and love him his last years. His favorite family time was the numerous trips to Disney World, which included friends as well as family. The testimony of his devotion to and example set for his children is the way they have chosen to live their lives with their families.
A proud member of the United States Navy, James loved and proudly served the United States of America. He began as a member of the local Navy Reserve and fulfilled his active duty in Key West, Fla., aboard the U.S.S. Bushnell. He always recalled his Navy days with love and pride. The last few years of his life he was usually seen wearing his prized U.S.S. Bushnell cap and standing tall in support of his country.
James also loved his hometown and served it with faithful leadership and great enthusiasm. As a local businessman for 35 years, he got to know, love and respect the people of Ellisville. James was a people-person who never met a stranger. He could often be found at one or more of the local coffee group meeting places. He was instrumental in organizing the first Ellisville Business Association and served as its first president. He was a Little League coach, member of Lions International, Jones County Junior College Foundation Board of Directors and Mississippi Consumer Finance Association. He served this organization on the board of directors and as vice president and then president. James also served his beloved city as alderman of Ward 4 for 22 years, achieving the Professional Development Level awarded by the Mississippi Municipal League. In 2012, he was selected to the Mississippi Municipal League Hall of Fame.
James was preceded in death by his parents Forest and Azzie Holifield; brothers W. F. Holifield, Marion Holifield and John Holifield; and sisters Patricia Aline Zuccarelli and Carolyn Holifield.
Survivors include his beloved wife of 53 ½ years Patricia DiMiceli Holifield; son James Allison Holifield Jr. of Knoxville, Tenn.; daughters Suzanne Holifield Millette (Sean) of Bedford Corners, N.Y., and Amanda Holifield Long (Andy) of Long Beach; and grandchildren Caleb James Holifield, Anna Kate Long, William Andrew Long, Alan Benjamin Long and Stephen James Millette.
Pallbearers will be Andy Long, Sean Millette, Kent Holifield, Travis Haynes, Webb Lyon and Richard Wilson. His grandchildren will be junior pallbearers. Honorary pallbearers include members of the Ellisville Lions Club, members of the Boots Jordan Sunday School Class, and the Ward’s Pharmacy and McDonald’s coffee groups.
In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to the Ellisville First United Methodist Church or the Pat and James Holifield Scholarship through the Jones County Junior College Foundation.