“Another old soldier just left for home”
James Leon (Jimmy) Burrell, Sr. was born Allen Leon Burrell on August 23, 1919, and departed this life on March 16, 2020 at the age of 100 years, 206 days. He was the fourth of 13 children born to James & Lilie Burrell in Goodman, Mississippi. He married Hazel Kesterson on Dec. 27, 1941 in Texarkana, TX, and they had 59 good years together. Drafted into the US Army in 1942, Jimmy was inducted in Camp Shelby, MS, trained in Georgia and sent to serve in France, England and Germany in General Patton’s 10th armored division. On Dec.5, 1944 he was wounded during the battle of Saar River and spent the next 9 months in hospitals before returning home. Jimmy received the combat wounded Purple Heart, Distinguished Unit Badge, European African Middle Eastern service medal, and Thompson machine gun expert marksman medal. On his 100th birthday, he received acknowledgements from Gerry May of KTBS TV, Shreveport, the state of Oklahoma by Rep. Johnny Tadlock, Quilts of Valor by Michelle Hobson and Eugenia Simms and birthday greeting from President Trump and many friends including a quilt and happy birthday song from Lukfata School students.
Jimmy was saved in March 1952 at the Lukfata Baptist Church and remained a faithful member there until his death, serving as a deacon for many years. He was also a Sunday School superintendent and assistant treasurer and served on pulpit, construction, and finance committees. He, Sudie Bunch, and Frank Jackson signed a bank note at one time to keep the church property intact. He served for 16 years on the Board of Education for Lukfata School. For many years he was known as the watermelon man, growing many fields, along with his wife, Hazel, and three daughters. They truck-farmed 5 acres of watermelons, corn, and other vegetables until the daughters left home after graduating from high school. He enjoyed tending to his cattle and visiting with all who came by to purchase vegetables or hay.
He was preceded in death by his parents, wife, Hazel, granddaughter, Alyce Thompson, grandson, Willie Burrell, brothers, Dave, Jack, Herman and Arthur Burrell, sisters, Lucille Barrett, Stella McNeal, Marie Jones and Nancy Burr, and three sons-in-law, Harold Steen, Lindell Parks, and Jody Taylor.
Surviving are his daughters, Mary Pate & husband, David, Janet Parks Taylor, and Zelda Steen, and son James, Jr. & wife, Mary Burrell all of Broken Bow. He also leaves siblings Ollie Yarborough, Betty DeAngelo, Irene Van Winkle and Billy Burrell. Other survivors include grandchildren, Jamie & Ed Pogue, Carla & Steve Henry, Johnnie & Butch Welch, and Donna & Mike Robbins, Jr., Donald Thompson, Dyana Thompson, Heather Steen, Josh & Nichole McCann, Jennifer & Matthew Farmer, Chris Burrell and Becky Barrett. He was blessed with 15 great-grandchildren and 9 great-great-grandchildren.
Funeral services will be held at 2:00 p.m., at Lukfata Baptist Church on Thursday, March 19, 2020 with Bro. Chip Pinkerton officiating. Interment will be at Crown Hill Cemetery next to his wife, Hazel.
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