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James Randall Walvoord (1945-2014)

James Walvoord

James Walvoord

James Randall Walvoord was born in Ft. Worth, Texas in June 17, 1945. At that time his father was pastor of the Rosen Heights Presbyterian church and he spent his early years as part of that church with his older brother John Edward.

James was the son of John F. and Geraldine Walvoord a prominent family associated with Dallas Theological Seminary.

In 1950 the family moved to Dallas where his father was named President of Dallas Theological Seminary. The family life in Dallas involved being part of the extended family of students and friends associated with the Seminary. During this time James attended Shady Brook and public schools in Dallas. In the summers the family traveled with their two sons to Bible Conferences across the U.S. and Canada.

James loved to sing and dance and laugh and was always quick with an original rhyme or joke. He was kind, gentle, patient and accepting of everyone. Throughout his life James instantly made friends with everyone he met. He was beloved by all. His gentle spirit and love of lively conversation led to many life-long friendships.

In 1957 at the age of 12 James moved to the Austin State School. He spent three years in Austin. While at the school he met Mary Lou Zissa, who would become a life-long friend. They first met when James asked her to dance at a social function at the school.

In 1960 the Denton State School opened in Denton and James moved to Denton where he was to spend fourteen years from 1960 to 1974. He was active in the choir, in drama, enjoyed trips with his friends and spent vacations in Dallas with his family. He had a vision for a chapel at Denton State School and prayed that one would be built at the school. He never forgot that the building of the chapel was an answer to his prayers and he sang there often with the choir.

After leaving Denton State School James spent eight years at Happy Hill Farm in Cleburne.

The place James loved the most was Marbridge Ranch in Manchaca, Texas near Austin. In January 1988 James moved to the Ranch and lived there almost 27 years. When he first came to Marbridge he prayed earnestly that a chapel would be built at the Ranch. And again his prayers were answered. He sang often in the chapel and at churches in the area for almost two decades. While at the Ranch he attended the Manchaca United Methodist Church.

For most of his time at the Ranch James had a weekly Bible Study in his room at the dorm and often hosted a “movie night” where he shared a movie from his extensive library of videos. At Marbridge he was reunited with Mary Lou after years of losing touch with each other. They considered finding each other a miracle. They enjoyed more than twenty years as close friends at the Ranch until her death on February 19, 2014.

James always had a strong personal faith in God and a security in God’s eternal promise to him. This security was seen James through all kinds of adversity and struggles with his physical and mental disabilities. He overcame his disabilities with a deep capacity to love and a genuine interest in others.

James died at Baylor Regional Medical Center in Plano, Texas on December 23, 2014 after a short illness at 69 years of age.

Updated: January 16, 2015 — 7:23 AM

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  1. I didn’t know of James’ passing. He was a fine tenor in my Marbridge Choir for 5 years. What a lovely man!

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