James Marion Hales, 85, of Pensacola, passed away peacefully on Tuesday, July 25, 2017.
Jim was born on October 5, 1931 in Wilmington, North Carolina. His mother Mary Gore Chambers, father James Hales, and his stepfather Bruce Chambers predeceased him, as did his wives, Mazie Freeman Hales, and Jolyne (Jan) Blanton, his sister Juanita Hales Miller, and brother Houston Hales.
Jim received his undergraduate degree from East Carolina College, where he played on the college basketball team. Jim later went on to receive his Master’s Degree in Education. He was an elementary teacher for many years before transitioning, in 1980, to become a Principal at Warren Elementary School and then in 1987 at Yniestra Elementary School, a role that he continued until his retirement in June 1994.
Jim married Mazie Freeman Hales on May 19, 1956, in Greenville, North Carolina. They spent several years in Manahawkin, New Jersey, and in the late 1960’s, moved to Pensacola Beach, Florida. Jim and Mazie enjoyed many happy years at the beach with their friends and often hosted visiting family members. They had great adventures during their 55 years of marriage, which included being active members of the Star Dancers Dance Club and could “cut a mean rug” on the dance floor. In the 1970’s, Jim was a member of the Pensacola Shrine Club and participated in Shriner parades, which brought smiles to the many children who enjoyed his clowning around. Not to be forgotten were the many Maltese dogs they loved and pampered through the years.
Jim was an active member of Gulf Breeze Baptist Church where he taught Sunday School and was a member of the choir. After he moved to Azalea Trace Retirement Community in 2012, he joined First Baptist Church of Pensacola.
Jim took care of Mazie during her years of declining health and after her passing in 2013, he married Jan Blanton. Jim was by Jan’s bedside each day until her passing in 2016.
Jim is survived by his brother-in-law, Kermit (Joe) Miller; nieces and nephews, Glen Miller and wife Ann and Bruce Miller and wife Diane of Waterford, Connecticut; Kevin Miller and wife Gail of Quaker Hill; Connecticut, Linda Watson Hicks and husband Tom of Edmond, Oklahoma; Susan Watson of Raleigh, North Carolina; first cousin Greg and wife Kathy Christoff of Pensacola Beach, Florida and first cousin Richard Podemski and wife Clare of Pensacola, Florida.
A Celebration of Life service will begin at 10:00 AM, Tuesday, August 1, 2017 at Azalea Trace Retirement Community / Willowbrook Court Chapel.
Committal Graveside service will follow at 11:00 AM at Rose Lawn Cemetery, 2942 Gulf Breeze Parkway, Gulf Breeze, FL 32563
Please take comfort in Jesus Christ words "there will be a resurrection and sickness and death will be gone forever." John 5:28,29;Rev.21:3,4
My husband, Jim, and I were fortunate to be Mazie and Jim's next door neighbors on Pensacola Beach for many years. Mazie and I shared the same birthday, just a different year. They were such a delight. Jim would sit in his lawn chair and oversee the renovation of our house. I will never forget the 2 of them peeling old wallpaper off in their church clothes when they stopped by to check on me, as it was a big project and my hubby hadn't retired yet.
I have so many fond memories of this couple. I remember walking to the east end of Sabine Drive to watch fireworks with them. Mazie and Jim were hand in hand. They were a striking couple - both tall and dripping in Southern charm.
What great neighbors and friends they were.
Lila S. CoxGulf Breeze, FL
Donna OrrMcKinney, TX