James Isaac Deaton (“Jim”), 91 (91 years 9 months 28 days), lived life to the fullest until September 24th, 2018 when he passed away peacefully in his sleep. Born in Breckenridge, TX on November 27, 1926, Jim went from a farm and ranch boyhood to a career in oil field servicing with one of the top oil tool Corporations in the country.
The son of John Matthew and Etta Mae Deaton of Breckenridge, Jim was in the school system when there were only 11 grades to fulfill. Because the classes were too full, he was advanced a grade to a smaller class resulting in his education finished after ten years. When asked why he graduated at 16, he said he had learned everything they had to teach. After graduation from high school, the Mayor of Breckenridge asked Jim and a close friend to come by his office where the Mayor strongly encouraged them to enlist in the Merchant Marines to support the war effort. Thinking they were enlisting in a branch of service of the US Government, they complied, not realizing the Merchant Marines was a private enterprise with contracts to deliver supplies to the troops on both the European and the Pacific fronts. They were not officially attached to the USA military. This came to be significant when World War II was over and the GI Bill was offered to veterans for college education assistance. Jim was deemed non-eligible due to not being officially enlisted in the Armed Forces.
Despite the non-military identity, the task of shipping supplies across the Atlantic and Pacific was fraught with peril as German U Boats and Japanese submarines targeted supply lines on both fronts to prevent the Merchant Marines from delivering weapons, ammunition, uniforms and food supplies. On more than one occasion torpedoes were observed streaming in the direction of their ships with intent of destroying the cargo and the men onboard.
After the War, Jim was hired in an oil field supply office near Bowie, Texas where he met Ola Mae Thompson, fell in love and subsequently married. Together they raised three kids with son Jim (North Carolina) and daughters Judy (Oklahoma City) and Marleah (Houston) all surviving. Jim advanced in the oil field industry into servicing and on to sales with BJ Tools who was folded into the giant Hughes Tool Company years later. There Jim moved into executive sales management in Houston travelling all over the world from China, India and Japan to South America. He was promoted to Vice-President of Domestic and International Sales as his last post. During an oil business downturn Jim retired early to be able to play more golf, go fishing and play with Grandchildren.
Jim started playing golf in his late twenties and was an avid participant to the degree that, when he was out of town on field service calls, he would seek the nearest golf course for a quick round before dark, ostensibly creating a small interference with his job performance. His boss discovered the minor lack of job devotion and called Jim into the office with the sternest of warnings of jeopardy for continued employment. From that time forward, Jim did not let the passion for golf supersede his responsibility to work and provide a living to support his family.
Jim Deaton is survived by his Children Jim and wife Vickie, Judy Hughey, Marleah and husband Ken Baird, Grandchildren including Chris Deaton and sister Jamie Smith, Coby and sister Lori Hughey, Joshua and Nathan Baird, Sunny Mays, Mark Strauss and Kelsey Strauss Deaton, 20 Great Grandchildren, and 2 Great-Great Grandchildren. He was preceded in death by wife Ola Mae, brothers John, Max and Glenn and sister Elizabeth, son-in-law Larry Hughey and by his late in life Partner, Bettye Stulting.
The family will have a private gathering to celebrate the life of Jim Deaton. In lieu of flowers, donations are requested to be made to Alzheimer’s Association, Alz.org, to support research to end Alzheimer’s.