September 30, 1923 - August 24, 2018
Service Date August 24, 2018
Service: A brief military service is planned at Dallas Fort Worth National Veterans Cemetery at 11:15 a.m. on Friday, October 12, 2018, followed by a reception for friends and family.
Memorials: If you wish to remember Jimmy with a memorial gift in his honor, please consider the following: Planned Parenthood of North Texas; Tarrant Area Food Bank; or Kendall County Community Food Pantry.
Dr. James L. Atteberry died on August 24, 2018. During his nearly 95 years he taught, inspired, counseled, and guided thousands of students in his role as university professor of English. To his family and to people who were fortunate to know him, he was a wise, caring, and committed husband, father, grandfather and friend.
Born September 30, 1923, in Rogersville, Missouri, to James Lemuel Atteberry and Olive White Atteberry, he spent his early years in Missouri. As high school approached, his family moved to Abilene, Texas, where he lived from 1935-1943. There he went to Abilene Christian College where he eventually earned his bachelor’s degree, though completion was interrupted by the war. Jimmy went into the Army Air Corps in the spring of 1943 as an aviation cadet where he served until 1945. During his time in the service, he was the sole survivor of a mid-air plane collision.
On April 24, 1943, he married Ida Ruth Drum from Garland, Texas. They spent their post-war time in Abilene and Austin, Texas, and he received his Masters degree from University of Texas in 1948. Their first child, Janice Lynn, was born in Austin. The family moved to Golden, Colorado, in 1948 where Jimmy taught English at the School of Mines from 1948-1953. Their second child, James L., III, was born in Golden. Jimmy and Ruth built their first house with their own hands in Golden. Jimmy became skilled at just about everything involved in building, a skill that would serve him well the rest of his life. While in Golden he also worked with a watch maker and learned the intricate skill of watch repair.
The family moved in 1953 to Searcy, Arkansas where Jimmy served as Chairman of the English department at Harding College. During their time in Searcy, the family built their second home–this one brick. Jimmy taught himself to lay bricks through reading and trial and error. That home still stands today, and friends report it is still as beautiful and impressive as it was when new. Jimmy was a perfectionist in all that he undertook. It was in Searcy that the family became fast friends with Dr. and Mrs. Thomas A. Formby and their family. The two families have been life-long friends. Many other life friends came into the family’s circle during those years. While employed by Harding, Jimmy took a leave of absence, and the family moved to Austin, Texas, in 1958 where he completed the course work for his PhD under his major professor, Dr. Thomas P. Harrison, who became a beloved friend to the family.
In 1968 Jimmy and Ruth moved to Califonia. Pepperdine University became his professional home for the rest of his career. It was during the years in California that he began flying again. He purchased his first of three airplanes and gloried in flying all over the country during those years. During the time in California Jimmy and Ruth traveled happily and often with the Formbys, a pleasure that continued on into their retirement years. Jimmy and Ruth retired to Fort Worth, Texas in 1988 where they both delighted in their children and grandchildren, in travel, and in reading extensively. Students and friends from their past continued to be in touch with them throughout their retirement years, and knowing his influence reached far was a source of great pleasure to Jimmy. Jimmy also developed skills as a fine woodworker and created many pieces of walnut furniture now treasured by family members. His ultimate delight was in reading the literature of the world, and he was a life-long, prolific reader. In 2007 Jimmy and Ruth moved to Trinity Terrace in Fort Worth. Within two years of their arrival at Trinity, Ruth, his beloved wife and dearest friend, died. It was a profound loss for Jimmy and the family.
Jimmy was preceded in death by his parents James Lemuel and Olive White Atteberry, his wife, Ruth Drum Atteberry, his grandchild, Bianca Atteberry, and his daughter-in-law, Bette Mebane.
He is survived by his daughter, Janice Atteberry Sticka (Richard W. Sticka) of Yorkville, Illinois; his son, Dr. James L. Atteberry of Fort Worth, TX; his grandchildren, Celeste, Allison (Viko Hernandez), and Preston Atteberry and Kimberly Williams (Melissa Jost); and his great-grandson, Benjamin Williams Jost.