May 3, 1921 - Dec. 22, 2011
James H. Lyford passed away at his home on Dec. 22, 2011. He lost both parents at the age of 9 in Falls City, Wash. He was sent on the train to The Odd Fellows Orphanage in Walla Walla, where he lived until his 18th birthday. He went to work in the men's clothing industry. Over the years he worked for The New York Store, Gardener's, Wade's Clothing and Scotty's Mens Wear.
On March 29, 1944, he married Leigh Ora Overby, in LeMoore, Calif. During World War II, he was in the Army Air Corps, receiving an honorable discharge on Dec. 1, 1945.
In the early 1950's he and Ed Sheets opened The Leader Men's Clothing and Sporting Goods Store in Milton-Freewater. Later he went to work for The Prudential Insurance Co., becoming staff manager. He bought into The Fullerton Insurance Agency in Milton-Freewater and later became associated with The Seaquist Insurance Agency until his retirement. Soon after retiring he bought The Horseshoe Tavern in Milton-Freewater, and he ran it for a number of years.
Jim was very active in his community and in many civic activities including St. James Episcopal Church, past commander of American Legion Post #24, worshipful master of The Masonic Lodge, lifetime member and secretary/treasurer of Elks Lodge #2146. He was also active with American Legion baseball and was a founding member of The M-F Golf Club. He served as secretary/treasurer of M-F Water Control District.
Jim was also an excellent jazz musician and had his own jazz band, often playing at the Walla Walla Elks Club and many other venues. He played the drums with many great musicians, including Doc Severinsen.
Jim was known as a very honest and successful businessman and was a good husband and father.
He was preceded in death by his wife, Leigh Ora, in 1994; and daughter-in-law, Tina Lyford, in 2008. Surviving Jim are his four children, Jan Braden and husband Jon of McMinniville, Ore., Jerry Lyford of Walla Walla, Judy Carroll of Walla Walla, Jeff Lyford and wife Terri of Walla Walla; eight grandchildren, Jenny and Julie Braden, Tyler Lyford and wife Amber, Travis Lyford and wife Sara, Courtney Lyford Neufeld and husband Hunter, Mike Carroll, Katie Carroll, Jeff Craig and wife Litia; eight great-grandchildren.
Services will be Dec. 27, 2011, at 2 p.m. at Munsell-Rhodes Funeral Home, Milton-Freewater with Rebecca Hendricks officiating. There will be a private graveside service for family only. Inurnment will be held at a later date at Milton-Freewater cemetery. Memorial contributions may be made in memory of James Lyford to Walla Walla Community Hospice or St. James Episcopal Church in Milton-Freewater in care of the funeral home.