James was born on March 22, 1942 to James Herman and Odie Lee (Booker) Ragland, in Water Valley MS. He attended grammar school and completed 8th grade at Springdale Community School, in Lafayette County, MS. James pursed his High School education and graduated from Taylor High School, in Taylor, MS.
James took on his first employment role at Ole Miss University (University of Mississippi), where he served as a maintenance engineer. He then moved to the Chicago area in pursuit of better career opportunities.
In June of 1965, James married Mary Anna Johnson and together they raised seven children; four sons, Carlton, Timothy, Shelby and Mark, and three daughters, Alisha, Amisha and Nellisa.
In 1967 James took on a role within the Nabisco Bakery Company in Chicago, IL, where he served as a Bakery Engineer within the bakery and confectionary department (from 1967 until 2007). He was known for his impeccable reputation of punctuality, within Nabisco, where throughout his 39 years, he was never late or absent.
James had a passion for family and made a point to always visit relatives annually. He portrayed a close-knitted father, grandfather and family image. He was also zealous for the Lord and would adamantly ensure that he dedicated time within his life to attend and participate in church services. He supported and aided with the growth of the Old Landmark Church of God Holiness In Christ in Harvey, IL where he was the Superintendent of Sunday School, under the leadership of Bishop Ellis Mack.
James also enjoyed gun hunting at a young age and enjoyed sports including Baseball and Basketball. He enjoyed playing basketball as well with his sons, daughters and grandchildren. James took on a greater role and passion for cooking in his later years for his family members. Listening to and singing gospel music with his family and friends was also a favored pastime; “Jesus I Need You” being one of his favorite songs!
On Monday, September 9, 2019, Deacon James Edward Ragland, loving husband, father and grandfather of one wife of 54 years, seven children, and 11 grandchildren, passed away at age 77.
James was preceded in death by his father, James, his mother Odie, and his brother Raymond Lee.
He is survived by his wife Mary Anna, his seven children, Carlton, Alisha, Timothy, Shelby, Mark, Amisha and Nellisa, his sister Sandra, his grandchildren, Timothy Jr., Titus, Tishara, Leilani, Mark Jr., Nathan, Ethan, Elianna, A’mia, Columbia and Meadow and cousins, nieces, and nephews.
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