James Parris, 92, entered his heavenly home on February 29, 2020, at UnityPoint-St. Luke's Hospital in Cedar Rapids.
Funeral services will be held at 10:30 a.m. on Wednesday, March 4, at St. Stephen's Lutheran Church in Atkins, with the Rev. Douglas Woltemath officiating. Interment with graveside military rites conducted by Adolph H. Schueler American Legion Post 217 of Atkins, and Navy military funeral honors will be held at St. Stephen's Lutheran Cemetery near Atkins. Visitation will be held Tuesday, March 3, from 4:30 to 7:30 p.m. at St. Stephen's Fellowship Hall in Atkins. A memorial fund has been established.
James was born Nov. 17, 1927, in Sunburst, N.C., to William Ellis and Annie Lee (Massey) Parris. He attended rural school in Bethel, N.C., and received his high school diploma during his service in the U.S. Navy.
During World War II, James served his nation in the U.S. Navy in the Pacific Theater from 1945 to 1948 in the Philippines and Japan, where he was stationed on various ships, including the USS Los Angeles. James was member of Adolph H. Schueler American Legion Post 217 of Atkins.
Throughout his life, James was a Greyhound bus driver, school bus driver, ambulance driver, owner and operator of Parris Tap Bar & Grill in Davenport, owner the Eldora Hotel Restaurant and Bar in Eldora, hobby farmer, and security officer and driver at Iowa Training School for Boys in Eldora. James was an avid storyteller, especially about his life experiences. He loved the Great Smoky Mountains in North Carolina, where he was born and raised. He enjoyed traveling in his motorhome and hated airplanes (for good reason). James cheered for the Cubs, Hawkeyes and Cyclones. He managed and coached slow-pitch softball teams in the Davenport and Eldora areas. He always enjoyed a good breakfast, especially biscuits and gravy. James absolutely loved spending time with his wife, Ruby, and his many grandchildren and great-grandchildren, who called him Papa.
A man whose faith, family and church were important in his life, James was baptized at Riverside Baptist Church in Canton, N.C., and confirmed as an adult at Immanuel Lutheran Church in Davenport, Iowa. He married Geneva Taylor in 1949, which ended in divorce, and he later married Ruby Elaine Barz on April 22, 1961, at St. Paul Lutheran in Eldora, Iowa. They moved to Atkins in 2001, where James was an involved member of St. Stephen's Lutheran Church. He enjoyed supporting Christian education and his church. He assisted with the gym addition of Central Lutheran School and helped with the addition of St. Stephen's Fellowship Hall.
James is survived by his wife of 58 years, Ruby (Barz) Parris of Atkins; his children, the Rev. Michael (Yan) Parris of Riceville, Iowa, Martha (Brian) Strong of Dixon, Mo., Frank Parris of Newhall, Iowa, and Florence (Chad) VonKampen of Atkins; his grandchildren, Rachel (Joshua) Zingher of Norfolk, Va., and son, Simon, Rebekah (Jon) Koch of Riceville and children, Evelyn, Penelope and Benjamin; Lelsy Fuentes of Stevens Point, Wis., Derek (Erin) Parris and daughter, Parker, of Springfield, Ill., Dawson (fiancee Kaitlyn) Parris of Springfield, Ill., David (significant other Jordyn) of Newton, Iowa, Daniel Parris of Hoyleton, Ill., Carolina (Sean) Carpenter of St. Louis, Mo., and Jack, Laura, and Emma VonKampen of Atkins; and several nieces and nephews.
He was preceded in death by his parents, William Ellis and Annie Lee (Massey) Parris; sisters, Clara Parris and Kathleen Welch; and brothers, Voley, Glenn, Clyde, Jack, J.D. and William Jr.