James McMorries died April 9‚ 2006‚ in Amarillo‚ Texas‚ from injuries he suffered when his fire truck rolled down a ravine while fighting the March 12th fires in Donley County. The fire burned over a million acres-lives‚ homes‚ and livestock perished. An incident of this magnitude strained the resources of small volunteer fire departments.
On March 12‚ 2006‚ our children and grandchildren were visiting. James would never go anywhere when they were here‚ but when he received the call of the fire‚ he grabbed his hat and said‚ ‘There’s a fire. They need me‚’ and ran out the door. It was the last time we saw him so full of life. When it came time to help‚ James W. McMorries‚ Jr. could never say no.
James lived his life helping others. When we lived in Amarillo‚ before moving to Howardwick‚ he would mow all of the little widow women’s yards‚ expecting nothing in return‚ just a smile on their faces. James bought prescriptions for older people who could not afford them.
James was a Certified Real Estate Appraiser for 36 years and had his own business. He was a member of the National Association of Fee Appraisers‚ Amarillo Association of Realtors‚ Khiva Shriners‚ a Master Mason‚ member of the Clarendon Country Club‚ a member of the Howardwick Volunteer Fire Department‚ and a former member of the Civil Air Patrol in Search and Rescue. He was a pilot‚ farmed‚ ranched‚ and was a devout Christian man‚ reading his Bible every day.
James was credited with helping to reinvigorate the Howardwick Volunteer Fire Department‚ which was down to just a handful of members and incapable of defending its own community. A lot of younger guys didn’t know how to drive the older trucks‚ and James did. James also donated tires for the fire trucks and radios for the department and did mechanical work on the fire trucks.
James had decided to run for Mayor of Howardwick. His name was already on the ballot‚ and after his death he still won by a landslide‚ so an interim mayor was appointed to take his place. He was liked by everyone who knew him. James had an infectious laugh and never met a stranger.
James was my soul mate‚ my everything. We did everything together‚ so many projects and goals. My life was whole and complete with him by my side. I feel God and James watching over me‚ helping me make the right decisions.
James is now with his Lord‚ with a new body that is no longer broken. Many wonderful things have come about since James’s death. After his death‚ I joined the Howardwick Volunteer Fire Department. We have a new truck‚ and my goal in life is to continue helping others. I want James W. McMorries‚ Jr. to be as proud of his wife as I was of him.