October 17, 1923 - July 07, 2012
They keep marching on to heaven, those men and women of “The Greatest Generation.” On Saturday, July 7th, 2012, our most cherished, James Prentice of the Riffe Addition, Crab Orchard , passed away at the Raleigh General Hospital. He was in his 88th year.
Known affectionately as “Jim” all his life, James Johnson Prentice was the oldest of four children. Born on October 17, 1923, at Twin Branch, WV he was the son of the late William Weir and Annie Miller Prentice who immigrated from Scotland. His brother, Thomas, and sisters, Margaret Prentice Evans and Charlotte Prentice George have preceded him in death.
Jim spent his childhood on the Winding Gulf, graduating from Stoco High School in 1942. With WWII raging, Jim joined the Navy. He was assigned to the USS Leon. A signalman 3rd class, he was in the invasion of Saipan, serving in the 81st Infantry, Jim was one 1,404 men who went ashore on the Angaur Island. The Leon would go onto invade the Philippines, arriving on D Day.
But James Prentice would survive to live another day and come home to risk his life again as a roof bolter in the mines. Jim would work 33 years, retiring from Westmoreland Coal Company. He was a proud member of the UMWA. In his leisure time Jim loved to garden, growing the best tomatoes and the prettiest roses.
It would be in Maben, Jim would meet a pretty Pierpoint girl, Ernestine Brooks. Jim and Ernie would marry on June 29th, 1957, they have recently celebrated 55 years of marriage. In the early years of their marriage they made their home in Mullens, having lived in the Riffe addition since the early 1960’s. Jim and Ernie are members of the Sophia United Methodist Church.
In addition to his beloved Ernestine, those left to cherish his memory are the Prentice niece and nephews, Patricia Lester and her husband, John, nephews, Bobby Evans and his wife, Shirley and Jimmy Evans; great nephew and niece, Christopher Lester and Elizabeth Lester.
Jim was very fond of Ernie’s family the Brooks, sisters-in-law Ruth Gregory and her husband, Charles, Peggy Parrish and her husband, David, and Joette Greene;
nieces, Jennifer Beasley, Tiffany Bailey, Jeannie Gregory, Cynthia Gregory, Linda Craigo, Sherry Beasley and Cindy Sizemore;
nephews, Gilbert Brooks Jr., Peter Brooks, James Greene, Michael Greene, Buddy Sizemore, Eric Sizemore, and Billy Bower. A large extended family survives as well as his church family, and his many neighbors in the Riffe Addition, among them his “little buddies,” Jaimee and Madison McMillion.
On Wednesday, July 11th, at 1:00 pm we will remember the life of this good man with “A Service of Remembrance” at the Melton Mortuary Chapel. Pastor Ernie Jarrell will be officiating. Jim will then be laid to rest in the Sunset Memorial Park. Military honors will be conducted by the Oak Hill VFW Post 3110. The family will receive friends from 11:00 am until the service hour.