James S. Wooten Sr., age 99, passed away peacefully in Orange Sunday, Nov. 29, surrounded by family members.

He was preceded in death by his father and mother, Perry and Fannie Wooten, along with 12 brothers and sisters. Also passing before him was his wife, Mildred Strong Wooten to whom he was married for 55 years.

He was born in 1916 in Liberty County, where the family lived until later moving to the Nederland area. He met and married Mildred Strong of Center and they resided there a few years before permanently moving to Orange.

He was trained as a medic at Camp Barkley during the Korean War and was honorably discharged in 1944. He lived through the struggles of the Depression and learned the traits of being frugal, working hard, supporting your family and being self-reliant.

After learning carpentry skills at an early age, he began working in the home-building industry and later obtained his real estate license. In the early 1960’s he was instrumental in the development of the Forrest Heights addition in North Orange. Working with Sid Johnson, they transformed raw acreage into plats and then built affordable starter homes on the lots. He firmly believed every working family should be able to own their own home and he personally provided financing for several for young families. Many people still live in homes touched by his hammer or paintbrush.

Throughout the years, he owned several commercial properties in Orange, served as honorary deputy for several sheriffs and continued to work as a self-employed paint contractor until age 79 when he finally retired after developing heart problems.

Even with declining health, he continued to love a good belly laugh and will especially be remembered for the laughter he shared with his brothers and sisters during their family get-togethers. In his later years, he reminisced much about the “good old days” and missed the time when a man’s word and handshake could be trusted.

He will never be forgotten by his surviving son, James Wooten Jr, son, Edgar Wooten and daughter Charlotte Wooten. He is also survived by  grandson Timothy Wooten and wife Miranda; granddaughter, Kim Lawrence; great-grandson, Tyler Wooten; great-granddaughter, Hannah Suitts; former daughter-in-law, Sandra Tucker; sister-in-law Loretta Wiggins; sister-in-law, Velma Wiggins and many, many wonderful nieces and nephews.

His family invites family and friends to visitation at Dorman Funeral Home on Wednesday, Dec. 2, from 5:00-7:00 pm. However, the family respectfully requests no home visits at this time.

A graveside service will be held at Strong Cemetery in Huxley, under the direction of the Rev. Edward McRae at 1:00 pm Thursday, Dec. 3.

The family is thankful for the expertise, patience and kindness of the staff of the Meadows and Gentiva Hospice.