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James Earl Harper Sr.

James Earl Harper Sr. also known as “Bop” and “Buddy” left this world peacefully while at home to be with his Lord and Savior on Aug. 19, 2020, in Vicksburg. He was 87 years old, born in Braxton on June 17, 1933, and was the son of the late Jim and Myrtle Mahaffey Harper also of Vicksburg. 

He was educated in both the city and county schools and graduated from Jett High School as valedictorian in 1951. He also attended numerous off-site courses through Hinds Community College. Following graduation, he served in the United States Naval Reserve for over 10 years.

He was a manufacturing superintendent at Westinghouse/Cooper Lighting from 1954 until his retirement in 1994.

He served on the Board of Good Shepherd Community Center for 10 years and participated with the SOS (Service Over Self) projects for many years. He was also a staff member of Cursillo and a Mason. 

He was an avid farmer, gardener, and well known for his “picture perfect” landscaping techniques for over 60 years. For years, he supplied many friends with his garden vegetables that he called his “labor of love.”

In his early years, he raised quail and trained bird dogs for pheasant and quail hunting adventures with his buddies in Oklahoma and Mississippi. He was a master fisherman that could set a trotline without hesitation. He taught his children and grandchildren the meaning of faith, family, hard work and the love of the outdoors.

He was a charter member of Porters Chapel United Methodist Church for over 60 years where he served as a Trustee, member of the finance committee, United Methodist Men’s Club, Sunday School teacher and numerous other positions. He was a member of the American Legion and VFW.

Mr. Harper leaves one son, James E. Harper Jr. (Jennifer); and two daughters, Beverly A. Connelly, and Jeri L. McGuffie (Pat).

He also leaves six grandchildren, James Kory Connelly (Michele), Keri C. Purser (Zack), Mandy L. McGuffie, James E. Harper, III (Miranda), James Patrick McGuffie and Benjamin T. Harper (Abagail); five great-grandchildren, Skylar Renae Connelly, Madison Ann Connelly, Colton Lee Purser, Conner Gage Purser and Sara Townsend; and one brother, Cecil W. Harper (Karen) of Madison.

He was preceded in death by his parents, Jim and Myrtle C. Harper; his wife of  55 years, Willardean W. Harper; his sister, Bettie Jean Middleton; his brother, William “Sonny” Harper; his sister, Cheryl Sue Harper; and a grandson, Phillip James Connelly Jr. 

Services will be held at Porters Chapel United Methodist Church with visitation Friday, Aug. 21, 2020, from 5 to 7 p.m. and visitation on Saturday, Aug. 22, 2020, from 1 to 2 p.m., followed by a service for the family at 2 p.m. Interment will follow in Greenlawn Gardens Cemetery under the direction Fisher-Riles Funeral Home.

Pallbearers will be his grandsons and James Patrick McGuffie Sr. and Fred Henry Wells.

Memorials may be made to Porters Chapel United Methodist, 200 Porters Chapel Road, Vicksburg, MS 39180.