James, known in Missouri as Curly and in California as Jim was the oldest of six. Roy and Virgie had a total of eight; however, two daughters died at early ages, and a younger brother, Russell, preceded Jim in death May 2012. Jim was also preceded in death by his wife, Exie, in 1995.
Jim is survived by his son, Wyman and wife, Karen; his grandson, Keith Dickerson and wife, Wendy ,of Hesperia; his granddaughter, Kelly Dickerson, of Bakersfield; granddaughter, Cara Agustin and husband, Justin; great-grandsons, Talin and Saben, and his granddaughter, Jaime Trassare and husband, Daniel. His surviving brothers and sisters are Sadie Williams, of Michigan, Edna Ledford, of Florida, Preston Dickerson, of Tennessee, and Dempsey Dickerson, of Michigan, and numerous nephews and nieces.
Jim's early years, as the eldest of a share cropper in southeast Missouri, were not easy. The day started around 4 o'clock in the morning at the first rooster crow alerting him to milk the cows. The day did not end until the cows were again milked by kerosene lantern with the day ending at 8 p.m. The days were filled with planting, chopping cotton, picking cotton, canning from the garden, feeding cattle, hogs, and chickens, and butchering for the smokehouse so the family would have food year round.
Walking, but sometimes riding the mule, for three miles from Bucoda to Arbyrd he courted Exie Petty. When she was 17 they married, left the farm for St. Louis, where Jim was drafted into the army for World War II. From basic at Fort Hood, Texas, to Fort Campbell, Ken., they awaited until his orders came through to be shipped out in 1943. Jim landed in Oran, Algiers, North Africa then on to Italy with Patton's 5th Armored, 105th Station Hospital as a medic until the war ended in Europe. His unit waited for two months in Pisa, Italy to be shipped to the Pacific Theater when the war ended in the Pacific. When he first saw his son, Wyman, he was almost two years old.
After the war the early years of marriage were spent in Steele, Mo., after both became teachers graduating from Arkansas State College in Jonesboro, Ark. Jim was also a coach at Steele High School where he became a positive influence on the lives of many of his athletes. A few years ago many of them honored him with a dinner in Blythesville, Ark. He was to visit Missouri in October 2012 where former students and players were planning a reunion in his honor - what a tribute after six decades.
In 1957 he and family relocated to Bakersfield, Calif., where he began his tenure at Rosedale Middle School and Exie began hers with Bakersfield City Schools. Jim retired from 37 years of teaching as an administrator, from Rosedale Unified School District, Bakersfield, in 1987. Exie, also an educator, retired as a district librarian from Bakersfield City Schools. They relocated from Bakersfield to Amador County in 1988. Both were life-long learners and life-long teacher having a tremendous influence regarding the educational outcomes of their grandchildren.
Funeral services were held at 1 p.m., today, Thursday, at Church at the Cross, 21895 Homestead Road, Pine Grove, CA 95665.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Exie Dickerson Library c/o Pioneer Elementary School, 217 Rex Ave., Jackson, CA 95642, are gratefully accepted.
Condolences may be sent to the family by visiting www.danerimortuary.com and signing the guest book.