James Haire was born on Jan. 29, 1943, in Jacksonville to the late Willie Mae Thompson Rudd and Watson Haire. James attended grade school in Troup where he was deeply indebted to his first-grade teacher, Ms. Faye Wiggins, and special-education teacher, Ms. Willie Dean, for their patience and work with James’ delayed speech development. James later attended school in Pearsall and graduated from W.B. Ray High School in Corpus Christi, Tyler Junior College and the University of Houston.
He joined Missouri Pacific Railroad in 1964 and entered the Houston area oil refining and marketing business in 1968, going to work for Signal Oil & Gas on the Houston ship channel. The oil business never seemed like work to James because of his enjoyment of the work and the people. James always managed to mix plenty of fishing, hunting, skiing and gin rummy with business.
However, the most fun and satisfaction James had in life was with his two sons, James and Chris. The boys were home-schooled and, retiring early, James was able to take the family on many fun but educational trips ranging from Mesa Verde to Vermont.
James spent much of his retirement years raising awareness of some of the lesser-known but serious alcohol problems in Texas, particularly fetal alcohol spectrum disorder or FASD. James was concerned by the fact that Texas families have not been adequately informed how to avoid the various levels of this permanent brain damage to their babies.
While addressing problems arising from the partnership between a beer marketer and a large state agency, James accidently discovered the state agency had gained possession of a large Central Texas ranch that had been specifically willed to the “orphans of Texas.” The agency planned to make a state park out of the ranch and mentioned recognizing the orphans’ position in the ranch by giving them a discount on their entrance fees to the planned park. James was fortunate in finding a nonprofit that had expertise in such matters and it was able to have the ranch returned to the orphans who had actually inherited the ranch.
Survivors include two sons, James Alexander Haire and Christopher Thompson Haire, both of Tyler; along with three brothers, Dennis Haire and wife Paula of Glenwood, Iowa, Virgil Rudd and wife Linda of Sugar Land and John Rudd and wife Dawn of New Braunfels; Sherry Haire, his wife of 30 years; and many nieces and nephews.
Honorary pallbearers will be the Troup Class of 1961, Don Smith and C.A. Wilkinson.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the First United Methodist Church, 202 E. Duval, Troup, 75789.