James H. Ryals passed away on Monday, May 12, 2014.
James H. Ryals passed away on Monday, May 12, 2014. He was born on Dec. 8, 1919 to Johnny and Edna Ryals in Helena. He graduated from Helena High School, and after WWII, he attended Little Rock Junior College.
James grew up on a farm outside of Helena. His first job was carrying water to the cotton choppers at 50 cents per day during the Great Depression of the 1930s. He worked summer vacations doing all jobs from plowing with a mule to driving a tractor. He later went to work for Helena Wholesale Grocery driving a truck.
In 1938, he joined the Arkansas National Guard, 206 C.A.A.A., which was mobilized January 1941 into the U.S. Army. His length of service was to be one year, but it turned into 58 months. In December 1941, when Japan attacked Pearl Harbor, the 206th was sent to Dutch Harbor, Alaska, which was also attacked by Japan in 1942.
He came back to the United States and on March 8, 1944, married the love of his life, Anne Turner. They spent 69 years and 10 months together.
In 1945, James was sent to Europe and was wounded in Germany. He received the Purple Heart. Upon discharge from Brooks General Hospital in San Antonio, Texas, he and Anne came back to Arkansas and set up housekeeping in Little Rock. W. B. Worthen Company Bankers employed James for 38 years.
He was a member of the Masonic Lodge Magnolia No. 60 in Little Rock. James was a devout member of Pulaski Heights Presbyterian Church for 67 years, where he was an elected elder, taught Sunday School, and served on many committees. He also helped build the playground facilities and installed shelving and built furnishings for the Sunday School classrooms.
Preceded in death by his parents, his wife, Anne Turner Ryals, and sister and brother-in-law, Betty and Jim Parks, he leaves his daughter and son-in-law, Jane Anne and Lonnie Spikes; grandson, Clay Spikes; sisters-in-law and brothers-in-law, Blanche and David Crouch and Maxine and Wesley Moore; and many nieces and nephews.
Visitation will be Thursday, May 15 from 5 to 7 p.m. at Little Rock Funeral Home, 8801 Knoedl Ct. Burial with military honors will be held on Friday, May 16 at 10 a.m. at Pinecrest Memorial Park in Alexander, officiated by Rev. David Crouch. Services will follow at 11:30 a.m. at Pulaski Heights Presbyterian Church, 4401 Woodlawn Dr., Little Rock, officiated by Rev. Ruskin Falls. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to Pulaski Heights Presbyterian Church.
Arrangements are by Little Rock Funeral Home, (501) 224-2200. James’ online guestbook may be signed at www.littlerockfuneralhome.com.