Cover photo for James R. Nance's Obituary
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1927 James 2021

James R. Nance

May 11, 1927 — April 2, 2021

James Robert (Jim) Nance, 93, of Amarillo, died April 2, 2021.

Jim willed his body to Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center School of Medicine, to be used for the advancement of medical science teaching and study. Private burial will be after the study is completed and cremation. In lieu of a service, his family celebrates his life with this video: https://vimeo.com/532859816

Jim was born May 11, 1927, in Amarillo, Texas, to A.D. and Winnie Mae King Nance. Jim was the second of three children of this Christian family of Amarillo. Jim graduated from Amarillo High School in 1944, a year earlier than his class. Following graduation, he attended Amarillo Junior College for a year. Jim joined the U.S. Navy during World War II, serving until his honorable discharge. Following his service, Jim attended the University of North Texas as a music major, touring with the North Texas Acapella Choir and as a member of the touring Opera Workshop singing roles in “Faust,” “Rigoletto,” “Carmen,” and “The Abduction from the Seraglio.”

Jim returned to Amarillo after college and married Peggy Ann Harris on Valentine’s Day in 1950. Two sons were born of this marriage. At the time of Peggy’s death, they had been married 66 years.

Jim loved music and began playing piano at the age of 6 and moved on to trumpet a few years later. At the age of 15 he played with the Amarillo College dance band, The Collegians, and later joined the Fritz Cowen Band, playing six nights a week at the Nat Ballroom. During his service he played with the Navy Concert Band in Washington, D.C., and with the Navy Dance Band. He went on to sing selected bass solos with the Amarillo Symphony Orchestra and directed the Chancel Choir at First Christian Church. Jim sang with the Blackburn-Shaw barbershop quartet, The Four Hearsemen, and was nationally known for his arrangements.

Professionally, Jim worked in the life insurance industry, first starting with his father in Amarillo, then moving to Wichita Falls, then the Beaumont, and then to El Paso, where he and his family remained for twelve years. There, he became the youngest president of the El Paso Lion’s Club, the largest service club in that city. In 1968 they moved to Greensboro, N.C., working for Jefferson-Pilot Financial, where he worked his way up to Senior Vice President of the company’s agency department. Jim and Peggy returned to Amarillo after his retirement.

An avid fisherman and golfer, they were members of the Amarillo Country Club and played in almost all fifty states as well as Puerto Rico and Guam, though their favorite course was Pebble Beach. Jim often said, “We have many golf trophies in our house, most were won by Peggy.”

Jim’s greatest joy was when he and Peggy could be with their sons, daughters-in-law, and two grandsons.

Jim was preceded in death by his wife, Peggy, and sister Billie Nance Kunkel.

He is survived by his son, Robert Gary Nance and his wife Laura, of Greenville, SC, son, James Andrew Nance and his wife JoAnn of St. Augustine, FL, two grandsons, William Hunter Nance and James Kearon Nance, sister, Beverly Jo Jinks, and numerous nieces and nephews and their children.

In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made to either First Christian Church, 3001 Wolflin, Amarillo, TX, 79109, Cal Farley’s Boys’ Ranch, P.O. Box 1890, Amarillo, 79105, or The Village at Ware Living Center, 400 W. 14th Avenue, Amarillo, 79101.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of James R. Nance, please visit our flower store.

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