James Robert Ailes, Sr., 84, of Keokuk, passed away on Tuesday, October 26, 2021, at his home in Keokuk.
James was born on May 12, 1937, to Mel Ailes, Sr. and Carrie Bell Cain Ailes in Hazelhurst, Mississippi. He was the youngest of eight children, and became the longest-living family member in family history.
James left Mississippi and moved to North Carolina where he worked with his brother MC in his trucking business. He left North Carolina and headed to Omaha, Nebraska, in 1959. While in Nebraska he started working for Armour Dial and married his first wife Flora Demiers. They had three children: James R. Ailes, Jr., Carolyn D. Ailes, and Beverly D. Ailes, and raised one together, Larry D. Ailes.
While in Omaha, James was an active member of the Morning Star Baptist Church, where he served as an usher. In 1978, James moved to Keokuk, Iowa, to continue working for Armour Dial. He retired after forty years. James soon met and married the love of his life Norma (Galbreath) Ailes.
He joined church at a young age at Chapel Hill in Mississippi, and while living in Keokuk, he became very active in several churches. He became a loyal member of Faith Family Church, where he remained until his passing.
James loved walking in the mall. He was a very active Keokuk fan and enjoyed watching his daughter Beverly participate in sports from the time she started until she graduated high school. He enjoyed watching and cheering on kids whether he knew them or not. He cheered all of them on until they graduated too. In October of 1997, James was awarded a Lifetime Membership Award by the Football Boosters. He also loved to catch and eat fish.
James is preceded in death by his parents, seven siblings, his wife Norma, his grandson Tristian and his children James, Jr. and Carolyn Ailes, as well as his best friend Bebe.
James is survived by his youngest child Beverly Ailes; his daughter-in-law Roxanne Ailes; the child he raised, Larry Ailes; his step-children: Cheryl J. McCrary, Staphanie Baker, Paul R. Galbreath, Wallace N. Galbreath, Krystal E. Owens, Daniel E. Galbreath and Lillian F. Galbreath;
his grandchildren: Christopher, Christal, Yamia, Miricle, Clarissa, Sidale, Jerome, Keyada, James, III, Ja-Ceyha, Tia, Stephanie and Charey; his great-grandchildren: Damia, Ayanna, Nezair and Jordayn; and many more grandchildren, nieces and nephews. He is also survived by his good friends Richard Bell, Lillian Clark and Herb Martin.
James’ life will be celebrated with a memorial service at 3 pm on Saturday, November 6, 2021, at DeJong-Greaves-Printy Funeral Home in Keokuk. Visitation will be held at the funeral home from 2 to 3 pm.
Memorials may be directed to the family of James Ailes.
DeJong-Greaves-Printy Funeral Home of Keokuk is in charge of arrangements.