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1924 James 2014

James Earl Fitts

December 17, 1924 — December 29, 2014

James Earl Fitts, of Waco and formerly of Groesbeck, passed away at Baylor Scott and White Healthcare-Hillcrest Hospital in Waco on Monday, December 29, 2014. Funeral services will be held on Friday, January 2, 2015 at 2:00 P.M. in the Groesbeck Funeral Home Chapel, with Brother Richard Williams officiating. Burial, with military honors, will follow in Fort Parker Memorial Park. Pallbearers will be Patrick Posey, Daniel Posey, Phillip Webster, Johnny Walton, Dale Wilson, Scott Wilson, and Todd Amick. James was born December 17, 1924 to Walton Knox Fitts and Effie Lee Cargile Fitts on a farm near Groesbeck, Texas. He graduated from Groesbeck High School in 1942, at the beginning of World War II. In March 1943, James enlisted in the army and was assigned to the Third Army under General George S. Patton in the Armored Field Artillery Battalion. He saw combat in France, Luxembourg, Germany, and fought in the Battle of the Bulge. His unit was the first Armored Field Artillery Battalion in the Third Army to enter Germany. James was awarded 5 bronze battle stars and a Presidential Unit Citation. He was discharged from the army on December 14, 1945. After the war, James returned to Texas and graduated from Sam Houston State University with both a Bachelor of Science and a Master of Arts degrees. He taught in the horticulture field at both the secondary and post-secondary levels and was a Vocational Agriculture Instructor for 20 years at schools in Stanton, Orange, Huntsville and Victoria. James was a registered Landscape Architect and co-authored the first textbook for course work in Ornamental Horticulture that was used by teachers in public high schools throughout Texas. He developed one of the first co-operative programs for Texas students in Vocational Agriculture. He authored numerous articles on ornamental horticulture which appeared in national magazines. James was awarded an honorary life membership plaque from the Vocational Agriculture Teachers Association of Texas. In 1968, James was selected as the first chairman of the Floriculture and Ornamental Horticulture program at Texas State Technical College (TSTC) in Waco until becoming the horticulturist for the campus. Under his direction, the school planted hundreds of trees, shrubs and flowers which added to the beauty of the campus. He retired from TSTC in September 1990. On December 22, 1955, James married Doris Ann Halamicek. She received her Bachelor of Science degree from Sam Houston State University in 1945 and her Master of Science degree from Texas State College for Women in Denton in 1953. Doris was an English teacher, school librarian and public librarian. She preceded him in death on September 1, 1988. James was preceded in death by his parents; wife; sister Mae Alice Walker; brothers John Knox Fitts, Roy Cargile Fitts, Herman Lee Fitts; and nephews Joe Earl Fitts, Tommy Lee Fitts, Billy Ray Fitts, and Delma P.Posey. He is survived by his nieces, Patsy Fitts Posey of Temple, and Johnnie Marie Fitts Wilson and husband Dale of Groesbeck, and their families.
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