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Obituary: James Irwin Royce, Greenwood

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James Irwin Royce

Mr. James Irwin “Jimmy” Royce, 94, of Greenwood passed from this life Saturday, March 29, 2014.

He was born Feb. 20, 1920, in Greenwood. He lived in Greenwood his entire life.

Jimmy was the son of Mary Jennings Royce and Irwin Belk Royce. He was lovingly raised by his grandmother, Ada Belk Royce. His mother suddenly passed away just days after his birth; and his father, needing to support his family, went to seek his fortune in the gold rush in Canada.

Jimmy’s constant companion and his favorite person growing up was his sister, Opal McClain.

Jimmy enlisted in the U.S. Army Air Forces in 1943 and proudly served his country during World War II. He became a radio operator staff sergeant and was stationed in the China Burma India Theater. He spent 29 months in India. He developed an interest and love for the country of India and its people. He found great enjoyment sharing his tales of India, including his trip to the incredible Taj Mahal.

He received the Asiatic Pacific Theater ribbon, two Bronze Stars, the Good Conduct medal and World War II Victory Medal. He was one of the longest-serving World War II veteran members of American Legion Post 252.

He was united in marriage to Martha Ellen Caldwell, and they were married for 51 years until her untimely death on March 26, 1996. Jimmy and Martha both graduated from Greenwood High School, where they met and fell in love.

In his youth, Jimmy was fun-loving and hardworking. He ran track, played both baseball and basketball in high school and was considered to be a good athlete. He also worked at Jennings Grocery making fast deliveries.

Jimmy sold life insurance for Kentucky Central Life Insurance Co. for several years. He was a statistician in the purchasing department for Allison division of General Motors, where he retired after 41 years of service in 1987.

Jimmy served on Greenwood Parks and Recreation Board for 10 years and coached Little League. He loved the community of Greenwood and held many lifelong friendships. He was generous in nature and never met a stranger. He went to the Greenwood mall almost every day to have coffee with his buddies and listen to the piano.

He is survived by his two children (both of whom he lived with in his later years of life), James Barton Royce and Mary Ann (Harold) Maze; and his granddaughters, Amy Royce and Kelly Thompson, who were his favorite topic of conversation. He was fiercely proud of both of them, and they brought him much joy.

Services will be at 1 p.m. Wednesday at Wilson St. Pierre Funeral Service and Crematory, Greenwood Chapel, 481 W. Main St. The Rev. Shan Rutherford will officiate. Visitation will be from 5 to 8 p.m. today and from 11 a.m. until service time Wednesday at the funeral home. Burial will be at Greenwood Cemetery.

Memorial contributions are suggested to Greenwood Christian Church, 2045 Averitt Road, Greenwood, in memory of Jimmy Royce.

You are invited to read the obituary online at www.wilsonstpierre.com, where you may sign the guestbook, share a memory or order flowers for the family.

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