James “Jim” Grant Warner, age 85, of Buckhannon, WV, died Friday, March 20, 2020, at his home surrounded by his loving family.
He was born July 28, 1934, in Buckhannon, a son of the late Ray and Irene Smith Warner.
On September 20, 1953, he married Elouise Reese who survives. Also surviving are: one daughter, Sandra K. Wright and husband Curt of Panama City, FL; three sons, Russell W. Warner and wife Renee of Buckhannon, Dr. James G. Warner, Jr. and wife Robin of Lynchburg, VA, and Rodney W. Warner and wife Debbie of Newberry, FL; five granddaughters, Brittany Conover and husband Ryan of Buckhannon, Caitlin Warner of Charlottesville, VA, Courtney Warner of Buckhannon, Megan Warner of VA, and Alexis Dennison of FL; three grandsons, Gary Cope and wife Ginger of VA, Michael Warner of NC, and Phillip Warner and wife Victoria of Canada; four great-granddaughters, Kiralym Conover of Buckhannon, Haley Warner of Canada, Emma Dennison of FL and Scarlet Lyke of FL; five great-grandsons, Nicholas Cope, Elliot Cope, and William Cope of VA, Grant Warner of Canada, and Matthew Lyke of FL; and three brothers, Willie Warner and wife Betty of VA, Leroy Warner and wife Sue of Buckhannon, and Ed Warner of Buckhannon.
In addition to his parents he was preceded in death by three sisters, Mary Katherine Tenney, Virginia Rhodes, and Betty Hyre; an infant brother, Ray Warner, and his brother-in-law, John Hyre.
In 1952, Mr. Warner was the State ping pong champion and received a scholarship, for ping pong, to attend Glenville State College. He dropped out of college when his parents died in order to help care for his siblings.
In 1954, he joined the U.S. Air Force and was stationed in a variety of locations, including Iceland, Japan, Australia, Louisiana, Oklahoma and North Carolina. He spent one tour of his duty in Vietnam and worked for the military newspaper The Stars and Stripes as a combat journalist. He had the pleasure of covering the 1964 Olympics in Japan for The Stars and Stripes. Mr. Warner retired from the military as a Senior Master Sergeant, earning the following medals: Unit Commendation Medal, Commendation Medal with Three Clusters, Meritorious Service Medal, Air Medal with One Device, Vietnam Campaign Medal and The Republic of Vietnam (RVN) Gallantry Cross Medal.
Upon returning to Buckhannon, Mr. Warner became a mentor to many sports writers and photographers through the years. He provided sports coverage for every sport in Upshur County from 1975 until December 2019, covering everything from baseball to marbles – if kids were involved, Jim was covering it. He also served as the WV American Legion Baseball Commissioner for several years and coached American Legion baseball in the late 70’s and 80’s, taking one of those teams to the finals of the state championship.
Jim loved his family and enjoyed squirrel hunting. Above all, he adored his grandchildren and spoiled them all. They turned him from a rough Air Force Master Sergeant to a soft grandpa who played with Barbies.
A private family service and burial will be held with a public celebration of life happening at a later date. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in Jim’s memory to the WVWC baseball or softball teams. Donations can be sent to: WV Wesleyan College, Advancement Office, 59 College Avenue, Buckhannon, WV, 26201 (in the memo line of the check please designate baseball or softball IMO Jim Warner).
Online condolences may be made to the family at www.polingstclair.com. Poling-St. Clair Funeral Home is in charge of the arrangements.