Longtime resident James E. Autry, age 80, and a pillar of the community died Wednesday, June 15, 2022, in Forest following a lengthy illness surrounded by his family.
James E. Autry was born at home in Benton County, MS on October 9th, 1941. He grew up in the Able Store community in the rolling hills of North Mississippi. He was the youngest of 8 children. He grew up hunting and fishing in Benton County. He worked at Ables store as a youngster. He participated in the widely known annual “Christmas in the Cotton Patch” play which re-enacted the birth of Jesus.
He married his High School sweetheart Winnie Louise Renick. He attended Northwest Jr College in Senatobia after high school graduation. He then went to work for the Soil Conservation Service. The Soil Conservation Service transferred him and his young family to Forest, MS in 1966 where he spent the entirety of his career. Through his work at the soil conservation service, he guided many of the farmers of Scott County in the conservation of the soil and natural resources assisting them to improve the productivity of their farms.
As a young man, he was active in the community as a member of the Jaycees. He also served as a little league coach for his two sons.
His community service in the Forest area blossomed through the Boy Scouts of America. He became an Assistant Scoutmaster, and then later Scoutmaster for Troop 363. He devoted his life to helping young boys become good young men for many years. He guided a multitude to the rank of Eagle Scout. For his service to the Scouts, he was recognized and received the Silver Beaver award.
He was a long-time member of the Forest United Methodist Church. He enjoyed woodworking and gardening as his primary hobbies in addition to guiding young men’s lives.
Mr. Autry was preceded in death by his parents; William Autry and Molly Softner Autry, and 6 siblings.
Survivors include his loving wife of 59 years, Winnie Louise (Renick) Autry of Forest, sons Michael Autry and his wife Robin, and John Autry, and his wife Robin, all of Forest. He is also survived by one sister, Ruby Childers of Ripley, MS, and 5 grandchildren; Rebecca Cox and husband Wes, Shelby Autry, Bethany Robinette, and husband Taylor, Brandy Reiss, and husband Ben, Cris Ricks and wife Ann. Mr. Autry also leaves a legacy of 5 great-grandchildren. He also leaves behind two very close nephews, Tommy McMullen and his wife Judy, and Arnie McMullen and his wife Terry all of the Ashland community.
Pallbearers were Wes Cox, Taylor Robinettte, O.B. Triplett, Leslie Blackwell, Kevin Chambers, and Tim Needham. Honorary pallbearers were Tommy Lee, Noble Lee and The Coffee Club.
OTT & LEE Funeral Home of Forest is honored to serve the James Autry family.