Warsaw-James Franklin Harper, age 83, of Warsaw, passed away peacefully on Saturday, September 12, 2020, at his home after a brief but brave battle with cancer.
James was born in Calypso, NC, on August 29, 1937, and remained his entire life in Duplin County. He was well known for his sense of humor, strong work ethic, love of people and his great head of hair.
He was preceded in death by his parents, Ruth Wilkins Harper Whaley and Benjamin F. Harper; his brother, Charles J. Harper; and his grandson, Joshua R. Wallace.
James is survived by his devoted wife and caretaker, the former Sheraldine Howard. They were married June 29, 1957, sharing over 6 decades of marriage. Also, surviving are their 5 children; Joyce H. Albertson (Dennis), of New Bern; Carolyn H. Smith (Bobby), of Mt. Olive; Janet H. Lewis (Glenn), of Warsaw; Bobby W. Harper, of Dudley; Jennifer H. Delisio (Doug) of Faison.
James was Grandpa or PaPa to 11 grandchildren: Sarah Bailey (Derrick), of New Bern; Robert Smith (Kelly), of Mt. Olive; Joshua Wallace (deceased) (Carly), Louisburg; Susan Lane (Josh), of Goldsboro; Lydia Dail (Spencer), of Snow Hill; Paige Pickett (Tim), of Beulaville; Ryan Albertson, of New Bern; Josh Lewis (Marissa), of LaGrange; Wesley Lewis, of Magnolia; Dynah Delisio, of Faison; and Triston DeLisio, of Faison, James was blessed with 7 great grandchildren; Ford Bailey, Harper Bailey, Lloyd Wallace, Gracelyn Quinn, Easton Lewis, Campbell Pickett, and Ella Katherine Smith.
At age 17, James enlisted with the Warsaw National Guard unit. He honorably served 3 years. James was a gifted man with uncanny mechanical and machinery abilities. His career included operation of heavy equipment for many years. He assisted in the excavation of Bay Tree Lakes, formerly Black Lake. He opened a welding business and years later transitioned to a muffler business. He was locally known as the “muffler man”. He continued this work until retirement in 2007. He was talented, determined and confident. During his working years he developed wonderful longstanding friendships with people from all walks of life. Especially close were his Trooper buddies. Life and work were synonymous for James. He never fully embraced retirement.
He enjoyed “piddling” on projects, mowing his and the church yard, watching westerns, listening to old country music, visiting with family and friends, and spending time with his dog, Bella.
James was a faithful member of Friendship United Methodist Church, in Warsaw, NC.
The family will receive guests at Community Funeral Home of Warsaw on Tuesday, September 15, 2020 from 10:00am to 11:00am. A Celebration of Life service will be held immediately following the visitation, at 11:00am. Pastor Delores Summerlin and Pastor Bobby Smith will officiate the memorial and graveside services. Burial will follow at the Devotional Gardens, Warsaw, NC.
The family request that because of several at risk family members that you wear a face covering to the visitation and service. Thank you for your cooperation.