James Earl Pilgrim passed away peacefully at the VA Nursing Home in Kosciusko, MS, on December 24, 2020, after residing there from 2016 until his passing. He was born September 8, 1926 in the Hart Town community of Yazoo County to James Henry and Martha Louise Pilgrim. He was preceded in death by his parents, two sisters, Lucille Byrd and Doris Strickland, an infant brother, and his beloved wife of 64 years, Lula Charlene Pilgrim. He was the father of four sons and two daughters, David Pilgrim, Janie Adcock, Phillip (Shirley) Pilgrim, Mike (Jo) Pilgrim, Elizabeth (Jim) Golden, and John (Kelli) Pilgrim, as well as numerous grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
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James enlisted in the U.S. Navy on November 11, 1944 after turning 18 years old in September, and served until his honorable discharge on April 15, 1946. He shared many cherished memories in connection with his military service.
James, known by many as ‘Sonny Boy,’ was a lifelong master mechanic, working for numerous shops, farmers and individuals who called upon his special skills. His last employer was A.S. Nichols Farms from 1974 – 1986 where continuing family owners stated that he will be remembered as the “best, most innovative, mechanic they have ever known.” One former farmer used to remark “All Sonny Boy had to do was drive up and listen to a tractor to know what was wrong with it.” James was an avid outdoorsman, who loved to hunt, fish and garden to help provide for his family. In his later years, he and Charlene participated annually in the Yazoo County Fair produce competitions and won numerous awards and blue ribbons every year.
James was a member of Pickens Presbyterian Church and enjoyed worshipping there regularly until he moved into the VA. He was a compassionate person who quietly attended to the needs of others through countless hours of service and effort, especially taking care of numerous elderly widows in his family over many years, including his mother, several aunts, both of his sisters, and a first cousin. He will be greatly missed by family and friends, but all join in rejoicing in the knowledge that he is now experiencing unmatched joy and peace with his Lord and Savior! Memorials to honor his life may be directed to Pickens Presbyterian Church, PO Box 490, Pickens, MS 39146.
His services were Sunday, December 27, 2020 at Hart Town Cemetery in Pickens, MS. No visitation was planned.
For online condolences please visit culpepperfuneralhome.com