Mr. Guess died following an extended battle with Alzheimer’s related issues at 7 p.m. Monday, March 13, 2012 at Bill Nichols State Veterans Home in Alexander City, Ala.
He was born October 26, 1926 in Paducah to the late Rev. James Robert Guess, Sr. and Clara Doom Guess.
Mr. Guess moved to Birmingham, Ala. with his wife Naomi Peal in 2008 to be near his daughter due to failing health. He had been a resident of the Bill Nichols State Veterans Home since January 25, 2010. James joined Mt. Pleasant Missionary Baptist Church in 1940 at age 14 when his father, Bro. J.R. Guess, Sr., was called as the pastor. He served the church as a member, treasurer, teacher and deacon for 66 years. He graduated from Trigg County High School in 1944, then attended Purdue University for three semesters before serving his country with the 508th Paratroopers Division as part of the occupation forces in Germany after WWII.
After his tour of duty, he returned to Cadiz and married Naomi Peal on November 14, 1947, beginning a life partnership resulting in two children, four grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren, countless friends and a legacy of respect, love and laughter which will live in the hearts of all who knew him.
James and Naomi were the owners of the Western Auto store on Main Street in downtown Cadiz from 1960 until 1985 where many Trigg Countians remember buying their first bicycle, appliance, lawn mower, gun or sporting goods. Before buying the Western Auto store from Clyde and Bess Mathis, James worked for 10 years for Lincoln Income Life Insurance and before that, he worked for the Cadiz Ford Motor Company.
Like so many of his generation, James was first and foremost a man of character, a living example of the value of hard work, love of country, and love of his fellow man. He also had a mischievous sense of humor - which he was more than happy to demonstrate to new acquaintances who weren’t already familiar with his playful tricks. If you visited him in the Western Auto, you were likely to come away with a scare from trying to feed the “mongoose.” James was a community leader during all of his active years. In addition to serving his church, he was the last remaining charter member of the Cadiz Civitan Club, having served in that organization from its beginning in 1955 until moving to Alabama in 2008. He served on the Trigg County Board of Education for 12 years in the late 1960’s and early 1970’s and spent 9 years on the Barkley Lake Water District Board. James called home football games for 41 years for the Trigg Co. Wildcats, was active in the Trigg County Historical Society, and much more. He was well known as a “water witch” who found fresh water wells for many people in Trigg County and the surrounding areas. However, he may have been best known for his outstanding fishing and hunting skills.
James was preceded in death by his wife of 61 plus years, Naomi Peal Guess; his parents; three sisters, Roberta Guess, Velina Guess Cunningham and Sue Guess Morris.
He is survived by one sister, Lavena Guess Roberts; three brothers, Joe, Paul and Danny Guess; one daughter, Lana Guess Thompson of Pelham, Ala.; one son, Stan D. Guess (and wife Connie Adams) of Denton, Texas; four grandchildren, Jeffrey Weaver (and wife Signe’) of Woodland Hills, Calif., Jason Weaver (and wife Elise) of Pelham, Ala., Adam Guess (and wife Sarah) and Rene’ Guess Kekic (and husband Patrick) all of Waco, Texas; eight great-grandchildren, Venice and Vienna Weaver, Nolen and Luke Weaver, Thomas, Emma and Charlotte Guess and Carter Kekic; and numerous nieces nephews, relatives and friends.
Pallbearers were his grandsons, and grandson-in-law; Jeffrey and Jason Weaver, Adam Guess and Patrick Kekic, plus four nephews; Steve Guess, James Walter Roberts, David Guess and Jonathan Guess. Honorary Pallbearers were the deacons of Mt. Pleasant Baptist Church and former members of the Cadiz Civitan Club. Music was provided by the Dunn Family.
Mr. Guess chose Gideon Bibles as his favorite charity for people who wish to make a memorial donation in lieu of flowers.