James L. Shields, 86, finished the course of his earthly life in Abilene on Wednesday, June 3, 2020. He was born on Friday, November 10, 1933 in Byers, TX. His parents were T.J. "Johnse" Shields and Mildred Gainus Shields, and they provided a solid foundation for living for their three children. The family moved to Phillips, TX in 1942. James began his life-long vocation of preaching in the spring of 1950 and graduated from Phillips High School in 1951. He entered Wayland College (back before it was a university) in the fall of 1951, where he met Corrine Cook of Amarillo. They were married in the summer of 1953 and both graduated from Wayland in May of 1955.
Memorial services will be held Monday, June 8, at 10 am in the First Baptist Church Sanctuary, 1333 N. 3rd, with The Hamil Family Funeral Home in charge of arrangements and services. Family visitation and a time of fellowship with friends will follow the service. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that memorials be made to Hardin-Simmons, Howard Payne, or a ministry of the donor's choice.
Graveside services will also be held Monday, June 8, at 4 pm in the Riverside Cemetery in Byers, TX, also under the direction of The Hamil Family Funeral Home.
The couple moved to Fort Worth where he began his graduate studies and Corrine taught in the public-school system. He earned his Bachelor of Divinity and Doctor of Theology degrees from the "Old" Southwestern Seminary. While attending Seminary (1956-1962), he served as pastor of the Direct Baptist Church in Lamar County, and then as pastor of the Floyd Baptist Church in Hunt County. He went to work for the Student Department of the Baptist General Convention of Texas in 1963 and was assigned to Howard Payne College to be Director of Religious Activities. In 1966 he was invited to join the Religion faculty; he accepted the position and continued to serve until 1984. After resigning from Howard Payne, he accepted a faculty position with Hardin-Simmons and taught there until he retired in 1999.
He was awarded the Medal of Service by Howard Payne University in 1990. He was selected Cullen Professor of the Year at Hardin-Simmons in 1993 and was recognized as Senior Professor of Theology in 1995. He was elected Faculty Member of the Year by the Hardin-Simmons faculty and staff in 1999.
James always maintained that he was "just a country preacher" who was especially blessed by God to have been a part of two great universities dedicated to Christian Education. His real joy was to interact with some of the finest students one could find anywhere and to celebrate their ministry as they followed God's direction in their lives.
He was always able to keep busy in the local church congregations during his teaching days. James did supply preaching, Bible Studies, Revivals, Retreats, Conferences, and other special services. During his teaching time and for 14 years after retirement, he served as interim pastor 63 different times – for a number of churches multiple times over a period of 50 years.
James is survived by his wife, Corrine; their daughter, Cindy and husband Michael DeJulio of Montrose, CO; granddaughter, MichaelAnn DeJulio Black and husband Eric of Denver, CO; grandson, Johnse DeJulio who headquarters in Montrose; son, Jerry Shields and his wife Kay with sons Caleb and Clayton of Colorado City, TX. He also leaves behind his sister, Lona Howard of Brownwood, his sister-in-law, Jo Beth Shields of Tyler, and several nephews, nieces and a few cousins.
He was preceded in death by his parents; his brother, Bob Shields; nephew, T.J. (Bob's son), and his brother-in-law, C.V. Howard.
Memories may be shared and condolences submitted online at www.HamilFamilyFuneralHome.com