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Bellville Times

YOAKUM: James Ray Witte (“Jim”) was born in Yoakum , Texas , on September 2, 1933, to Gerhardt and Marguerite Witte. 

 On April 11, 2012, he passed away, his devoted wife of 26 years, children, and grandchildren by his bedside, and went home to be with Jesus after a long and courageous battle with cancer.

 Jim and Louise Witte were married on July 27, 1985, in Yoakum.

 Jim is survived by his wife, Louise; son, Scott Witte and wife Jackie of Yoakum; daughter, Natalie Witte Tise and husband Carey of Bellville; step-daughter, Teri Lane and step-son, Jason Mozisek of West Palm Beach, Florida; grandson, Ryan Tise of Houston; granddaughters, Kaitlynn Tise of Bellville, Callie Witte, and Riley Witte of Yoakum; sister, Lillian Yancey, of Conroe; aunt, Alice Witte of Yoakum; niece, Jaynne Weisner of Conroe and nephew, Ken Yancey of Houston.

 Jim was preceded in death by his parents, and stepmother, Frances Louise Witte; uncles Edmond Witte, Herman “Bo” Witte, and Raymond Witte, and aunt, Irma Witte.

 Visitation will be held from 5:00 p.m.-8:00 p.m. on Saturday, April 14, 2012, at Thiele-Cooper Funeral Home in Yoakum.

 Funeral services will be held at 3:00 p.m. on Sunday, April 15, 2012, at the Yoakum Community Center .

 Pallbearers will be Ryan Tise, John Quast, Bill Lopez, Edwin Steinmann, Ross Plant, Wayne Hollan, Dudley Wayne Garrett, and Clifton Vinklarek. Ushers will be Ross Plant, Alan Sommer, and Tommy Schuette. Honorary Pallbearers will be members of The Rotary Club of Yoakum.

 Called Jimmy as a young man, Jim grew up in Yoakum and was a 1951 graduate of Yoakum High School . He was known for being talented and industrious and started working when he was a young teenager doing odd jobs, working at a local hotel, and maintaining the printing presses for a local printer. Jim learned how to fix things at a young age and had a mechanical mind that was second to none. Additionally, Jim worked in the family grocery store, H.P. Witte and Sons, for many years during his youth. Active in numerous activities in school, Jim was an athlete, voted Most Popular in his graduating class, and achieved Eagle Scout.

 Jim attended college at Texas A&M, where he was a member of the Corps of Cadets and graduated with a degree in Industrial Education in 1955. Jim’s love of Aggieland continued throughout his life. He was involved in the Texas Aggie Corps of Cadets Association and the Yoakum A&M Club. He has been a member of the Association of Former Students and Century Club donor for nearly 30 years and was a devoted follower of his beloved Aggie sports teams.

 Upon graduating from Texas A&M, Jim was commissioned as a Lieutenant in the United States Army and served his country for eighteen months during the Korean War in the Post Motor Pool, Camp Zama , Korea , from 1956-1957.

 After completing his military service, Jim began his professional life in Sweet Water, Texas , working for U.S. Gypsum in 1957 as a safety engineer. He also worked for General Dynamics in Fort Worth for a time until U.S. Gypsum lured him back with the offer of a promotion to Personnel Manager in Houston , Texas . While living in Houston , Jim learned of an employment opportunity at Tex Tan Western Leather Company in Yoakum. Jim took that opportunity to come home to Yoakum to raise his family and settle down in the small town that he grew up in and loved so much. Jim had a lengthy and successful career at Tex Tan where he was known for his work ethic, his strong managerial skills, and his innovative ideas, many of which changed the industry. He had risen to Vice President of Manufacturing when he retired in 1984. Always thought of as a guy who “gets things done,” it was said by many when he retired, it was going to take at least three people to replace him.

 Retirement for Jim did not mean a life of leisure, however. Although he always took time to have fun, loved a good party, was an excellent dancer, traveled extensively, and enjoyed a competitive game of 42 dominoes. Jim was never a man to sit idle and continued his dedication to hard work and community service.

In 1989, Jim was recognized for his years of service to the community of Yoakum when he received the Paul F. Gustwick Award for Citizen of the Year and named the Grand Marshall of the Yoakum Tom Tom Parade in 1989. Among the many organizations Jim was involved in are: The Boy Scouts of America as a long time Scout leader; a lifetime member of the Yoakum Community Hospital Auxiliary; the Friends of the Yoakum Library; a contributing member of the Yoakum Heritage Museum; a Gold Circle Member of the V.F.W.; a 50 year member of the Masonic Lodge; a long-time member of the Yoakum Zoning Board; a supporter of the Sheriff’s Association of Texas; a supporter of the George Bush Presidential Library; an advisory director at First State Bank; Director, past president, and current vice-president of YNA Corporation; an honorary member of the American Legion; a member of the Lavaca County Soil and Water Conservation Board; a citizen representative of the State Bar Grievance Committee, and an associate member of the Republican Women of Yoakum. An avid sportsman and hunter and a talented skeet shooter, Jim was also a proud member of the National Rifle Association.


Posted by Joy Neely



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