Former East Texas lawmaker dies at 87

Radar Funeral Home
Wednesday, August 21, 2013 - 8:22am

A former member of the Texas Legislature and longtime trucking operator, James Earl Mankins, Sr., of Kilgore, died on Tuesday at the age of 87.

Services for Mankins will be at 10:00 am on Friday, August 23, 2013 at the First Presbyterian Church in Kilgore, with Reverend Scott Nowack officiating. Burial will follow in Kilgore Cemetery.

James Earl Mankins, Sr. was born February 9, 1926 in Electra, Texas, to the late A.E and Thelma Inez Cooper Mankins. He moved to Kilgore at the age of five. After graduating from Kilgore High School, he attended Texas A&M University but his education was interrupted when he joined the military in 1944. Mr. Mankins was in the United States Army Air Force as a tail gunner during World War II. After the war, Mr. Mankins received his Associate of Arts Degree from Kilgore College in 1948. While at Kilgore College, he met and married Virginia Henley. He completed his education at North Texas State University with a Bachelor of Business Administration in 1950.

He returned to Kilgore and worked in the family business, Eagle Trucking Company. Mr. Mankins became the owner operator of Eagle Trucking Company, hauling oilfield drilling rigs and equipment and heavy hauling for over 50 years. He started out as a driver’s helper, driver, truck supervisor, assistant manager, manager and president expanding the company to a fleet of over 300 trucks and nine trucking terminals in several states. Jimmy was always a hard worker but never expected any more from his employees than he was willing to do himself. He was a member of Oilfield Haulers Association and board member from 1960-1980 and served as president from 1968-70. He was a member of Texas Motor Transportation Association, Board of Directors from 1966-74. In 1975, Mr. Mankins was awarded the Albert Gallatin Award as Outstanding Small Business Leader in the Nation.

Mr. Mankins began his political career as a City Commissioner of Kilgore in mid 1960’s. In 1974, Mankins was elected to the Texas House of Representatives serving Gregg County for five terms. As a legislator, Mankins was appointed to the House Committee on Energy Resources and House Committee on Transportation serving as Chairman of various sub-committees. In 1977-78, he was Chairman of Appropriative Matters on Transportation. In 1979-80, he served as Chairman of Employment Practices Committee as well as member of the Transportation Committee and in 1983 served on the Transportation Committee, Business and Commerce Committee and Local and Consent Calendar Committee as Vice-chairman.

As a long standing member of the Kilgore Rotary Club, Mr. Mankins received the Paul Harris Fellow Award –Rotary International. He was also a member of the Kilgore Chamber of Commerce, East Texas Chamber of Commerce and Longview Chamber of Commerce. He was the recipient of the Texas State Council of Epsilon Sigma Alpha International “Zeus Award” for outstanding work for mankind. He was an active contributor to numerous charitable organizations including Shriner’s and St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital, Presbyterian Children and Family Services and an active member of the Danville Masonic Lodge and the Sharon Shrine Temple. He had numerous other awards of merit and appreciation from local and area organizations.

He enjoyed being a part of the First Presbyterian Church of Kilgore’s congregation and enjoyed his time in the men’s Sunday school class and serving as a Deacon. He had a huge heart for those less fortunate and loved having all his family together for any occasion. Family was always number one. He loved taking them on trips, vacations and spur of the moment family outings. After retiring, he continued to work as a consultant in the trucking business and working at his grandson’s hardware store. He also enjoyed devoting his mornings to driving his grandchildren to school.

Jimmy is survived by his wife of 65 years, Virginia, and his children, Janie (and Carl) Harris, Jim Mankins, Jr., Jenny (and Frank) Baggett, Jan (and Eddie) Warren all of Kilgore and daughter Lsha (and Bill) Stanley of Henderson. Grandchildren: Jeff (and Alaina) Mercer, James (and Jessica) Mercer, Jimi (and Tamara) Mankins, Jamie (and Kelly) Leach, Jennifer Mankins, Jalissa and Jenae’ Baggett, Jeana (and Al) Walters, Jay Philpott, Courtney Clinton, Allan (and Jennifer) Stanley and Julie (and Johnathan) Gage. Great-grandchildren: Mary Bess and J.T. Mercer, Jace and Jayden Mankins, Jersi Walters, Garrett and Cooper Stanley and Kimber Gage. Two nephews, Dale Henley and Jay Henley and niece Teresa Henley Greene and cousin Greta Phillips. Several other cousins and many friends.

The family would like to especially thank all the wonderful staff at Country Place Village for their loving care.

In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be given to First Presbyterian Church’s scholarship fund or Helping Hands of Kilgore.

The family will receive friends at Rader Funeral Home Thursday evening between 6:00 – 7:30 pm.

 

Information from Radar Funeral Home

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