Longtime TVPPA line instructor Jimmy James died Sept. 18, in Arizona, at the age of 85.
An Indiana native, James worked in Cleveland, TN, as a lineman for Volunteer EC while he was earning his undergraduate degree at what is now Southern Adventist University. He later earned a master’s degree in elementary education from Arizona State University and served in both the U.S. Air Force and U.S. Navy.
After several years of classroom teaching, James returned to line work in 1972. He launched his own company, Safety and Training Services, in 1989. He trained hundreds of linemen across the country and was inducted into the Lineman’s Hall of Fame in 2010.
“He was a legend in line worker training,” said TVPPA Executive Vice President Danette Scudder.
Grady Smith, the recently retired CEO at Cullman EC, Cullman, AL, first crossed paths with James decades ago, during Smith’s first stint at Cullman EC. Smith then moved to a Florida cooperative and called on James once again.
“The safety and training program was virtually non-existent when I arrived,” Smith said. “Jimmy helped us out, and the men loved him – they really liked that he brought his tools and worked with them in the afternoons, after the morning safety meetings.
“When I moved [back] to Cullman, I got Jimmy’s help there as well. Our men there respected him for the same reasons he was so well-received everywhere else he worked,” Smith said.