Daily Progress, Jacksonville, TX


May 16, 2014

Jim Tarrant

BULLARD — Funeral services for Jim Tarrant, age 82, of Bullard, are scheduled for 2:00 p.m. Sunday, May 18, 2014 at Autry Funeral Home Chapel in Jacksonville with Rev. John Cole officiating.  Interment will be at Tarrant Cemetery in Bullard.

Mr. Tarrant passed away Wednesday, May 14, 2014 in Tyler.

He was born May 22, 1931. Jim was the only child born to Myrtle Lou Lavassar of Frankston and Robert E. Lee Tarrant of Mt. Selman on the family farm south of Bullard.

He is survived by his wife of 58 years, Mary Anne; two sons, Jim Jr. and Ken; 6 grandchildren, Matt, Ben, Will, Jennifer, Lara, and Samuel; 4 great-grandchildren, John, Charlie, Wyatt, and Caitlin.

Born during the depression, Robert moved the family to Houston. After the war, they moved back to the farm where they had no electricity or running water. Jim rode his horse to Bullard High School his freshman year, but finished in Jacksonville in 1949. While in high school, he was known as Jimmy. He was a southpaw boxer, and lettered in track, helping set the mile relay record at the Dogwood Relays in Palestine.

He attended Texas A&M and received an engineering degree in 1953. While at A&M, he learned about “Ram” hydraulics and installed a pump to move water from the spring so his mother wouldn’t have to carry water in a bucket. He served 5 years in the Army as a helicopter pilot. He served another 10 years in the Army Reserve and the National Guard. He was honorably discharged with the rank of Major. As a pilot, he would worry Mary Anne and thrill his boys by putting his L-19 into a stall. Just before he crashed, he would pull it out before heading back to Grand Prairie base.

He was a hard worker who always spoke his mind. He was an innovator and was never afraid to try new things. Tarrant Ranch was his passion. During his lifetime, he restored most of the original farm established by his great-granddad, Elam Tarrant, in 1849.

In the 60s and 70s, he and his dad raised one of the largest registered Brahman herds in the U.S. He designed a set of round corrals at a time when everyone used square pens. The “Cattle Dome”, Tyler’s livestock auction barn of the 70s and 80s, was built using his idea. In 1979, he bought Maxwell Lumber Company and managed it until April of this year.

He was a true conservationist, always improving the property by building ponds, improving pastures, and opening up the forests. Over the last 10 years, he developed 50 miles of horse riding trails that have become some of the most popular in Texas.

He was well read and a student of history. Hughey P. Long, Governor of Louisiana in the 1930s, was one of his favorite politicians. Jim was a strict constitutionalist and was very concerned about the moral decline and indebtedness of our nation.

Pallbearers will be Jim Tarrant, Jr., Ken Tarrant, Matt Tarrant, Ben Tarrant, Bryan Lutz, and Bert Cameron.

Visitation will begin on Saturday, May 17, 2014 with family receiving friends from 5-7p.m. at Autry Funeral Home in Jacksonville.

If you have a special memory, please take time to send Mary Anne and the boys a note at P.O. Box 286, Bullard, TX 75757.

In lieu of flowers, please make donations to Hospice of East Texas, 4111 University Blvd. Tyler, Texas 75701.

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