Friday, June 21, 2024

James Watkins Slack (J.W.)

by Randy Brown
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James Watkins Slack (J.W.)

Our beloved father, James Watkins Slack (J.W.), went to be with his Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, on Saturday, February 24, 2024. Waiting for him was our dear mother, Mary Virginia Williamson Slack (Ginger).

Visitation will be held on Tuesday, February 27, 2024 from 4:00 – 7:00 p.m. at Airline Baptist Church. A Celebration of Life will be conducted by Rev. Harrell Shelton on Wednesday, February 28, 2024 at 2:00 p.m. at Airline Baptist Church. Interment will immediately follow at Hill Crest Memorial Park.

J.W. was born June 9, 1936 in Shreveport, Louisiana to Thomas Pleasant (T.P.) and Mamie Elizabeth Elkins Slack. He is the youngest of eight children. J.W. spent his early years living in Ivan until his family moved to Waller Street in Bossier City, LA. He attended Bossier Elementary School, and later Bossier High School where he graduated in 1955. At Bossier High School, he met the love of his life, Ginger, and they were married in 1954 and enjoyed 57 years of marriage before Ginger’s passing away November 27, 2010.

His outstanding high school sports career included Captain of the Bearkats Football Team his junior and senior year; named to the All-City Team in 1953 and 1954, along with being an All-State selection his senior year. He rushed for 1130 yards and scored 16 touchdowns. During the spring, J.W. was a sprinter on the track and field team and a speedy centerfielder on the Bossier High School Baseball Team. For all his accomplishments, he was selected to the Bossier High School Athletics Hall of Fame.

After high school J.W. was recruited by numerous colleges throughout the South (LSU, Mississippi State, Texas A&M and Tulane). Wanting to stay close to home, he chose to attend LA Tech. Coach Joe Aillet recruited J.W., and he became a starter at LA Tech in 1957, 1958, and 1959. This was at a time when platoon football was the norm with players playing both ways and usually playing two and a half quarters per game. J.W. ran the ball, caught passes, played defensive back, punted, and kicked extra points. He was voted Captain by his teammates his senior year, was named all Gulf States Conference his junior and senior year, and selected as an All-American in his senior year. He played on one of the greatest teams in LA Tech history allowing only 48 points in ten games with a record of 9-1 in 1959. He was inducted into the LA Tech Athletics Hall of Fame in 2019.

After his college career J.W. signed with the Los Angeles Chargers of the “new” American Football League. After a couple of years with the Chargers, he decided to come home to Bossier City to be with Ginger, sons, Terry and Dwayne. Jay was on the way but had not yet arrived.

J.W. had opportunities to coach and teach, but instead, he chose to join the Bossier Parish Sheriff’s Department. He later joined the City Marshal’s office and between the two served over thirty years before his retirement. He also served on the Bossier Parish School Board representing the citizens in District 7 for twenty-five years before retiring in 2022. Culminating his tenure on the school board, J.W. was honored by the parish, city, and state resulting in him receiving state recognition for his lengthy service and a key to the city.

More important than all his worldly accomplishments, J.W. surrendered his life to Christ at a Billy Graham Crusade in Shreveport in 1951. This decision led to a committed life of service to his Lord, Jesus Christ. Our parents showed us what a marriage that honored God was supposed to look like. We were taught the importance of prayer, Bible Study, and church attendance. Our dad was the example of how a Godly husband stands by, loves, and cares for his wife. He took care of our mother through the years she was battling Multiple Myeloma. J.W. and Ginger were faithful members of Airline Baptist Church. He served as a choir member, deacon, and member of the Randy Wilkes Sunday School Class.

J.W. was preceded in death by his wife, Ginger his parents, T.P. and Mamie Slack, brother, Dale Slack, and sisters, Elizabeth, Chrystell, Lucille, Violet, Hazel, and Betty Jo. He is survived by his three sons Terry (Peggy), Dwayne (Cathi), and Jay (Kim), four grandsons, Hayden Slack (Hailey), Will Slack (Lysandra), Carter Slack, Carson Slack, two granddaughters, Sarah Beth Avery, (Jon Lee), and Mary Lauren Slack, great grandsons Jon Paul Avery and James Walker Avery and soon to be born, Baby Girl Slack. He is also survived by many cousins, nieces, nephews and extended family.

Honoring J.W. as pallbearers will be his four grandsons, along with Jerry Elkins, and Sam Bozeman.

Honorary pallbearers are Lynn Austin, Jack Bice, Wayne Bourgeois, Dr. Billy Bundrick, Jim Campbell, Pat Collins, Bill Cox, Larry Deen, Joe Hinton, Ira Jones, Petie Moore, James Patterson, Mickey Slaughter, Scotty Teague, Don Tippett, and A.L. Williams.

The family would like to share one of our Dad’s favorite verses: “Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all; so we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” 2 Corinthians 4:16-18.

Our family would like to thank the doctors and nurses at Willis/Knighton Pierremont and the staff at Old Brownlee Community Care Center. In addition we thank Ashley and the nurses and staff with Gentiva Hospice. We would like to extend a special thanks to Patty Linder, Connie Cliburn and Suzone Linder for their compassion and loving care during the last months of our father’s life.

The family requests memorials in honor of J.W. Slack be made to Airline Baptist Church, 4007 Airline Drive, Bossier City, LA 71111, Fellowship of Christian Athletes, P.O. 5118, Bossier City, LA 71171 or the charity of the donor’s choice.

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