James Harlen McAlister was born March 11, 1959 in Baytown Texas to James and Mearlena McAlister. He died February 22, 2016 at St John’s Hospital in Tulsa, Oklahoma surrounded by his loving family.
He was the oldest child of eight born to Jim and Mearlena, later his father had another son. He grew up in Del City and multiple places in SE Oklahoma. Jim was an only child for 7 years before his siblings came along. He was always teasing them during their childhood. One such incident was at the swinging bridge over the Kiamichi River which they often had to cross to get home if the river was to swollen to cross. He would wait until they were in the middle of the bridge before he started making it swing, causing all the younger children to scream for fear of their falling into the river below. He also made the younger boys wash his car at the creek for him.
He was preceded in death by his grandparents James McAlister, Lillian and Earl Hill, Algy and Virginia Martin, his parents Jim and Mearlena and 4 siblings, Ronald, Todd, Chad and baby girl McAlister, and many aunts and uncles.
He is survived by his wife Angela and his two sons James Garrett 18 and Jared Ian 16 of the home, his siblings Richard & Alissa of Red Oak, Teresa & Brian Hitt of Denver, CO, Corey & Melinda of Hartshorne and Travis of Texas, his Aunt Joyce who lead him along his path of life and Aunt Ladonna, 19 nieces and nephews along with numerous cousins and friends.
Jim was a self-taught man. He started by learning bricklaying from his father. He liked the challenge of learning and he would immerse himself in whatever interested him, therefore, over the years he gained a lot of knowledge in many different fields.Some thought of him as a jack of all trades but Ange called him her Renaissance Man. In fact, the family had to really think to come up with just one occupation to list for him. Ange finally chose fabricator as he could create and build anything he put his mind to doing. His skills were never-ending as were his projects which his family will continue to attempt to complete.
He met and married his wife while living in the Oklahoma City area in 1980. They split their time between the Oklahoma City metro and SE Oklahoma, as they had family and friends in both areas. When they had been married for 17 years, they were blessed with the birth of their first son, Garrett. Two years later, they were again blessed with their second son, Ian, making their family complete.
Jim was very determined that his 2 sons should feel secure in his love for them so he spent much time with them, teaching them portions of his great knowledge. He never forgot that there needed to be family time. He spent time with his family enjoying the zoo, museums, travel and the desire of the simple life.He wanted his sons to comprehend his love of learning and always took the time to teach them the skills needed to eventually build their own home when the time comes.
Projects that he worked on with his sons included a trailer which the 3 of them built only from scrap that he had available and which they have used for years now. They helped him with remodels in Oklahoma City, Del City, Tuskahoma and Haileyville along with many other smaller projects He planned to teach his sons so much more if time had allowed.