James Ruben Erving, the son of Clara Hankins and the late Ruben Erving, was born in Crenshaw, Miss. on June 6, 1954 and died at the VA Medical Center in Memphis, Tenn. on Jan. 12, 2002, at the age of 47. Mr. Erving had lived in Essex before serving in the United States Army. He moved to Sikeston in 1977. He was a graduate of Richland High School, a member of the Greers Chapel Baptist Church and had served in the United States Army. He was also the recipient of the Golden Poet Award in 1987. Surviving are one son, Courtney Erving Baker of Cincinnati, Ohio; one daughter, Patricia Smooth of Malden; his mother and step-father, Clara and Charlie, Sr. Hankins of Sikeston; his maternal grandmother, Grace Wynn of Sikeston; four grandchildren; two step-brothers, Charlie Hankins, Jr. of Sikeston and Sheldon Hankins of Kansas City, Mo.; and one step-sister, Dearmond D. Wofford of Kansas City, Mo. Visitation will be held on Saturday, Jan. 19 from 12 - 1 p.m. at the Watkins & Sons Funeral Home in Dexter. Funeral services will be conducted at 1 p.m. on Jan. 19 with Rev. Ronald Williams, Sr. of Sikeston officiating. Interment will follow in the Sunset of Memories Cemetery in Sikeston with Watkins & Sons Funeral Service of Dexter in charge of arrangements.