James LeVar Pepper, son of the late Earl B. Pepper and Hattie Tucker Pepper, was born June 29, 1917, at Bloomfield and died in the John J. Pershing Veterans Administration Medical Center at Poplar Bluff on Sunday, Feb. 1, 2004, at the age of 86.
Mr. Pepper was a member of the First Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) at Dexter where he served as an Elder. He, along with his father, owned and operated Pepper's Bakery, which was a Bloomfield institution for 68 years. He served in the United States Army from Sept. 27, 1940, to Nov. 5, 1945, and was the Commander of Company "C", 411th Infantry Regiment of the 103rd Infantry Division. Captain Pepper saw combat in five countries in the European theater of operations and was awarded two Silver Stars and two Bronze Stars for bravery and heroism, two Purple Hearts, the Combat Infantry Badge and numerous other decorations and citations. He served for over 20 years as a VA Hospital volunteer, a field agent representative for the Masonic Service Association. He served Bloomfield as President of the Chamber of Commerce who honored him with their 2002 Lifetime Achievement Award. He served as secretary of the Bloomfield School Board, was a member of the American Legion, Disabled American Veterans of Foreign Wars, and a 50-plus year member of the Bloomfield Masonic Lodge #153.
He was united in marriage to Jeanne Jones on Nov. 2, 1941, at Bloomfield. Mrs. Pepper survives of the home in Bloomfield.
Besides his wife, survivors include two sons, James LeVar Pepper, II, of Hot Springs Village, Ark., and Richard T. Pepper of Fox, Ark.; three granddaughters; one grandson; one great-granddaughter; and four great-grandsons.
Besides his parents, he was preceded in death by two sisters, Virginia L. Reed and Betty Jo Griffey.
Visitation will be held from 5-8 p.m. today, Wednesday, Feb. 4, 2004, at the Rainey-Mathis Funeral Chapel in Dexter. A Masonic service will be held at 7 p.m. Wednesday.
Funeral services will be conducted at 1 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 5, 2004, in the Rainey-Mathis Funeral Chapel with Rev. Vaughn Wright officiating.
Interment will follow in the Missouri Veterans Cemetery at Bloomfield.
Memorials may be made to the Stoddard County Children's Home or to St. Jude's Hospital in Memphis, Tenn.