James Ervin Fitzhenry passed away unexpectantly on Saturday, August 15, 2020, just shy of 87 years. He lived a life as a joyful role model and dedicated Christian witness to everyone he met. He is survived by his wife, Bettie Settle Fitzhenry, with whom he spent 65 love-filled years, two daughters, Julie Corley, and her husband Don of Waco, and Gay F. Butz, and her husband Tom of Charleston, SC, four grandchildren and three great granddaughters.
Jim grew up as an only child in Victoria, TX, the son of Amos Ervin and Sophie Fitzhenry. He graduated from Patti Welder High School in 1952. He received his undergraduate degree from Baylor University and his master’s degree from Southwestern Theological Seminary. There wasn’t much Jim couldn’t and didn’t try to do during his lifetime. He was a DJ, a radio and TV announcer, a youth minister, music minister, education director, church fundraiser, editor and marketing manager for Texas Instruments, florist, and the ultimate “encourager of students” as the first Director of Career Services for the University of Mary Hardin Baylor. He always felt each role he had in life prepared him well for the next opportunity that God provided. In addition to his professional work, he was an accomplished artist and published author.
Outside of family, Jim was an active member of his community serving as Chairman of the Board of the Belton Area Chamber of Commerce in 1994. His service culminated in a trip to Japan representing UMHB and the city of Belton for the inaugural ceremonies for the Ebino Plateau International Business College. Every Sunday, he and Bettie could be found at First Baptist of Salado. They both found great joy in the work of the church and were steady hands in the children’s ministry for many years.
In all of his life work, he loved his roles as “Jimbo” to Bettie, “Dad” to his girls, and “PawPaw” to his grands the best. Jim took great pride in the legacy of love and unselfish sacrifice that would continue in the lives of his grandchildren and their children: Ashley Corley McGinity (and her husband, Michael, and their daughters Merritt and Madelyn) of Helotes, TX, Christopher Corley (and his wife, Ashley, and their daughter, Molly) of Katy, TX, Rachel Butz and Caroline Butz of Charleston, SC.
Bettie and her family will be available on Friday, August 21, from 7:30 – 8:30 p.m. for a drive-by visitation on the driveway of their home where Jim and Bettie regularly greeted their friends and neighbors every day. There will be a private family graveside service on Saturday morning, August 22.
Should friends desire, memorial gifts can be made to the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor, 900 College Street, UMHB Box 8433, Belton, Texas, 76513, or online at https://go.umhb.edu/giving (simply indicate the gift is in memory of Jim Fitzhenry/Career Services).
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