Jim Lanier

Jim Lanier

Shawnee - Jim Lanier was a Shawnee native. Born on February 17, 1938, he was the third son of Austin and Ruby Lanier. Eldest brother Perry preceded him in death. Elder brother Duane, younger brother Darrel, and younger sister Rozanne all have survived him.

His earliest and fondest days were spent on a farm that his family share cropped. It is remembered as "the Clark Place". It was on the north outskirts of town on a road now called Wildcat Blvd. Jim never tired of the stories of that place and time. If you came to visit eventually you would end up in the car with him, sitting in front of where it all happened. Jim would animatedly point out where the barn stood, how the garden was laid out, the pear tree that still remains and he'd share his tales of adventure.

Growing up on a farm in Shawnee Jim experienced the grace of simpler times: plowing with mules, one-room school houses, butchering livestock, canning a year's supply of vegetables, a cattle drive through town when his family moved to their own place on Lake Road, the 5am call to the milk barn, the 5pm call to the milk barn, the last horse driven threshing crew, the last ice delivery in Shawnee, cherished memories of labor and love.

In 1958 he met Glenda Ann Carter while both were students at Oklahoma Baptist University. On a snowy day, standing in the quad outside the library, forsaking all others, they talked for the first time and fell in love. Less than a year later they were married. In thirteen months they had their first child, Robert Dean Lanier. Fourteen months later they had their second, Lisa Carol Lanier. In fourteen more months they had their third child, Cherisse Gay Lanier.

Opportunity led them to California where Jim harkened a call to preach. He began filling the pulpit in small churches across Kern County. In 1973Jim became the pastor of Central Baptist Church in Bakersfield, CA. He served that congregation for eight happy and potent years. With the children grown and out on their own he and Glenda moved to Southern California where he was called to pastor the First Southern Baptist Church of Brea, Ca. Then in 1986 he found a home at Baldwin Park Baptist Church where he gave the richest years of his life to nurturing that loving congregation.

In 2005 the old okie surprised himself and moved to Texas to be near Lisa and the grandchildren. Jim was asked to pastor the First Baptist Church of Lucas, TX. He found a home with a two acre lot and a barn where, for a time, he kept two horses, a donkey, a llama, three goats, a dog, and roses. Jim was happy in Lucas. Until his beloved wife, Glenda, died on September 2, 2013, oddly on the anniversary of his mother, Ruby Lanier's, death. It broke his heart and he knew his own work was over. He retired from active ministry.

He moved back to Shawnee, to the town and people he knew and loved. He found that the town and the people still knew him. And he was content in their mutual embrace. A particular blessing to Jim was Sue Bernard. They had been childhood friends and now, as retired widows, found a comforting partnership for six years.

Jim expected that he wouldn't live much past his 80th birthday, following the pattern of his recent ancestors. Jim had been a big, strong man, and it was difficult for him to live with his aging body and his diminishing capacities. Shortly after his 82nd birthday he died peacefully. His family and loved ones took consolation knowing that he was ready to go.

Jim is survived by his three children, Rob, Lisa and Cherisse, Lisa's daughters, Ashley and Ariel, Cherisse's son Zachary, son Chance and daughter Mahalia, Rob's son Jesse Dean, and Ashley's daughters Scarlett and Darcy.

All family, friends and acquaintances are welcome to attend the memorial service on Saturday, July 3 at 11:00 am at Blackburn Chapel, 36305 Lake Rd., Bethel Acres, OK, and share in remembering and blessing the passing of Jim Lanier.

Posted online on June 25, 2021