Cover photo for James Jennings's Obituary
James Jennings Profile Photo
1947 James Jennings 2023

James Jennings

December 15, 1947 — May 22, 2023


James Dwight Jennings was born at Tailholt, OK on December 15, 1947 to Edward & Juanita (Wainwright) Jennings. He was the 3rd of 8 children and they were raised in several places throughout Cherokee and Adair Counties. He was baptized into the General Assembly & Church of the Firstborn on January 17, 1986 by Bro. Larry Glory. He was affectionately known as JJ by most who knew him throughout his life.

The Jennings family moved often so James went to several different schools including Caney, Oakdale, Boudinot, Bagley & Tahlequah. He completed up to the 10th grade, when he started working full time to help support the family. James always spoke fondly of his life, even the tough times. His favorite meal was beans, fried potatoes, and cornbread, just like his mother made and said it always reminded him of where he came from. His love of coffee was well known and he often carried a cup with him wherever he would go. When he was at home, he always had a pot brewing and everyone knew if you poured the last cup, you brewed the next pot.

James was drafted into the Army in 1967. He was stationed in Fort Polk, Louisiana, Bad Kreuznach, Germany, and Fort Hood, TX until he returned home in 1969, remaining on reserve until 1971. He remained very patriotic throughout his life and was proud of each member of his family who served in the armed forces.

James had a great love of cars that began at a young age. He was a skilled mechanic and worked in various places in this profession for many years, including Garrett Chevrolet in Stilwell & Parker Motor Company in Tahlequah. He was eventually hired as a mechanic for Greenleaf Nursery, where he worked for 33 years before retiring. He made many friendships there and would tell funny stories of what the guys in the shop had done.

He was always willing to use his knowledge of cars to help others when they had a problem. He took pride in fixing vehicles for friends and loved ones, to make sure they had safe and reliable transportation. If you ever needed someone to come "kick the tires" with you while you shopped for a vehicle, he was only a phone call away. Many times he was called to come and rescue one of his children or grandchildren from beside the road, and he willingly came and helped, doing whatever it took to get them back on the road.

James was very proud of his family. He was married several times, but he would never tell you any of them was a mistake, because it was these unions that brought him his children, which were the pride of his life. Though the family was blended, he always said "We are all one family." He loved time with his children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren, spending hours pushing swings or helping them on the teeter-totter he made. He taught them how to ride bikes, how to fish, how to care for and shoot guns, and many other activities. He spent years making, maintaining, and improving trails throughout the property, just so the kids had a place to ride golf carts and four-wheelers, and have hours fun together.

James loved his time on the local rivers and lakes. He would tell you about his younger years when he spent many days having fun with his brothers and friends floating the Illinois River or hanging out on Baron Fork. After he was baptized, he put aside his party days, but he still very much enjoyed taking his children out in the canoe for a family float down the river. As he got older, he looked forward to each year's Jennings family reunion at Petit Bay on Lake Tenkiller, where he was thrilled to spend time with the grandkids, swimming, boating, and fishing from the dock.

He loved the family reunion auction, and would get such a kick out of running prices up on his brothers and nephews, with a big grin and a twinkle in his eye, when he knew they really wanted something. Most of the time, after winning the bid and purchasing the item, he would later go give it to them anyway. He said it was more fun to do it like that, as he loved bringing a smile to their face as he handed it over. His love of auctions didn't end at the family reunion. He spent many days at John R's Auction barn, and finding estate auctions all over the county, especially Kenny Adam's auctions. He almost never left empty-handed, always coming up with some treasure he'd found for the grandkids or something to use around the house or shop.

In his later years, James faced a battle with Alzheimer's. As his mind began to trouble him, he often got frustrated when he couldn't remember someone's name, but he remembered they were family and wanted them to know he loved them. Even near the end, his family was still his source of joy, and he was surrounded by those he loved in the days before his passing. James departed from this life on Monday May 22, 2023 in Muskogee, OK.

James was preceded in death by his parents Edward & Juanita Jennings; Brothers Johnny, Delmer, Gary, and Rick Jennings; Brother-in-Law Ray Ward; Sisters-in-Law Elaine and Iva Jennings; Son Jonathan Hutton; Grandson Landon Hutton; and several beloved nephews & nieces.

He is survived by his children, Ranea Poteet of Tahlequah, OK, James Dell Jennings (Amber) of Westville, OK, Lisa Parr (Drew) of Bella Vista, AR, JoElla Retherford (Aaron) of Tahlequah, OK, Jarrett Hutton (Sandra) of Welling, OK, and Eli Jennings (Brittney) of Welling, OK; Grandchildren Ashley, Lindsay, Chase, Megan, Kayla, Shae, Lexie, Katie, Allison, Madison, Meaghan, Leland, Girric, Leanna, and soon-to-be grandson James David; Great-Grandchildren Kenlee, Remi, Eden, Asher, Aria, and one more on the way; Brothers Dwayne Jennings (Carol) of Stilwell, OK and Keith Jennings (Sue) of Newport News, VA; Sister Anita Ward of Cookson, OK; Sisters-In-Law Hiawatha Jennings of Vici, OK and Janice Jennings of Checotah, OK; and numerous nephews, nieces, extended family, brethren, and friends.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of James Jennings, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services


Wednesday, May 24, 2023

2:00 - 7:00 pm

Hart Funeral Home- Tahlequah

1506 N Grand Ave, Tahlequah, OK 74464

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.

Funeral Service

Thursday, May 25, 2023

Starts at 11:00 am

Hart Funeral Home- Tahlequah

1506 N Grand Ave, Tahlequah, OK 74464

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.


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