James Monroe Harbour Jr. passed away peacefully Thursday, June 2, after a long battle with skin cancer. James was born into a pioneer West Texas family on October 23, 1927 to Ella Elizabeth and James M. Harbour Sr. in the family farmhouse (which still stands) 4 miles east of Balmorhea, Texas. James worked the farms and ranches of his father until he graduated from Balmorhea High School in 1946. He then worked for the US Bureau of Reclamation as a surveyor laying out many of the irrigation ditches which are still in use today. During a trip to Ft. Stockton he met the love of his life and future wife of 64 years, Janice Choate; they were married in Carlsbad, New Mexico on March 1, 1952. Two children, Kay and James H., were born in McCamey, Texas while he was survey foreman for WW Graff & Associates. Two more children, Jay and Carolyn, were added to the family in Ft. Stockton, Texas, where in 1956 James saw opportunity at the new Firestone Test Facility west of town. He was the third man hired and drove for thirty years accident free and was inducted into the Million Mile Club in Houston, Texas. After retirement from Firestone in 1986, he then worked for Texas A&M Experiment Station for seven years. During all this full-time work James also farmed and ranched in Pecos and Reeves counties. Though he usually worked seven days a week, he somehow made time for church on Sundays and yearly family vacations to New Mexico, Arizona and Colorado. Besides driving over two million miles he also danced another million with his wife, Jan, until a broken hip sidelined him. They never missed a Cowboy Symposium in Ruidoso, New Mexico. For twenty-two straight years they were always accompanied by son Jay, daughter-in-law Darla and granddaughter Jana J. Those times will be dearly missed and thought of often. Besides dancing, he also loved dominoes and is probably playing now. Always a character, he would pull a good-natured prank on you if he could. He also loved Labor Day dove hunts at the farm with family and friends and always took good care of his horses and livestock. Later in life, his cats were his kids. We will miss you every day and cherish all the wonderful memories we have had with you. James was preceded in death by his parents and brother Harvey. He is survived by his wife Jan, sister Florine Blair (Wayne), daughters Kay Harbour, Carolyn Harbour Huelster (Rick), sons James H. Harbour and Jay T. Harbour (Darla), grandchildren Melissa Landsberger (Matt), Tasha Ortiz (Santiago), James H. Harbour, Jr., Jeremy Harbour (Geneva), Jake Harbour, Jana J Harbour, Courtney Huelster, Reed Huelster, Cara Huelster and numerous great grandchildren.
Friends and family will gather to celebrate his life on June 6th at Heritage Funeral Home in Fort Stockton from 5-7pm. Graveside services will be held at Balmorhea Cemetary at 2pm on Tuesday, June 7th. James was a member of the First Presbyterian Church in Fort Stockton and donations may be made in his honor to the church in lieu of flowers.