MARKHAM, JAMES LEO
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James Leo ( J. L. ) Markham Jr. was born on February 14, 1926 in Lake City, Florida. He died peacefully at home after an extended illness on May 9, 2013. Mr. Markham was a lifelong resident of Lake City and attended Lake City schools, where he played on the Columbia High football and track teams. He was affiliated with the Advent Christian faith.
Mr. Markham joined the United States Marine Corps the day after he turned seventeen during World War II. He was sent to Paris Island where he met his drill master and mentor, Corporal Doyle. He was assigned to the USS Wilkes-Barr, and was sent to Japan, where he engaged in various campaigns. One campaign, Mr. Markham and two of his fellow Marines were knocked unconscious by a nearby bomb. They were taken back to their barracks where one was sent home and Mr. Markham and the other Marine were ordered bed rest for two weeks. Mr. Markham was reported MIA to his family by the U.S. government and it was reported in the local paper. It would be weeks before Mr. Markham's family would find out he was alive. Mr. Markham suffered bilateral eardrum rupture, which resulted in permanent ringing in the ears and a concussion. He was prescribed two weeks bed rest, then sent back into battle even through all he could hear was constant ringing. Due to wartime conditions, his papers were not completed, and Mr. Markham would not receive his campaign medals and purple heart until thirty years later. Upon Mr. Markham return back to Lake City, he became employed with Southern Bell as a lineman. He was employed with them for thirty-eight years until his retirement. Mr. Markham was also one of the founding members to help start the Florida Army National Guard Reserve in Lake City. Mr. Markham was later asked to be the l Sergeant. Mr. Markham accepted the position and remained the l' Sergeant until his retirement on February 14, 1986. Many of Lake City's young men grew up under his command. There would be many stories told about the two weeks at Camp Blanding each year, most of them funny, but true, but they never got tire of hearing them. Through his personal involvement in the Florida Army National Guard Reserve, Mr. Markham had many times been called "Mr. National Guard" in the community. But to many of his friends and associates he was known as"Sarge".
Mr. Markham was a avid hunter and fisherman. He loved to dog hunt and the sound of dogs chasing a deer was music to his ears. He loved jigger fishing, no motor needed, just someone to paddle the boat. He was known for being very popular with every game warden in Columbia County. They were always trying to catch up with him, but was never quite able to. Everyone loved gathering at Carter's Food Store or Johnny Brim's Bait and Tackle to listen to his many hunting and fishing tales and the days of the Marine Corps and Corporal Doyle.
Mr. Markham loved the outdoors, his family, God, and his country. He loved to watch Old Westerns, Fox news, Seminole Football, and Eli and Peyton Manning. He was an avid Republican.
Mr. Markham is preceded in death by his father, James Leo Markham Sr., mother, Annie Lee Cox Markham, grandfather, Charles Wesley Markham, grandmother, Nettie Ann Payne Markham, sister, Alene Markham Cox, wife, Hazel Batterson Markham, son, Linwood Larry Markham, and stepson, Mark Batterson (Jan).
Mr. Markham is survived by his daughter, Jennifer Ann Markham Bowles (Jerry), granddaughters, Lindsey Renee Bowles (John Pickett), Jennifer Marie Bowles McKeithen, and Afton Markham Brown (Chuck), grandsons, Dustin Duane Dupree (Elena) and Philip Stephen Markham (Eva), great-granddaughters, Ciarra Marie Shelton, Virginia Katyana Carr, Kaley Marie McKeithen, Selena Maria Stanforth, Charleigh Brown, Luci Brown, and Kaylee Markham, great-grandsons, Stephen Thomas Stanforth, Joshua Lucien Dupree, and Caleb Markham, ex-wife, Ramah (Raye) Mable Markham, and ex-daughter-in-law, Sandra Lewis Markham.
Funeral services will be conducted at 2 P.M. Tuesday, May 14, in the Chapel of Guerry Funeral Home with Mr. Bob DeSpantis, Chaplain of Nature's Coast Hospice, officiating. Interment will be in Bethel Cemetery, Columbia County, Fla. Visitation will be from 5 to 8 P.M. Monday, May 13, at GUERRY FUNERAL HOME, 2659 S.W. Main Blvd., Lake City, Fla. Please make memorials to Nature's Coast Hospice or the Wounded Warrior's Foundation .
Published in Gainesville Sun from May 12 to May 13, 2013