TUPELO – Born in Jackson as the only child to Jimmy Westbrook and Mary Tanksley Westbrook, Jim moved to Tupelo in 1949 when his parents opened their retail store, Westbrook's, in downtown Tupelo. Jim graduated from Tupelo High School in 1954. In 1958 Jim graduated with honors in Chemical Engineering from Vanderbilt University. At Vanderbilt, Jim was president of Phi Delta Theta fraternity.
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In 1960, while working for Esso in Baton Rouge, La., Jim married Charlotte Josephine Tannehill of Urania, La. In 1961 the couple moved to Tupelo where Jim purchased Hinds Brothers clothing store in partnership with Jack Reed Sr. Later Jim partnered with James R. Strain. Jim especially enjoyed the opportunity to have a positive influence on the lives of the many young employees who worked at Hinds Brothers and Westbrook's over the years. Charlotte and Jim recently celebrated their 54th wedding anniversary.
Throughout his life Jim was active in the Tupelo community and First United Methodist Church. Some of his interests included pee-wee football coach, Cub Scout Master and chairman of the Tupelo Christmas Parade. In 1971 Jim was co-founder of the Gum Tree Art Festival with Bill Ford and Gus Staub. He was also a founding board member of the Gardner-Simmons Home for Girls and the Association for Excellence in Education. Jim was a committee chair and team leader for Helping Hands and a Sunday school teacher.
Jim is survived by his wife, Charlotte, and three sons: Jimmy Westbrook III and spouse, Emily Sims Westbrook, of Birmingham, Ala.; Justin Tannehill Westbrook and spouse, Mariela Cruz Westbrook, of Managua, Nicaragua; and Bennett Davidson Westbrook and spouse, Amy Moltman Westbrook, of Brentwood, Tenn. He is survived by eight grandchildren: Cameron Van Westbrook, Amanda Margaret Westbrook, Silena Isabella Westbrook, George Diego Tannehill Westbrook, Winston Tanksley Westbrook, Abraham Lothrop Westbrook, Harry Davidson Westbrook and Davis Chisman Westbrook.
A memorial service will be held at 2 p.m. Sunday, April 27, at First United Methodist Church in Tupelo. Visitation in the church gathering room will follow the service. Honorary pallbearers are Jim Diffee, Tommy Gardner, Brad Gibens, Hugh Luckett, Bill Murphree, Milton Nash, Jack Reed Sr., Bob Sims and Ron Stephens. W.E. Pegues Funeral Directors is in charge of arrangements.
Expressions of sympathy may be left at www.peguesfuneralhome.com.
W.E. Pegues Funeral Directors
535 West Jefferson Street
Tupelo, MS 38804
Published in Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal on Apr. 26, 2014