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James Kenneth Hamsley


1929 - 2017 Obituary Condolences Gallery
James Kenneth Hamsley Obituary
James Kenneth Hamsley

Collierville, TN

James Kenneth Hamsley, Sr., 87, of Collierville went Home Saturday, March 11, 2017 after a short stay at The Baptist Reynolds Hospice House of Collierville. He leaves his loving wife, Betty Jean (Wilson) Hamsley after 65+ years of marriage. He also leaves his fours sons and their families: Kenny, Jr. and wife, Gailor, and children Jake, III and MayMay Lindley; Keith and wife, Debra, and children Lauren and Alex and wife, Deanna; Dr. Jeff, Sr. and wife, Siyan and children Susanna, Jeffrey, Jr., and George; and Mark and wife Lisa and son, Peyton.

Ken and Betty were also blessed with 3 great grandchildren, Emerson, Ezra, and, Mary Gailor, as well as 3 step-great grandchildren Kyle Elich, Erin Elich, and Mark Elich. Ken is preceded in death by his first grandchild, Christopher in 2002, as well as his only sibling, Edith Barnes in 2008.

Born July 5, 1929 and raised in Grenada, MS, Ken or "Sonny Boy" as he was affectionately named by his mom, was the youngest of two children to William Perry "Bake" Hamsley and Annie Dean (Rounsaville). He grew up in a time and place when you could ride alone on the bus to Memphis to catch the matinees, shop on Main St., and ride home before dark by yourself or with a friend. Interestingly, Ken's two best friends in his Senior class at Grenada High School, home of the Bulldogs, forgot their sport coats for Senior picture day. Despite Ken's understated style, his mom and sister, Edie had bought him a very distinctive and stylish jacket he gladly wore, along with his two best buddies. Needless to say, it was without a doubt one of the more unusual year books produced by "Bulldog High."

Ken and Betty were high school sweethearts at Grenada High who married on November 2, 1951 while Ken was on leave from U.S. Naval basic training in San Diego, CA. While in the U.S Navy they lived in Jacksonville, FL, then Elizabeth City, NC where their first son was born and finally in Corpus Christi, TX where their second son was born, before returning to Memphis. For the past 60 years they raised their growing family in Memphis and retired to Collierville, TN in 2015. They were long-time members and Ken was a Deacon of Bellevue Baptist Church where they were actively involved over 60 years.

From the 1960's until the early 1980's, Ken was an office equipment supply salesman for Acme Visible. Despite his quiet and easy going nature, he was a born salesman who never took no for an answer and always saw the best in every situation, both in business and life in general. Later he became a dealer for his former employer and successfully operated Hamsley Enterprises from 1986 until he retired in 2014.

A lifelong avid sports fan, Ken could be found on the weekends rooting for his favorite teams whether it was football, basketball, or baseball season, as well as his favorite golfers. Ken enjoyed gardening, a hobby passed on to him and his sister by their mother. He loved raising daylilies and was an active member of the Memphis Area Daylily Society. His greatest love was reserved for his family. And, he delighted in their personal walks of faith with Jesus. Nothing pleased him more than to know his children, his grandchildren, and great-grandchildren were all growing in Spirit and in Truth with the same faith he lived his life out as son, brother, grandson, husband, father, "Papa", and great grandfather.

Visitation is scheduled for Wednesday evening from 5-7 pm. Funeral services and a celebration of life will be on Thursday at 1:00 pm with burial to follow, all at Memorial Park. In lieu of flowers please make a gift or donation to Bellevue Baptist Church Mission Fund or The Baptist Reynolds Hospice House, where Ken was so tenderly cared for, in memory of James Kenneth Hamsley, Sr.
Published in The Commercial Appeal on Mar. 15, 2017
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