The Henry Noil Stanley Family
Back row: Harold, James, Lillie, Henry, Rudolph, Jimmy and Travis
Front Row: Maxine, Jerry and Oneal
My first recollection of James Richard Stanley was when I met him at a Stanley family reunion in 2000 in White Oak, Texas. James’ father and my grandfather were half brothers, and while I do remember his father, Henry Noil, visiting my grandfather, I do not remember having met him, nor his siblings, until much later in life. My brother Tommy Stanley, had known most of Uncle Henry’s children, and invited them to our reunion. How glad I am that he introduced me to them!
Henry Noil was born to Thomas Jefferson Stanley and Mary Frances Whittington, Thomas’ second wife. James was one of eight children born to Henry Noil Stanley and wife, Lillie B. Law. He was born on July 8, 1935 in Kilgore, Texas. Most of life, he and his siblings, namely Ennis Harold, Rudolph Eugene, Jimmy Wayne, Travis Edward, Thelma Maxine, Jerry Lee and Noil Oneal, lived in East Texas where Henry worked in the oil fields.
James Richard was born July 8, 1935 in Kilgore, Texas. He entered the United States Air Force on July 1, 1954 where he worked in the operations work center. After twenty-one years, he retired with the rank of Master Sargent.
When he married Erma Maxine Sproles in Gregg County, Texas on December 24, 1977 he also gained a family of three children Maxine had from a former marriage. They are Tommy, Ruby and Barbara.
Following his retirement in the Air Force and returning to East Texas he was involved in the oil field business but always had time for memberships in charitable organizations such as being a 33rd degree Mason. He was a member in the Danville Lodge 101 AF & AM, the Valley-Hi Lodge 1407, was a Shriner, the East Texas Governor of Demolay, a member of the American Legion and the Veterans of Foreign War.
Through our getting acquainted at that reunion in 2000 he and his brothers shared that they didn’t know who their father’s mother was. Luckily I had gathered information on the Whittingtons, had located her tombstone in Ida and as only too happy to share it with them. My problem was that while I had located Mary Frances’ tombstone, I had been unable to locate Thomas Jefferson’s. James Richard had been to Munnerlyn Chapel Cemetery (as a child) and knew where it was! The tombstone search was on!!
I met James Richard and wife Maxine, his brothers Harold and Travis and his wife, Tricia in Gilliam in April 2012 where we had lunch before setting off to Ida to revisit the Munnerlyn Chapel Cemetery and Bethsaida Baptist Church Cemetery. Richard remembered there had been a cedar tree by our ancestory, Thomas Jefferson’s marker at Munnerlyn Chapel. Needless to say, we were all disappointed in not finding a single cedar tree in the cemetery! Nor a tombstone.
A few miles north on Highway 71 we stopped off at Bethsaida and located Mary Francis’ tombstone, made a few photos and then stopped in Ida at the gazebo for refreshments and me to read excerpts from the book Ida 2000 by James Allison that spoke about the Whittington history in that community. They bought a copy of that book for their family history while visiting at the Ida Library.
James Richard Stanley and wife Erma Maxine Sproles Stanley
James Richard, Tricia (wife of Travis), Harold, Maxine and Travis Stanley
James Richard passed away November 28, 2013 but not before he knew about his grandmother. He is buried at Lakeview Memorial Gardens in Longview, Texas.