James Franklin Wade, 92, of Bullard, TX, passed away peacefully on Easter Sunday, April 1, 2018, in Tyler, surrounded by members of his family.
He was born on June 22, 1925 in Fairmont, WV to Charles Franklin Wade and Catherine (Troxell) Wade, where he attended elementary and high school through grade 11.
Soon after, his family moved to Akron, Ohio, where Jim met his first wife, Jane Ulrich, while working at the soda counter in a local drugstore. World War II was in full force at that time and, following high school graduation in 1943, he enlisted in the U.S. Navy. He proudly served his country as a Naval Pharmacist Mate.
Assigned as a Corpsman with the Third Division of U.S. Marine Corps, he served on Guam and the battle on Iwo Jima, where he witnessed the famous raising of the American flag.
Following the war, Jim attended college for two years, was married and raised a family of four boys. He held significant leadership positions with the Hickok Corporation and Knothe Brothers before forming his own business in 1966, J. Franklin, Inc. near Detroit, MI. The company sold men’s and boy’s belts and small leather goods to retail stores throughout the Midwest.
After selling his business in 1970, he joined Swank, Inc., heading up their belt division for a brief time before returning to Hickok Corporation as V.P. of Sales in Arlington, Texas.
In 1979, he married Mardee G. Land, gaining two daughters in the process. His work in the men’s, and later women’s, apparel business continued. He held V.P. positions with Salvatori, Target Sportswear and Hyde Clothing Co., resulting in moves to Naperville, IL and New York City, prior to retiring to Dixon, IL, then finally moving to Bullard, TX in 1994.
Bored with retirement, Jim and Mardee purchased “The Movie Place” in 1996, a video rental store, which they ran until retiring for good in 2007. He remained active in his retirement years, staying in contact with family, friends and former business associates, supporting his local grandchildren in school activities, sponsoring the Bullard American Flag project, and participating in the annual Iwo Jima survivors’ reunions in Wichita Falls. Those reunions were especially meaningful to him.
A large family survives him. In addition to his wife Mardee; also surviving are sons: Timothy Wade (Vicki) of Traverse City, MI; Richard Wade (Deborah Molnar) of Southfield, MI; Michael Wade of Birmingham, MI; Christopher Wade (Sherri) of Arlington, TX; and daughters: Stacey Land of Cold Spring, KY and Kristen Rogers (Matthew) of Bullard; thirteen grandchildren: Erin Wade (Kent Lee), Amanda Wade (Phil Jones), Olin Wade, Loren Molnar, Brynn Wade (Casey Ashby), Dilan Wade, Blake Wade (Stephanie), Chase Wade, Michelle Hardesty, Stephanie Hardesty, Rachel Hardesty, Benjamin Rogers, Madelene Rogers; and nine great-grandchildren.
Jim was preceded in death by his parents; sister and brother-in-law, Jody and James McElhiney; daughter-in-law, Anne Ashley (Michael Wade); and his former wife Jane (Ulrich) Wade.
A memorial service celebrating Mr. Wade’s life was held Friday, April 6, at the Stewart Family Funeral Home Chapel, with Reverend Tammy Woodard officiating.
Memorial contributions in honor of Mr. Wade may be made to The Home Place Hospice of East Texas, 4111 University Blvd., Tyler, TX 75701.