James Royce Harper

Published 2:42 pm Tuesday, June 4, 2024

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James Royce Harper, 61, of Port Neches passed away into the loving arms of his Lord and Savior on Friday, May 31, 2024, at Memorial Hermann Hospital in Houston.

He was born to William “Royce” and Margie Harper on Sunday, August 12, 1962, in Port Arthur.

On July 26, 2003, James would marry the love of his life, Angela Thornton. They would enjoy being married for almost 21 years at the time of his passing.

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He is preceded in death by his father, William “Royce” Harper, his mother in law, Ellen Thornton, and both his paternal and maternal grandparents.

Those left to cherish his memory are his wife Angela Thornton Harper and only daughter Alyssa Ellen Harper of Port Neches, mother Margie Harper, brother Michael Harper and partner Jed Duhon all of Austin, his father in law Jack Thornton of Groves, Alyssa’s lifelong best friend/acquired bonus daughter Desireé Hoag of Groves, and niece Dillon and nephew Ian of Austin. He will also be remembered by family, friends, fellow coworkers, and students of Memorial High School in Port Arthur.

James was a very active member of First Baptist Church of Groves where he served as a deacon, adult Sunday school teacher, Children’s Church leader, the 3, 4, and 5 year old Wednesday night Bible teacher with Angela as well as a VBS leader. His Christian faith was of the utmost importance to him, and James never hesitated to let others know about Jesus.

He graduated from Thomas Jefferson High School in 1980. James earned his Bachelor’s Degree from Lamar University and Master’s Degree from the University of Houston. He would return to his alma mater as Memorial High School’s CTE campus graphic arts instructor where he would teach both regular and special needs students. In 1997, he had the distinct honor of being named Secondary Teacher of the Year. James was currently teaching up until his long hospitalization and death, and he had just received his 30 year service award. He was also the Art Club sponsor.

Besides being a high school teacher, James was known as “Sunny the Clown” in which he made balloon animals and did face painting for children’s ministries, grand openings, birthday parties, and the Avery Anne Guerra Foundation. The kids and adults totally loved him!

James spent his life serving others in a variety of capacities. From being a Relay for Life Chairman, Hughen School volunteer, and Port Cities Rescue Mission helper, his number one goal was to glorify the Lord in all aspects of his life. He was the sweetest, kindest soul you would ever meet. Known for his goofiness, smiles, and hugs, he would simply light up the room by his presence. You never had to doubt where you stood with him, and he never met a stranger. To know him was to love him. James was most proud of being Angela’s husband and Alyssa’s dad and would talk about them for hours if allowed.

He enjoyed making people smile, attending all of Alyssa’s and Desi’s events, plants, cooking, Xylo and Rudi, and seeing that others were well taken care of.

Funeral services will be held at 11AM on Saturday, June 8, 2024, at Melancon Levingston Funeral Home in Groves with Dr. Joe Worley and Bro. Charles Miller officiating. Burial will follow in Greenlawn Memorial Park.  A visitation for family and friends will be held Friday evening, June 7, 2024, from 5-8PM at the funeral home.

If so desired, donations in James’s memory may be made to the First Baptist Church of Groves youth, Groves Middle School library, or Tim Tebow’s Night to Shine.