Published 12:00 am Tuesday, December 23, 2008
James Lawrence Nolen, 88, of Opp, passed away Dec. 19, 2008, at Mizell Memorial Hospital following an extended illness.
Funeral services will be today, Tues., Dec. 23, at 2 p.m. at First United Methodist Church of Opp with burial to follow at Peaceful Acres Memorial Gardens. A viewing was held at Wyatt Funeral Home in Opp Monday from 6 until 8 p.m.
Mr. Nolen was born July 4, 1920, in Roanoke, Ala., the son of the late Mr. and Mrs. Brice Webb Nolen. He graduated from Handley High School in 1938 and subsequently enlisted in the U.S. Army in 1942. Mr. Nolen was a decorated World War II and Korean Conflict veteran, earning the American Service Medal, European-African Middle Eastern Service Medal, Silver Star Good Conduct Medal, and the Meritorious Unit Award, and he rose to the rank of captain in the U.S. Army Reserves.
With the aid of the G.I. Bill, he earned a B.S. degree in history from Jacksonville State Teachers’ College in 1948. Later that year, he was hired as a teacher/coach for Opp City Schools. He earned his master’s in school administration from Auburn University in 1962. He enjoyed a 42-year career as a teacher, head coach, principal and superintendent of education. Upon retirement from the superintendent’s post in 1988, he was elected mayor of Opp, where he served one term. Mr. Nolen has received numerous awards, including induction into the Alabama High School Athletic Association Hall of Fame, the Opp Chamber of Commerce Hall of Fame, and the Jacksonville State University Hall of Fame.
Mr. Nolen is survived by his wife of 62 years, Mary Ruth Nolen of Opp. Surviving children are James Lawrence Nolen Jr. “Larry” (Sylvia) of Seattle, Wash., Charles Webb Nolen “Chuck” (Janie) of Marianna, Fla., Ruth Anne Glisson (Jimmy) of Tallahassee, Fla., and Nancy Jackson (Johnny) of Opp. Surviving grandchildren are Hunter Nolen and Maredith Nolen Mitchell of Marianna, Fla., Jay Jackson and Emily Jackson of Opp, Lauren Glisson Sproull and Christy Glisson of Tallahassee, Fla., Nolen Jackson of Auburn and Zack Nolen of Seattle, Wash. Surviving great-grandchildren are Katie Isabelle Jackson of Opp, William Nolen Jackson and John Clayton Jackson of Auburn and Murphy Jane Mitchell of Marianna.
In lieu of flowers, the family has requested that memorials be made to First United Methodist Church of Opp, where Mr. Nolen was heavily involved as a member, Sunday School superintendent and teacher, and board member. Mr. Nolen’s life was devoted to his faith, family, friends and the American flag. He will be greatly missed.
Wyatt Funeral Home of Opp, (334) 493-2506, is in charge of arrangements.