Published 12:00 am Saturday, April 17, 2010
James “Jim” Arthur Nettles, 74, of Andalusia, died on March 29, 2010, at the M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, Texas.
Jim was born to the former Frances Inez McBride and Dennis D. Nettles on April 29, 1935, in Linden, Ala., and grew up in Demopolis, Ala. He graduated from Demopolis High School in 1953 where he was president of the band, chorus, and his senior class. While in high school, Jim was a trumpet player and vocalist with the Bigbee Barons, a famous Demopolis dance band. He then attended Livingston State University until his transfer to Auburn University in 1954 where he played in the Auburn Marching and Concert Bands and the Auburn Knights as well as various combos around the campus. Jim graduated from Auburn in 1957 with a bachelor of science in music education. Immediately following graduation, Jim directed the Auburn High School Band before serving in the U.S. Army at Fort Jackson, South Carolina, until 1958. Later he received a master of science in education at Troy State University in 1972.
Jim began his teaching career at Theodore High School in Mobile, Ala., where he was their band and choral director from 1958 through 1959. He then directed the Henderson High School Band in Troy, Ala., from 1959 through 1961. Jim moved to Andalusia in 1961 and served as the Andalusia High School Band Director for the next 28 years, retiring in 1989. During these years his marching band almost always played music which Jim arranged especially for the group. Throughout retirement, Jim served as business manager for this wife’s dancing school, Arlene Nettles’ School of Dancing, and continued to write band arrangements for bands in Alabama, Georgia and Mississippi. Jim wrote an original march entitled “The USS John C. Stennis March” which was performed by the Starkville High School Band at the commissioning of the aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis on Dec. 9, 1995.
Jim was married to the former Emma Arlene Knox of Albertville, Ala., on Aug. 16, 1958. Jim and Arlene had two children, Scott McBride Nettles of Austin, Texas, and Janis “Ginger” Knox Nettles Taylor of Panama City, Fla. He had two grandchildren, Susan Arlene Taylor, 13, and Holly Ann Taylor, 9.
In addition to his wife, children, and grandchildren, Jim is survived by his brothers, Jerre McBride Nettles of Graceville, Fla., and Michael Edward Nettles of Panama City, Fla.; his son-in-law, Tony Lamar Taylor of Panama City, Fla., and his sister and brother-in-law, Rosslyn Ann and Jerry Max Anderson of Austell, Ga.
A memorial is being planned for June. The Star News and the internet site, Facebook “Remembering Jim Nettles” will provide details concerning the memorial.
The family requests any memorials in his memory to be made to the Andalusia Public Library, S. Three Notch Street, Andalusia, AL 36420 for the purchase of books about music in general, musical instruments, especially for children, and jazz, one of Jim’s passions, or to the Organ Fund at the First Presbyterian Church, 223 S. Three Notch Street, Andalusia, AL, 36420.
His family wishes to thank the community, and especially Jim’s many former students, for their overwhelming show of love and support.