James Ragen Pendergraft, 85, of Southwest City Missouri, passed away on Wednesday, March 8, 2017 in Joplin, Missouri.

James was born on July 1, 1931 in Rocky Ford, Colorado to Lemmie Earl and Vyra Geneva (Sturges) Pendergraft.

James was the 1950 class president, graduating from high school in Madras Oregon. After graduation, James worked with his father and brother on one of the largest farm operations in Montrose/Delta Colorado. He would work in the off season in the oil fields and road construction.

James proudly served in the United States Army from 1953 to 1956 as a paratrooper, earning the rank of Staff Sergeant.

James returned home and started working construction to finance college. He graduated from Northeast Oklahoma A&M in Miami, with an associate's degree.

While at NEO, James was the vice president of the student body and was selected the outstanding student in the School of Agriculture. James then transferred to Oklahoma State University where he earned his bachelor's degree in agronomy with a business minor. While at OSU, James was very involved with the agronomy department, where he held several offices.

After college, James owned and operated a construction company, where he contracted building earthen dams and clearing rights-of-ways.

In 1964, James was employed by the State of Oklahoma as a social worker for Delaware County. He was later the Director of the Delaware County Community Action Agency.

In the early 1970’s, James served as the community resource specialist serving four counties. In 1978 he obtained his real estate license and sold resort properties in both Oklahoma and Arkansas.

In 1980, he returned to his love of construction, and was the foreman for H.C. Price Construction Company and worked on the Alaskan Pipeline. James was also the coordinator for the Housing Authority for Cherokee Nation.

James and his brother Ron, coordinated the Annual Round Springs Park Bluegrass Festivals for several years.

James was preceded in death by his parents Earl and Geneva Pendergraft, his sister Judy E. Hutchison, his brother Ronald S. Pendergraft, infant brother Lemmie David Pendergraft.

He leaves behind his wife Judith Lee (Patton) Pendergraft of the home, his son James W. Pendergraft, his grandson James E. Pendergraft, his sister Sue (Lou) Mikkelsen, five nieces; Marcia Myers, Susan Vanasse, Cynthia Giuffria, Anna Wright and Genita Frazier, five nephews; Les Mikkelsen, James Mikkelsen, James E. Pendergraft, David W. Patton and Lee Jay Larmon.

Graveside services will take place at 2 p.m., Saturday, March 18, at Mose Ridge Cemetery in Topsy, under the direction of Worley-Luginbuel Funeral Home, Jay.

Family and friends may leave online condolences at www.honoringmemories.com.