James L. McLemore dead at 90

Published 12:00 am Monday, June 9, 2003

Staff report

Former Suffolk City Councilman and civic leader James L. McLemore Jr. died Monday. He was 90.

He had been a patient at Lake Prince Medical Center.

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A veteran of the Army and Navy and during World War II, he was stationed in India for 23 months as a Naval Intelligence Officer.

After serving his country overseas, McLemore came back to serve his community. He received a law degree from the University of Richmond. He was admitted to the Virginia State Bar in 1938 and was a member of the Virginia State Bar, Virginia Bar Association a past president of the Suffolk-Nansemond County Bar Association.

After becoming a legal force in Suffolk, McLemore turned to the financial side of business. In 1954, he joined the National Bank of Suffolk, a predecessor bank to Bank of America.

His community activities included Scoutmaster of Troop I, Charter Member of the Suffolk Jaycees, Director of Suffolk Nansemond Chamber of Commerce, Board Member of the Salvation Army and, in 1950, chairman of the Community Chest (United Way) Suffolk campaign.

For over 57 years, he was a member of the Suffolk Rotary Club, and served as its president in 1962. McLemore served on the Suffolk Planning Commission and two terms on the Suffolk City Council (1963-1971), including its Vice Mayor.

&uot;I’ve known him since I was old enough to know someone,&uot; said G.S. Hobbs, who estimated that he was McLemore’s friend for over 70 years. &uot;He was just a terrific guy, but everybody’s time comes.

&uot;He was like my ‘straight man.’ I liked to kid him everywhere we went, about golf, about our churches. He might have been Suffolk’s answer to Will Rogers. He had a lot of humor; he just enjoyed life and people, and that’s why I’m going to miss him a great deal. Jimmy was one of the most colorful characters that Suffolk ever had. You couldn’t be around him very long without enjoying him, He just had a magic about him that was contagious.&uot;