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1937 James 2017

James Viniard

November 3, 1937 — August 29, 2017

James (Jimmy) Edward Viniard, 79, of Dyersburg, TN, passed away Tuesday, August 29, 2017 in Dyersburg, TN. Jimmy was born November 3, 1937 on the family farm in Bardwell, KY. His parents were Carl and Lucille Viniard. Jimmy and his 3 younger siblings worked on the farm growing burley tobacco, corn, milk cows and beef cattle. He and his brother Buddy played basketball at Blandville Grade School, Clinton High School and Kenton High School. After graduating from Kenton High School, he started work at American Metals and was elected union president for the local chapter, earning him the distinction of youngest UAW union president ever elected in the U.S. at the time. When a friend at the draft board notified him his number was coming up, he enlisted in the Army in September 1960. After seeing his test scores, they quickly sent him to cryptographer’s school where he learned to manually break secret codes. He was sent to work at the White House on the communications team, first serving President Kennedy and later President Johnson. He traveled ahead as part of the advance team establishing secure communication lines on many presidential trips. He often shared fond memories of throwing young John John Kennedy up into the air and giving little Caroline Kennedy sticks of gum whenever he delivered messages to President Kennedy on the weekends. After serving six years in the army, he transitioned into Civil Service in the US Army Interagency Communications Agency. The government later transferred him to St. Louis, MO for a promotion, then to Rock Island, IL for another promotion. He worked at the Rock Island Arsenal in Communications for over 30 years, raising his family in Bettendorf, Iowa. He attended night classes for years, earning his Bachelor in Business from St. Ambrose College in 1976. His children were proud to attend their father’s graduation ceremony, and enjoyed commencement speaker Bob Hope. Jimmy went on to teach evening business classes at Palmer Junior College and encouraged many returning adult students to persevere. Jimmy achieved his dream of returning to Tennessee after retiring from the Rock Island Arsenal, initially settling in Paris, TN. At his 44 year Kenton High School reunion, he connected with fellow classmate Junel Russom. It was love at first sight this time around and they married less than 12 months later in May 2001 and settled in Dyersburg. Jimmy and Junel enjoyed 16 happy years together, traveling to the Smokey Mountains, Branson, Chicago and Minneapolis. They walked hundreds of miles at the Dyersburg Mall and the Dyersburg Activity Center, and in recent years were regulars at The Grecian Steak House, where they ate lunch every day in their matching outfits. Jimmy is survived by his beloved wife, Junel Russom Viniard, his daughter Marcia (Tracy) Perkins of Arlington Heights, IL, his daughter Aimee (Jeff) Viniard-Weideman of Roseville, MN, his grandson Calvin Wallace Perkins and granddaughter Elise Marie Perkins, his brothers Buddy (Trish) Viniard of Burr Ridge, IL and Dale (Nancy) Viniard of Crestwood, KY and his sister Lynn Viniard of Greensboro, NC. Jimmy was preceded in death by his son Paul Edward Viniard, his daughter Rebecca Viniard, his mother Linda Lucille (Sullivan) Viniard and his father James Carl Viniard. Memorials may be made to Gilda’s Club Quad Cities in memory of James Edward & Paul Edward Viniard. Gilda’s Club, 1234 East River Drive, Davenport, IA 52803. www.gildasclubqc.org/donate
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