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Obituary for SFC James Tarpley



Graveside services for SFC James R. Tarpley, 67, were 10 a.m. Tuesday at the Ft. Sill National Cemetery in Elgin, under the direction of the Fletcher Funeral Home.

A memorial service was at noon at the Apache First Pentecostal Holiness Church in Apache.

James was born Aug. 12, 1953 in Iola, Kansas and passed peacefully into the hands of God on Wednesday, Dec. 16, 2020 at his home, surrounded by his family.

James grew up in Hodgen and graduated from Heavener High School in 1971. While in high school, James lettered every year in football, basketball, baseball and track. After graduation, he worked on the railroad until he enlisted in the Army in June of 1972. He served his country for 21 ½ years as an NCO in field artillery. He served three tours in Korea and one tour in Germany. He was stationed at Ft. Hood, Texas for two years and the rest of his stateside service was at Ft. Sill.

While in the military, James earned the following awards: Meritorious Service Medal (1 OLC), Army Commendation Medal (1 OLC), Army Achievement Medal (3 OLC), Good Conduct Medal (7th Award), National Defense Service Medal (2nd Award), Vietnam Service Ribbon, NCO Professional Development Ribbon w/Num 3, Army Service Ribbon, Overseas Service Ribbon w/Num 5, UN Korea Service Ribbon, Kuwait Liberation Ribbon, and the Expert Marksmanship Badge with the Rifle. He was a member of the Seargent Morales Club and was selected to the Military Order of Saint Barbara. After his military service, he worked at the Multiple Community Service Authority for 25 years. He met the love of his life, his wife Gladys while in AIT at Ft. Sill.

They married June 22, 1974 in Lawton. They were married for 46 ½ years at the time of his death. Together they raised four daughters Jennifer, Sarah, Patricia and Holli. James loved nothing better than watching his girls play ball and politely informing the referees of his honest opinion regarding their game calling skills. In recent years, he enjoyed spending time with his grandchildren and great grandchildren. He loved his family dearly. Jim was a beloved member of the Cyril community and they adopted him as their own. He was always helping those in need and would have given the very shirt off his back if someone needed it more than him.

He is survived by his wife, Gladys, of the home; his daughters: Jennifer Williams (Robert Williams, Jr.), of Apache, Sarah Vesselee, of Columbia, South Carolina, Patricia Fulks, of Saint Charles, Missouri, and Holli Tarpley (William Lee), of Oklahoma City; grandchildren Jessica and Aiden Watson, Madeline and Jeffery Fulks, and Zane Vesselee; great grandchildren: Ambrose Sheppard and Emma Lee; brother, Michael Tarpley; and sisters Carolyn Hill, Linda Pritchett and Louise Watson.

James was preceded in death by his parents Ed and Florene Tarpley; brothers Wayne and Roy Tarpley; sisters Joyce Cross and Doris Turner; and his in-laws: Robert and Gladys Broderick.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions can be made to the Wounded Warrior Project.

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