James H. Cordell was born in Houston, Texas on January 9, 1933. He died at his home in Crockett on June 19, 2021, with wife Caralyn holding his hand. James and Caralyn McKittrick graduated from Jeff Davis High School. They were married on December 15, 1951. He also attended the University of Houston.
James was a natural born businessman who, with his father, started Andy Cordell Brick in 1955. As Houston grew, the business grew supplying clay brick plus concrete brick and block under the brand Cordell Brick. In the early 1970’s, he helped his son Howard start JaHo Incorporated – an underground utility contracting company. It gave James pleasure to see Howard achieve great success owning and running JaHo. Always looking for another business, James used waste product from the brick company to stabilize several pieces of land near the brick plant. These holdings became the basis for more commercial property development under the banner Jamcar Partners. James retired from the brick business in 1997 but remained active in Jamcar until his death. Just last month he told his family he wanted to find another investment.
His business skills were shared as a Director of Port City State Bank and Channelview Bank. He was a member of the Houston Contractor’s Association and served on the Board of Shriners Hospital for Children.
James Cordell loved horses as a child and continued that love throughout his lifetime owning roping, show and racehorses. He was a riding member of the Harris County Sherriff’s Mounted Posse and participated in the Pony Express Ride to Austin to invite the Texas Governor to the Houston Fat Stock Show and Rodeo. He worked as a Corral Club Committeeman when the rodeo was held in the Houston Coliseum. His service moved, along with the rodeo, to the Astrodome where he served on the Calf Scramble and Parade Committees. He was awarded a Lifetime Committeeman’s badge.
His racehorse days began in 1984 – long before parimutuel racing came to Texas. He and Caralyn were regulars at the quarter horse dirt tracks around the state. Their first purchase shocked the field by winning The Graham Farms Futurity – at that time, the most prestigious Quarter Horse race in the state. Those winnings were modest by today’s standards but gave him the racing bug that led to many years of running and breeding. James was a member of the AQHA and the TQHA where he served on the racing committee.
That first horse also sparked his desire to “find a place” in Crockett where he could raise and train horses. He and Caralyn moved to the ranch in 1991 and became active in the community. They were charter members of the Neighborly Sunday School Class at Crockett First United Methodist Church where he also served on the Finance Committee. He was a generous supporter of the Houston County Fair and Youth Livestock Show and served as a Director of Spring Creek Country Club.
James was a member of the Order of the Demolay and became 32nd Degree Mason at the age of 21. He was a member of the Shrine Temple and served as Director of The Royal Order of the Jesters.
In addition to his wife of almost 70 years, James Cordell is survived by daughter Suzan C. Knox and husband Larry of Crockett, son Howard Thomas Cordell and wife Lore of Huffman; sister Adrianne Cordell Moorhead of Houston. Grandchildren: Trisha Knox Woodford and husband Heath of Crockett, Bradley Lamar Knox and wife Jordan of Crockett, Andy Cordell of Huffman, Justin Howard Cordell and wife Melanie of Humble. Great-grandchildren: Jack Cordell Woodford, Tori Woodford, Aubry Lane Cordell, Cordell Lamar Knox, Avry Cordell, and Bella Cordell. Numerous other extended family members also survive.
The family loves and acknowledges these special people: Fausto Ramirez, who was like a son to James, Alfonso Ramirez, and Maria Rodriguez. He was blessed with caregivers who brought love and dignity to his final months: Renee’ Shaw, Edith (Shane) McKnight, Mary Simmons, and Lisa Singletary.
Memorial Services for James H. Cordell will be held at 10:30, Saturday, June 26, 2021, at Crockett First United Methodist Church with officiants Pastor Michael Bedevian and Pastor Dennis Ivey.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to National Multiple Sclerosis Society or Shriners Hospital for Children – Texas.
Online condolences may be made at www.callawayallee.com
CALLAWAY-ALLEE FUNERAL HOME
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