James "Jim" D. Deare

February 9, 1943September 10, 2018
Play Tribute Movie Play Tribute Movie

James Davidson (Jim) Deare was born on February 9, 1943 in Benton, Arkansas, and spent his childhood and teen years with his parents, Jim and Gladys-Mai, and his younger sister, Janet, in Fort Smith, Arkansas, where he attended both elementary and high school. He made lifelong friends in Fort Smith and enjoyed playing many happy hours of baseball with his friends on the baseball diamond that his father laid out for him in their big back yard. The family took numerous trips to St. Louis to watch the Cardinals play, and Jim became a lifelong, stalwart Cardinals baseball fan. He added the Astros to his list of favorite teams in recent years, however. It helps to win a World Series!

After high school graduation, Jim attended North Texas State University and subsequently transferred to the University of Mississippi, where he received a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and a Juris Doctorate from the School of Law there in 1972.

In the meantime, his family moved from Fort Smith to Dallas, and then to New Orleans, where his father purchased a trucking company, Saliba Truck Lines. Jim loaded and unloaded freight and drove one of his father’s 18-wheelers during his summer breaks during college. It was there that his love of the trucking industry took root.

During his time at Ole Miss, Jim served in the ROTC, and during his third year of law school, he interrupted his education to serve in the United States Marine Corps, or the USMC -- which Jim quite often jokingly referred to as an acronym for “Uncle Sam’s Misguided Children.” He volunteered for duty in Viet Nam and served as a Company Commander for Charley Company, (Suicide Charley), 1st Battalion, 7th Marines, from 1969-1970. He was eventually discharged from the Marine Corps with the rank of Captain.

While in Vietnam, Jim was wounded in action by gunfire while engaged with the enemy and facilitating the rescue of several men who were pinned down on a sandbar in the middle of a river. Unfortunately, American lives were lost that day, but several were saved. Jim cherished the memories of all of those soldiers the rest of his life, though he rarely spoke about the times spent in firefights with the Viet Cong.

One man who was not lost that day, but would later lose his life in Vietnam, was his Gunnery Sergeant, Gunny Perez. Jim and the Gunny formed a close bond, and Jim mourned his loss deeply, keeping a picture of the Gunny on his desk to this day.

In recent years, thanks to the Internet, Jim was able to re-establish contact with several of his Marine Corps buddies. He enjoyed spending time with his Radioman, Bill Vowell, a retired New Jersey state trooper, in particular. A few others he’s kept in contact with are Tony Yusi, John Dudash, John Martone, Ward Hoffman, and Wheeler Baker. He deeply cherished the friendship and the common bond they all shared.

Jim was awarded a Purple Heart, a Combat Action Ribbon, two Bronze Star Medals, a Vietnam Cross of Gallantry, a Meritorious Unit Citation, and a Vietnam Service Medal for his service during the war. In spite of all that he accomplished, Jim remained humble about his service and has only revealed many of the details about his experiences in recent years.

After returning to Ole Miss and finishing his law degree and returning to live in New Orleans, Jim married Melanie, and theirs became a lifelong, loving partnership shared with their precious daughter, Tiffany. They moved together from New Orleans to Springdale, Arkansas, where Jim became a long-time employee of Jones Truck Lines as a manager in their operations department, eventually becoming their Eastern Regional Manager of Operations.

Jim gained deep respect and affection from his fellow workers and maintained long-term friendships with many of them, including Ivan Crook, Sid Bailey, and David Ferguson, all of whom pre-deceased Jim. We like to imagine them reunited and hashing over the fun and friendships they all shared.

After moving to Memphis, Tennessee, in 1982, Jim spent the next 26 years working in the trucking industry, eventually retiring from Swift Transportation, where he managed nationwide shipments of hazmat materials. There were no disasters on Jim’s watch!

As was normal for Jim, he made many friends while living in Memphis, and he and Melanie enjoyed spending happy times with Stella and Leonard Rut in particular. There were all those wonderful, adventurous canoe trips to remember forever, as well as many other happy get-togethers. Camping and traveling with Belinda Paschall brought back memories that always made him smile as well, not to mention a few glorious camping trips with Lisa and Doug Webster.

Upon retirement from Swift, Jim and Melanie moved to The Woodlands, Texas, and then to Montgomery, Texas, to be close to Tiffany and her husband Todd Cauley. They spent many happy times with them through the years. They also enjoyed many, many enjoyable family get-togethers with Todd’s parents, the late Jim and Pat Cauley of Baytown, Texas. Jim and Pat were very gracious and generous to include the Deares in their family holiday celebrations, and Jim always deeply appreciated their kindness. He enjoyed spending time with Jim and Pat as well as Kyle and Nancy Cauley and their sweet children Kelsey and Wesley. Even though Jim Cauley Jr., and his wife, Judy, and their children, Conner and Rachel, lived some distance away, Pat was always good about keeping us updated, and Jim enjoyed watching all of the children grow up.

Jim spent the past several years enjoying sports, particularly baseball and SEC football, and spending time with special friends such as Betsy and Jay Broker, Bibi and Wayne Blonn, Nancy and Joe Stubblefield, Jim and Katie Schwartz, Bonnie Werchan, Martha Cox, and June Miller, all of whom are the best neighbors anyone could possibly have.

Jim passed away peacefully at home on September 10, 2018. He is survived by his loving wife, Melanie, his beloved daughter, Tiffany, and her husband, Todd Cauley. (He often referred to Todd as his all-time favorite son-in-law, and he truly adored him.) He is also survived by his loving sister, Janet Williams, and her children, Jim Williams and his spouse Rachelle and their son, Alexander, and his niece Kimberly Astler, her husband Warren, and Kim’s daughter Isabella.

Jim will be remembered for his sense of humor and kind heart, as well as his gentle spirit. He will be greatly missed by his family, his friends, and his dogs, Arby and Annabelle. Our thanks to Kindred Hospice and Nurse Jessica Miller, and Pastor Jack Redfearne, (Semper Fi), and Hospice Plus and Nurse Safiyyah Dent and to the nurse’s aide, Charlotte, who gave Jim such tender, loving care during his last days. Thanks too to Dr. David Cos and his staff for their kindness and care over the years. His lord said unto him, “Well done, thou good and faithful servant, thou hast been faithful over a few things. I will make thee ruler over many things; enter thou unto the joy of the lord.” Matthew 25:23.

Visitation will be held Sunday, September 16, 2018 from 3:00pm to 5:00pm at Cashner Funeral Home. Funeral services will be held Monday, September 17, 2018 at 10:00am in Cashner Colonial Chapel. Burial will follow in Houston National Cemetery at 12:45pm. You are invited to view our webpage and leave written tributes to the family at


  • Melanie Deare, Loving wife
  • Tiffany Cauley and husband Todd, beloved daughter
  • Janet Williams, Sister
  • Jim Williams and spouse Rachelle, Nephew
  • Alexander Williams, Nephew
  • Kimberly Astler and husband Warren, Niece
  • Isabella Warren, Niece
  • Also survived by a host of friends and his dogs

  • Todd Cauley
  • Wes Cauley
  • Kyle Cauley
  • Keith Botkin
  • Kirk Botkin
  • Eric Twardowski


  • Visitation Sunday, September 16, 2018
  • Funeral Service Monday, September 17, 2018

James "Jim" D. Deare

have a memory or condolence to add?

Sandi Colvin

September 15, 2018

I’ve always thought of Jim as a second dad. I met him when I was eight years old when Tiffany and I became friends in third grade in Springdale, Arkansas. I spent so much time at the Deare house over the next seven years, I’m sure that Jim and Melanie thought they had another daughter. When Tiffany and I were in tenth grade, Jim transferred to Memphis, Tennessee. I was heartbroken but knew we would all remain close. Whether they lived in Memphis, The Woodlands, or Montgomery, we would see each other almost every year. I always treasured our visits and will continue to keep those memories close to my heart. One of my favorite memories was about a decade ago when Jim took us to an Astros game. He wasn’t feeling well, but he was so excited to take us. He sure loved baseball and was always ready to talk about his favorite teams and players. Jim had a great sense of humor and always made me laugh. I didn’t get to see him this year, but I am leaning on all of my wonderful memories over the last forty-two years that I’ve known him. I will miss him greatly. Love you Dad!

Melinda Lyons

September 11, 2018

Jim was a good friend and a great guy. I have a lot of wonderful memories of Jim and my husband, Sid. They worked well together and had a lot of fun outside of work, too. Jim was so intelligent and very funny. He will be remembered and missed.

Mindy Bailey Lyons