James Hix Earnest, Sr.

November 29, 1925December 27, 2012

James Hix Earnest, Sr. 1925 - 2012

James Hix Earnest, Sr., 87, of Tallahassee, went to be with his Lord on Thursday, December 27th, 2012.

Born in Miami, Florida, Jim lived with his wife, Mary, and raised their four children. In his retirement years, they moved to Tallahassee in 1997. After Mary went to be with her Lord, God blessed Jim with the gift of his second wife, Betty Crisler.

A graduate of Miami Senior High School, Jim played violin in the school orchestra and ran on the track team. In college, he was active in Alpha Tau Omega Fraternity. He later served as President of both the Florida District Exchange Clubs and the University of Miami Alumni Association. He and Mary were also active Miami Senior High band parents for 9 years. After high school, Jim became a Naval Medical Corpsman during WWII.

Earning his Bachelor's at Emory University, he completed his law degree at the University of Miami. He began his law career working with his father, Ray M. Earnest, until his appointment as Judge of the Dade County Civil Court of Record in 1963. After serving for 18 years as a Judge in Circuit and Criminal Courts, he practiced family law, including veteran guardianships and adoptions. Jim was dedicated to his family and enjoyed taking them on summer camping trips across the US. He felt strongly that bringing his family to church every Sunday was important for their spiritual growth. At Trinity Methodist Church and First United Methodist Church of Miami, he served as a Sunday school teacher and lay leader, as well as a youth director with Mary. At Key Biscayne Presbyterian, he served as an elder and sang in the choir. He enjoyed participating in Bible Study Fellowship for more than seven years. At Wildwood Church in Tallahassee, he served with the ministry of Our Father's Storehouse in prayer and counseling, played violin in worship services, and participated as a leader in the Senior Ministry and the weekly prayer group. Jim was a beloved husband, father, grandfather, and great-grandfather.

He was preceded in death by his wife of 53 years, Mary C. Wilson, and survived by his wife of 9 years, Betty Crisler. Other survivors include four children, Susan Ellisor (and husband LeGrand) of Pensacola, Carol Berry (and husband Mark) serving in Laos, Annette Maloney (and husband Tom) of Tallahassee, and James H. (Jay) Earnest, Jr. (and wife Debbie) of Zephyrhills; 2 step-children, Ellen Lyons (and husband Patrick) and Richard Crisler (and wife Vanessa) of Tallahassee; 16 grandchildren, Andrea Peters (and husband Stan) of Sicily, Tiffany Tate (and husband Keith) of Virginia Beach, Daniel Berry, Rachel Berry, Carolyn Berry, Charissa Berry, Ariel Berry, Kimberly Berry, Judah Berry, Alyssa Maloney, Nathan Maloney, Travis Earnest, Jonathan Earnest, Angela Earnest, Julia Lyons, and Richard Emory Lyons; and 1 great-grandchild, Tripp Peters.

Family will receive friends from 6 to 8 pm on Friday, January 4th, 2013, at Culley's MeadowWood Funeral Home, 700 Timberlane Road in Tallahassee, Florida. A memorial service will be held at Wildwood Presbyterian Church, 100 Ox Bottom Road in Tallahassee, on Saturday, January 5th at 10 am, followed by a graveside service at Culley's Meadowwood Memorial Park. In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made to Our Father's Storehouse Ministry at Wildwood Church. Please sign the guest book at


  • Visitation Friday, January 4, 2013
  • Funeral Service Saturday, January 5, 2013

James Hix Earnest, Sr.

have a memory or condolence to add?


receive updates when new memories are posted

Barbara Simon Martin

February 24, 2013

Dear Family,
So many wonderful memories of your Dad and family.I will cherish all the time we spent together in our childhood and youth. Sending my heartfelt sympathy and love to all.

Jim Gall

January 11, 2013

My thoughts and prayers are with the Earnest family. I remember Jim well as a friend, mentor and wise counsel.

Rodd Buell

January 5, 2013

A good judge as well as a good man

Katherine French

January 4, 2013


My prayers are with you & your family during your time of sorrow.... Your Dad was a wonderful man...

Carlene, Bob & the Boyett boys

January 4, 2013

Annette, our thoughts and prayers are with you and your family. Your dad was such a kind man and will be missed dearly. We love you very much!

Missy Earnest

January 4, 2013

I was asked about memories of Uncle Jimmy and the 2 most prominent things are him poking fun and managing the photographs. He was doing both on our visit with him just 2 weeks ago and it makes me laugh to think of it. I know there are lots of good tales to balance the tears. Loving my family.....

Louis Schwartz

January 4, 2013

Our deepest condolences to the Earnest family. I remember Judge Earnest from the old Miami days going back to the 1980's. Always a nice guy and good person, father and husband. R.I.P. God Bless you!

James H. Earnest Sr.

January 4, 2013

Julie Costas

January 3, 2013

I was very fond of Judge Earnest, although his years on the bench had ended long before I became friends with him and his family. He is now with the Righteous Judge, our Heavenly Father. Be comforted in your loss.

January 3, 2013

We are thinking of you.
Dr. Iain Brown & Carol brown