Mike James | 1946-2021
By Lou Butterfield, retired professor of communication
Proverbs 18:24 says, “There is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.” Mike was such a friend. I called him Mikey; he called me Loubie.
There was a man who made everyone he met feel like a best friend. Mike was such a man.
There was a man who was rarely seen without a smile, an encouraging word and endless energy. Mike was such a man.
There was a man who made our lives better and led the way to heaven for students and adults alike, which may be best expressed as, “I would rather see a sermon than hear one any day.” Mike was such a man.
For nearly five decades experiencing life together meant loving our families, praying and praising, hosting home Bible studies and counseling students; teaching and baptizing, always seeking to be God’s men; being colleagues at Harding, beginning the University TV network, joining as partners in business; laughing, crying, sharing family losses and triumphs; enduring heartbreaking hospital emergencies, and literally helping save several lives, all while relying on faith in God and the guidance of his Holy Spirit.
Paraphrasing John 21:25 without the slightest hint of irreverence, “Now there are so many other things that Mike did, were every one of them to be written, I suppose the world itself could not contain the books that would be written.”
There was a man who on his deathbed, his boundless energy failing, looked up, smiled weakly and proclaimed, “I’m okay.” What a legacy for all of us. Mike was such a man.
There was a man who, I believe, on Oct. 9, 2021, was escorted to paradise by God’s angels into the very presence of God himself. He now gathers around the great throne of God the Almighty in worship with all the saved who have gone before him, waiting cancer-free and painless for those of us who soon will follow. Mike is that man.
Ephesians 1:3 states, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ.” Mike is such a blessing.
In my life I have been blessed with hundreds of great friends. But never have I had a better friend than Mike, who was once described as “top notch, first class, one of a kind,” to which I would add “a genuine follower of Jesus.” Mikey is that man.
Mike James (’73), 75, of Searcy, died Oct. 9, 2021. Drafted in 1965, he was commissioned as an officer in 1967 and served in Germany and England. He received the Master of Science in mass communications from Arkansas State University in 1984 and his doctorate from Florida State University in 1992. He worked at Harding for 47 years, serving as campus photographer, chair of the department of communication, dean of the College of Communication and dean of the Honors College. In 2007, he received the title of Distinguished Professor of Communication. From August 2010 through December 2015, he and his wife were resident directors at the Harding University Greece program where they helped establish a new church facility in Elleniko. He was an elder at College Church of Christ, a member of Searcy Rotary Club and a member of the Ozark Porsche Car Association. He was preceded in death by a grandson. He is survived by his wife, Beth Hogan (’73); four children, Jennifer Green (’97), Jeremy (’97), Jessica Collins (’03) and Jonathan (’10); and nine grandchildren.