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     Serving the Horticulture Industry Since 1899

Dr. Bryson L. James Passes Away at 86

01 May 2017 3:50 PM | Karen Summers (Administrator)

McMinnville resident and Florence, AL native Bryson Lemoine James, Ph.D. was born September 12, 1930 and died April 29, 2017 at St. Thomas Highlands Hospital in Sparta, TN following an extended illness.

Bryson received his bachelor’s degree in ornamental horticulture from Auburn University (then A.P.I.) in 1951 and, after completing military service in the U.S. Air Force, went on to earn master’s (1956) and Ph.D. (1959) degrees at The Ohio State University.

Dr. James was a former Professor of Horticulture at the University of North Carolina, former Director of Horticultural Research at the University of Florida and after moving to McMinnville, he became a Consulting Horticulturist with the nursery industry and many other clients. He served as Director of Horticultural Research for the Southern Nursery Association (SNA) for 37 years (1972 - 2008). During this time he coordinated the annual SNA Research Conference and edited the proceedings. He was active in the conference (from its beginning in 1958) for 50 years. The annual Dr. Bryson L. James Student Research Competition was named in honor of his service to this important program.

In 1969, he received the SNA Slater Wright Memorial Award, the highest recognition given to nursery professionals in the South. He was awarded an Honorary SNA Membership in 2004. James was named the Florida Nurserymen Women’s Auxiliary Man of the Year in 1973 and, the following year, was also honored by the Florida Nursery and Growers Association for outstanding contributions to horticulture.

James was also a longtime participant and Fellow in the International Plant Propagator’s Society southern region. In 1993, he was awarded the Society’s highest honor—the Sidney Meadows Award of Merit. He was also a member of the International Society of Arboriculture, the Weed Science Society of America, and the American Horticultural Society. In 2004, Bryson was inducted into the Auburn University Hall of Honor – with the sole purpose to bestowing honor and recognition upon living Alabamians who have made significant contributions to the state’s agricultural industry.

Bryson was the son of the late Edward Newman and Ira Belle Denton James and a member of Christ Family Church. In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by his first wife, Anna Marie James and brother, Edward Ira James.

Dr. James was married July 6, 1991 to Frances Pedigo James of McMinnville. In addition to his wife, he is survived by a son, Edward Michael (Miriam) James of Gettysburg, PA; three step-daughters, Deborah (Ernest) Frankenberg and Cynthia Preston both of McMinnville and Gerlinde (Collier) Rogers of Rock Island, TN; step-grandson, Michael (Talitha) Oettinger, Jr. of Murfreesboro, TN; two step-great-grandchildren, Lucy and Berean Oettinger; three brothers, Dr. Jesse Clopton (Barbara) James of Huntsville, AL, Malcolm Wallace (Jean) James of Byron, GA and Graham Farris (Clara) James of Cypress Inn, TN; sister, Vera James Holt of St. Louis, MO; sister-in-law, Pauline James; Byron, GA and several nieces and nephews.

Funeral service will be held at 1:00 pm Tuesday, May 2, 2017 in High's Chapel (101 North College St, McMinnville, TN 37110) with Charlie Parkerson, Danny Summers and Christopher Young officiating. Burial will follow in the Gardens of Memory with full military honors administered by VFW Post 5064 and American Legion Post 173. Visitation will be held from 5:00 pm until 8:00 pm Monday, May 1 and 10:00 am until 12:30 pm on Tuesday, May 2 at High's.

A full obituary and guest book can be found at:

SNA would like to express our deepest sympathy to the family of Dr. James. We honor the many years of service he so freely gave to the association and the horticulture industry.

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