Coach James A. Harper, 83, of Swainsboro, passed away Saturday, August 28, 2021, at Emanuel Medical Center following a brief illness. Graveside service was held Tuesday, August 31, at 10 a.m. at Eastbrook Cemetery and Mausoleum with Dr. John Parker officiating. The family received friends from 6 to 8 p.m. Monday, August 30, at Chapman Funeral Home, and at the home of the late Roy and Jean Clements, 557 Calhoun St., Swainsboro.
Pallbearers were John Rountree, Donald Jenkins, Danny Wayne Faircloth, Henry Terwilliger, Richard Reddish, Donnie Wilson, Nathaniel Billups, and Robert Surrency.
Coach Harper was born June 16, 1938, in Jesup, to James and Rita Bowen Harper. He graduated from Wayne County High School. After high school, he attended The Citadel in Charleston, SC in 1958, and then went on to graduate from University of GA where he was head of the ROTC. Coach Harper was 2nd Lieutenant in the Army from 1960-1964 in Ft. Sill, Oklahoma. He later attended Georgia Southern, and then taught school and was principal in Emanuel County for 35 years. Coach Harper was star teacher of Emanuel County in 1975 and 1985, and GA Athletic coach of the year for girls’ basketball in 1974-75. He was inducted into the Swainsboro High School Athletic Hall of Fame in 2014. Coach Harper received a certification of participation from the American Red Cross. He was a member of the Good Shepherd Episcopal Church. Coach Harper is preceded in death by his parents; sister-in-law, Mary Parker; brother-in-law and sister-in-law, Roy and Jean Clements; and niece, Anna E. Van Horn.
Survivors include his wife of 57 years, Lois P. Harper of Swainsboro; brothers, Michael (Janet) Harper of Winder, Richard (Betty Alice) Harper of Greer, SC, and Robert (Diane) Harper of Myrtle Beach, SC; brother-in-law, Dr. John (Eileen) Parker of Sylvania; sister-in-law, Margie Poole of Albany; several nieces, nephews, and many friends.
The family wants to thank the staff of Emanuel Medical Center for the loving care provided to Coach Jimmy A. Harper.
Chapman Funeral Home of Swainsboro was in charge of arrangements.