James Dean Bays

In Memorial

James Bays died September 28, 2015 following a courageous battle with post polycthemia vera myelofibrosis.

A memorial service to celebrate James’ life will occur on Sunday, October 4, 2015, at 2:00 o’clock P.M. at Meadowbrook Baptist Church, 1207 N. Old Robinson Road, Robinson, Texas.

James was a remarkable father, husband and friend. James had the uncanny ability to approach complete strangers and strike up conversations, he truly never met a stranger. James was an accomplished machinist in his first career, then moved into building homes, and created his legacy by expertly crafting countless homes throughout the greater Waco area. James preferred being outdoors and took great pride in his ability to catch the most fish in his fishing expeditions or to bag the most game while hunting with friends and family. James enjoyed gardening and was active in the Master Gardner program where he met lifelong friends. James fancied himself a wonderful cook and enjoyed preparing food for gatherings of family and friends.

James was born on July 6, 1935 in Gorman, Texas. Following completion of high school, James began working in machine shops where he honed his craft, first in Grand Prairie, then in Houston and ultimately landing in McGregor at the Rocketdyne facility. He rose through the ranks at Rocketdyne, from machinist to leadman, to supervisor, to CNC programmer and ultimately into management. Despite his success with Rocketdyne, James longed for more responsibility and took a job with Bell Helicopter in Tehran, Iran (back when Iran was an ally). He was literally on the last flight out of Tehran when the Iranian government crumbled. Upon his return to the United States, he took an assignment to open a machining facility for Smith International in Temple. Upon completion of that assignment, James took up home building, which let him have personal interaction with his customers and he truly enjoyed crafting homes and building a lasting legacy.

James was preceded in death by his wife of 32 years, Peggy Ann, who was tragically taken from him in an automobile accident on Valentines Day 2008 and by his grandson, Douglas. James leaves behind his children, Deborah and Kenny Staas, Gary Bays, Cheryl and Johnny Breedlove, Randy and Kristin Bays, Brian Bays, Gwen and Bill Kitchens, Richard Keltner and Neva Fuentes, and David and Karen Keltner. James is also survived by his grandchildren Kurtis, Aaron, Cory, Brandon, Alexander, Zachary, Nicholas, Scott, Ashley, Billy, Jamie, Kayla, Kylie, Adam, Brianna, Jonathon, Jareth, Seth, Chanse, Keeley and Chynna, great grandchildren, Leah and Wyatt, and eleven step grandchildren. James is also survived by his special friend Pam and by his brother Harold and his spouse, Gwen, and numerous cousins, nieces and nephews. James is grateful for the care provided to him by his team at M.D. Anderson Cancer Center. James knew he could not beat myelofibrosis, but participated in being a part of numerous clinical trials so perhaps one day myelofibrosis could be beaten by those who came after him. Without James, the world is a little darker.

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Condolence Messages

  1. W.B. (Bill) Austin, 3rd

    In sweet remembrance.

  2. Jim and Mary Oliver

    Our thoughts and prayers are with you at this time. James was a very
    talented and generous man.

  3. Jim and Mary Oliver

    Our thoughts and prayers are with you at this time.
    James was a very talented and generous man.

  4. James was a ” one of a kind” precious soul, and we were privileged to have known him later in our lives! He was always so thoughtful, kind, and thinking of others.
    Prayers for you family,
    Jeanette and Tom Kelly

  5. I would like to offer my condolences to the Bays family and may God be a refuge and strength in your time of distress.(Psalms 46:1)

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