James Milton Jennings - Online Memorial Website

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James Jennings
Born in United States
60 years
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Life story
October 27, 2015

Celebration of Life


James Jennings was born on September 29, 1955 in Little Rock, Arkansas. He was the third child of four to be raised by his devoted parents, Enlow and Loretta Whitmore Jennings. He had three brothers: Lemuel, Brent, and Curtis.  James graduated Magna Cum Laude from Little Rock Central High in 1973. He continued his studies at Northwestern University where he received a Bachelors in Secondary Education in 1977. He completed a Masters in Educational Administration in 1983 at the University of Arkansas, and a Doctorate of Education in Educational Leadership in 1992 from Vanderbilt University. Given his life-long passion for learning, he completed a second Masters in Reading in 2015 from the University of Arkansas. James was united in holy matrimony to his loving wife, Lottie Williams Jennings on March 25, 1978. James and Lottie were happily married for 37 years, and to this union two girls were raised: Larissa Michelle Jennings of Baltimore, MD and Lisa Marie Jennings Mack of Lockport, IL.


Christian Life


James began his spiritual life with Christ as a young adult. He was a faithful servant of God until the end. In the late 1970s, he began attending the Church of God of Forrest City, AR where he was later ordained as a minister. Bro. James, as he was often called, had a passion for serving God. He served in the church in many capacities, including choir director and bible class teacher. In 1995, Bro. James became Pastor of the Church of God of Forrest City and continued his service to the Lord. Pastor Jennings’ sermons touched many lives. He preached the Word of God through the church’s radio and prison ministries, in fellowship and revival meetings, and overseas missions. One of his most cherished activities was worshipping God – singing songs, testifying, and exhorting the people of God. He was available to all to those who needed him – providing counsel, encouragement, and prayer.


Professional Life


James also had a passion for teaching others. He dedicated his life to reducing educational inequalities in the Arkansas Delta. After working as a social studies teacher and custodial supervisor, he was promoted to Associate Superintendent of the Little Rock School District, where he focused on improving access to education for all Little Rock students. In 1992, Dr. Jennings joined the faculty of Hendrix College as an Assistant Professor of Education and History. He was the college’s first African-American male professor. He loved working with his students and colleagues. From 2002 to 2015, he was the Chairperson of the Education Department. He also received numerous educational awards, including the Arkansas Education Association Civil and Human Rights Award and the United Methodist Church Exemplary Teaching Award. He was recently awarded the Cynthia Cook Sandefur Odyssey Professorship in recognition of his research and service with the “Above the Line” Project which targeted high-poverty, low-achieving schools in the Lower Mississippi Delta.


Personal Life


When first meeting him, one might think of James as a quiet man – and he was. However, he was referred to as a “quiet storm” because of the passion by which he pursued his work and calling. James had a bright smile, and chuckled often. He was an early bird who used his mornings to spend time with God and go for a run.


Surviving Family


The Lord called James to his eternal home on Tuesday, October 27, 2015. He was preceded in death by his father, Enlow Jennings, and his brother, Curtis Jennings. He leaves to cherish his memory: his wife, Lottie Williams Jennings and two daughters, Larissa Jennings and Lisa (Mark) Mack; his mother, Loretta Jennings and two brothers, Lemuel (Patricia) and Brent (Juanita) Jennings. He is also survived by his mother-in-law, Leola Williams; sister-in-law, Wanda (Will) Turner; brother-in-law, Napoleon Williams, Jr.; and two grandchildren, Mark Allen and Eleanor Marie Mack; as well as five nephews (Derek, Aaron, and Matthew Jennings, and Brian (Rhoda) and Jason Turner); one niece (Adrienne Jennings); his spiritual family – the Church of God; and a host of colleagues, cousins, and friends.

Hendrix College Memories: https://www.hendrix.edu/news/news.aspx?id=76569
Lifelong Learners Recognition: http://lifelonglearnersar.org/james-jennings-ed-d