James Wilbur Bassett was born in Greenville, Texas on July 22, 1923. He left this world to join the God he loved on Monday, November 12, 2012. He was surrounded by family at his home of 50 years in College Station, Texas. He was the son of the late James W. and Pansy Lee Bassett.
There will be a memorial service at 11 a.m. on Saturday, November 24, 2012 at Peace Lutheran Church.
Jim grew up in Amarillo, Texas where he graduated from Amarillo High School at the age of 16. He spent two years at Austin College in Sherman, Texas before transferring to Texas A&M College in 1942. He served in the Navy from 1943 to 1946. While stationed in Austin, Texas with the V12 Navy College Training Program he ran on the University of Texas Cross Country Team. Toward the end of his Navy career he met the love of his life, Mary Christine McIntosh. After he finished his Navy commitment, he returned to Texas A&M and finished his bachelor's degree in Animal Science in July of 1948. He joined the Agricultural Extension Service in Mena, Arkansas.
Jim and Mary were married on October 21, 1949 at the First Southern Presbyterian Church in Austin. They lived in Mena, Arkansas for a year, after which Jim began work on his Master's degree in Animal Science at the University of Wyoming in Laramie. While there, James Jr. was born. In 1951, the family moved to Bozeman, Montana where Jim completed his Master's Degree and worked in the wool department of Montana State College. During this time, the busy couple had five more children. In 1962 Jim continued work on his PhD at Texas A&M; he accepted a permanent position with the Department of Animal Science in 1963. He completed his PhD in 1965.
Jim coached many national championship wool judging teams while at Montana State and Texas A&M. He was the head of the Sheep and Goat Division for the Texas A&M University Animal Science Department and was one of the world's most respected experts in the study and production of wool and mohair fibers. During his tenure at Texas A&M, he traveled to Botswana, Tanzania, South Africa, Tunisia, Peru, China, and many other places to consult, lecture, and work with local sheep and goat farmers. Jim retired from Texas A&M in 1987 and was honored with the title of Professor Emeritus. He loved teaching, and he returned twice after his retirement to teach sheep and goat courses.
Jim loved his family, loved his church, loved to run, loved to teach, and loved to travel. Jim was an elder at the First Presbyterian Church in Bozeman, a deacon and elder at A&M Presbyterian Church in College Station, and a charter member and treasurer of Peace Lutheran Church in College Station. He ran 14 marathons, his first at the age of 50. Among his marathons were the New York, Boston, San Francisco, Galveston, Houston, Fort Worth, and three at Texas A&M. He continued to run until his legs couldn't run anymore. His trips with his beloved Mary took them to England and Scotland, Germany, Poland, Canada, and many other places, including many trips to their beloved Fort Davis, Texas where the couple has a permanent home.
At the age of 80, he fulfilled a dream he had for years – he skydived! Many family members watched as he jumped out of a small plane and floated toward Coulter Field.
Jim has donated his body to the Texas A&M Medical School for use in medical education and research.
Jim was preceded in death by his grandson, Joshua Lee Tackett.
Jim is survived by his wife Mary, his children Jamie and Jeanie Bassett, Jayne and Charlie Jenkins, Martha Tackett, John and Bridget Bassett all of College Station, Peter and Jill Bassett of New Braunfels, Paul and Jane Bassett of Austin, 19 grandchildren, 14 great grandchildren, his brother Clarence Bassett of Austin and his brother and sister-in-law, Bill and Betty Bassett of Uvalde.
In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made to Hospice Brazos Valley, Bloys Campmeeting Association or the Volunteer Fire Department of Ft. Davis, Texas. A special thanks is given for the loving care of Crestview Home Health and the special workers from Hospice Brazos Valley – Emily, Sam, and Sam.