If you asked a 1,000 people who James L. Welborn was, they’d all give you a different story. He was a devoted son. A loving husband. A supportive father. A caring brother. A dependable brother-in-law. A doting uncle. A committed grandfather. A dedicated great-grandfather. A reliable friend. An avid golfer. An excellent provider, A kind-hearted nurturer. A clever chemical salesman. An empathic mentor or advisor. A world traveler. James was resourceful, quick-witted, practical, punctual, humorous, and extremely frugal. One thing is for sure, everyone knew that he was a straight shooter, unfiltered, he would always give it to you straight – no chaser. Jim, Uncle Jim, or Mr. Jim, as he was affectionately called, may have been oneor two of these to each of you or perhaps he was all of them.
Born September 19, 1933, in Rayle, Georgia, James peacefully departed this earth on July 26, 2020, surrounded by family and friends.
In his early years, he was a faithful member of Jerriel Baptist Church where he accepted Christ as a youth and was baptized.
“Golf…is the infallible test. The man who can go into a patch of rough alone, with the knowledge that only God is watching him, and play his ball where it lies, is the man who will serve you faithfully and well.”
— P. G. Wodehouse
He was a lover of all things golf. Before there was Tiger Woods, there was James L. aka the “Godfather” as he was known by his golfing buddies due to his chipping and putting skills. He often stated that he could live, eat, and sleep on a golf course. Passionate about golf for more than 60 years, there was not a day when he wasn’twatching, playing, or talking about golf. Whether it was traveling to Florida for his annual golf trip with his golf buddies or heading to the driving range to perfect his swing, he believed in the game of golf and encouraged young blacks to learn the sport at an early age. He knew that golf could open up a world of possibilities for young blacks, including, but not limited to, success in the corporate world. He often talked about how blackgolfers, like other black athletes, not only had to overcome discrimination, but often had to do so as individuals with little help. In the early 1960s, he struggled to play on white golf courses. However, because of his belief and dedication to the sport, he knew that golf transcended color, and as a result, volunteered his time year after year at the Tony Yates Junior Golf Academy to teach and encourage black youth to learn how to play golf.
He traveled the globe extensively, from North America and South America, to Africa and Asia to Europe, and everywhere in between. He loved visiting new cities and countries, playing golf and learning about other cultures.
James loved meeting new people and talking and socializing with his friends. He never met a stranger, and had the uncanny ability to make you feel like you had known him for years, even if you had just met him. After battling a few health issues, he began to exercise religiously two to three times a week in the morning with a group of friends. He looked forward to this gathering with this new group of buddies — sharing stories, eating breakfast together, and just hanging out.
Upon graduating from Woodward High School at the age of 17,he began working as a lab tech at Tom Rivers Chemical Corp., in St. Bernard, Ohio, while pursuing his degree in chemistry from the University of Cincinnati. He continued to work there even as the company changed management/ownership from Tom Rivers Chemical Corp., to Maumee Chemical Co., to Sherwin Williams Chemicals to PMC Specialties Group, Inc. Heheld various senior level positions of increasing responsibilities:lab tech, quality control manager and in purchasing/sales.. He was a firm but fair boss with an exceptional work ethic. He was a stickler for punctuality. He always said, “If you arrived on time you are already late.” He always said that if you were supposed to be at work at 9:00am, that didn’t mean coming through the door at 9:00am with a breakfast sandwich in one hand and a cup of coffee in the other. It meant arriving at work at 8:30am so you could eat your breakfast prior to your shift starting at 9am.
James retired in 2000 after a 50-plus-year successful career at PMC Specialties Group, Inc. and planned to live out his life doing what he enjoyed best: spending time traveling and playing golf with the love of his life — his amazing and beautiful wife, Jacquelyn Welborn. He also looked forward to playing golf with his buddies and spending more time with his children, grandchildren and great-grandson. “Jim had a great sense of humor,” his wife, Jackie, said. “He loved to laugh and joke and told the most unforgettable stories. He was a kind-hearted man who enjoyed watching golf, the news, doing yard-work and whatever needed to be done around the house. He was a rare combination of someone who had a love of life and a firm understanding of what was important — the simplicity of living a life with those you love.”
James leaves to cherish his memory: his beautiful and loving wife, Jacquelyn Welborn; daughters, Carla Welborn (Silver Spring, MD) and Donna Peeples; grandchildren, DePone Guyton and Madison Welborn (Silver Spring, MD); great-grandson, DePone Guyton, Jr.; sister, Clara Mitchell (the late Tom) of Houston, TX; foster brothers and sisters, Willie Bush, Georgia Jackson (Ronald “RJ”), Joseph Bush (Constance) of Detroit, MI, Sylvester Bush (Jacqueline) of Washington, DC,and Rosa Bush; brother-in-law, Robert Franklin (the late Antoinette) of Huntsville, AL, sisters-in-law, Helen Yvonne Williams (Robert) of Dayton, OH, Barbara Colemon (the late Melvin, Sr.), and Edna Parks (Charles) of Chicago, IL; and a host of nieces and nephews and a plethora of other familymembers and friends. James was preceded in death by his parents, Willie “Bo” Welborn (father) and Madie (mother) and Albert Woods.
Per the family’s wishes, there will be no funeral services at this time; we will hold a larger memorial service for our many family and friends in 2021 when we hope travel is easier. However, there will be a visitation/viewingheld on Monday, August 3 from 12:00pm to 2:00pm at The Donald Jordan Memorial Chapel located at 8352 Reading Rd., Cincinnati, OH 45237. In lieu of flowers, the family ask that you donate to the Alzheimer’s Association of Greater Cincinnati and/or the American Heart Association of Greater Cincinnati on behalf of James L. Welborn.
James has left the 18th hole of life and entered the 19th hole of heaven.
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