Jim Mac Burkett was born February 20, 1932, West of O'Donnell in Dawson County. He died Tuesday, April 18, 2017, in Lamesa at the age of 85. The Burkett family moved to Borden County in 1936 where Jim lived on the same farm until moving to Brownfield in 2007. Jim was a life-long farmer. The youngest of 8 children born to John R. and Zona (Albright) Burkett. Jim had 4 brothers, Elmo, Jake, Joe, and Dale, and 3 sisters, Cortez, Wilda, and Katie. He grew up with nieces and nephews older than himself.
Jim attended and excelled in school in the Mesquite community and graduated from O'Donnell High School in 1947 at the age of fifteen. Jim farmed with his dad and played music with his brothers until being drafted into the Army in 1953, where he was a radar mechanic. While stationed in El Paso, Jim was introduced by his buddy, Owell Jeffcoat, to a nice young lady. Frances Hendon had asked her nephew Owell Jeffcoat to choose a nice young man for her to write letters to. Jim and Frances met in person in October of 1953, and decided to marry on a weekend in March. Jim Mac Burkett and Frances Hendon were married on March 6, 1954, in Portales, NM, after this short courtship. Frances had a new dress her Mama had just finished, so they drove over to Lovington to be married. The fellow that would need to issue the marriage license wouldn’t open up on Saturday, so they drove on to Portales where the clerk was more agreeable and were married at the home of the Church of Christ preacher. Once Jim put his mind to do something, he would do whatever necessary to make that happen.
Returning home after two years of service to his country during the Korean War, Jim went back to his first love, farming, which was now his second love. He loved Frances, farming, family, and music - the order was not always the same, but these were always important to him. Back in Borden County, Jim and Frances were blessed with three children, Carol Jean, Glynda Sue, and Mickey Don.
Jim served the community in numerous ways throughout his life. He led singing at the Mesquite Church of Christ from a very young age and was a leader in that congregation until moving in 2007. Jim served as county judge for Borden County from 1975 to 1982. He was involved in the planning and successful execution of the Borden County Bicentennial Celebration in 1976 when approximately 10,000 people were in Gail, Texas, for a weekend. One of his many duties as judge included performing marriage ceremonies. He was always willing and available when someone came to the court house to be married.
As a calm, fair-minded, and diplomatic man, and as a lifelong member of the community, Jim was asked to serve on numerous boards and committees in Borden County and Dawson County. He was elected to the board of directors of the O'Donnell Farmer's Co-Op in September 1968 and served in that capacity for 27 years. Once he committed to do something, he didn't quit. Once Jim retired from farming, he and Frances enjoyed a number of years traveling with their RV and camping. South Texas in the winter and the mountains of New Mexico in the summer became their favorite destinations. Wherever the camper wound up, Jim would have his guitar and find a friend or a group to play music with. He enjoyed music of any kind, but the more complicated the chord progression, the better he liked it. He played for his own enjoyment, but was often invited to play for others, especially nursing homes and retirement centers.
Jim Mac became Mac to his eight grandchildren and four great-grandchildren and continued to be a family man. He and Frances attended numerous events, always willing to go to support and watch their loved ones, whether interested in the event or not. Over the last several years, Jim continued to care for and serve others in whatever capacity possible. As his mind began to slip, his heart continued to provide love and compassion for others.
Visitation will begin at 4:00 p.m. on Friday, April 21, 2017, with family receiving friends from 6:00 - 8:00 p.m. at Combest Family Funeral Homes in O'Donnell. Funeral Services will be held on Saturday, April 22, 2017 at 2:00 p.m. at the O'Donnell Church of Christ, with interment to follow at the Gail Cemetery.