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Dennis Lee James

Dennis Lee James

Dennis Lee James, 63, died Wednesday, December 20, 2017, with family by his side at his home in Little Rock, Arkansas. Dennis was born in Little Rock on September 22, 1954 to Julius and Theone James.

He leaves behind his mother, Theone James, his wife, Melinda Fair; his son, Julian James (spouse Marti Redlich); his daughter, Haley Coman (spouse Andrew Coman); Paige James, their mother. As well as his sisters, Julia McArthur and Linda Southern, and his brothers, John James and Danny James. Dennis was predeceased by his father, Julius Oliff James.

Dennis was a lifelong resident of Little Rock, attending McClellan High School with the graduating class of 1972. He then attended the University of Arkansas at Little Rock receiving a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science, and a Minor in Speech in 1975, where he was recognized on the Chancellor’s List. He continued his education there obtaining a Juris Doctor degree in 1978.

Dennis practiced law for many years first as a Deputy Prosecuting Attorney of the Sherwood Municipal Court, in a private practice Southern Allen James, and eventually started his own private practice which he maintained for 16 years.

Dennis also served as Judge for the Wrightsville Court for 14 years as it transitioned from City Court to Municipal Court and finally to District Court. Dennis served as the Secretary of Treasury for the National Judicial College, progressing to the Vice President, and finally serving as the President of the National Judicial College. Additionally, he served as the President of the American Judges Association. He was well respected in the law community by his clients and peers. He shared his knowledge of the law with potential future lawyers as a sponsor for the Parkview Mock Trial team for 10 years.

Dennis was an active member in many societies including: the Phi Alpha Delta Law Fraternity, Pulaski County Bar Association, Arkansas Bar Association (International Law Committee Chairman from 1980-1982), Arkansas Municipal Judges Council, British Motoring Club of Arkansas, 1st Arkansas Infantry Volunteer (reenactors guild), and Indian Inter-Tribal Association of Arkansas.

Dennis had a gift and passion for music. He was a talented singer, and could play guitar, banjo, and anything else that had strings! He sang with his family, the James Family Singers, as gospel singers traveling regionally in the South for many years. He sang in various church choirs and performed with many musical groups over the years.

Rivaling his love for music was Dennis’s interest in antique British sports cars. A vintage motorsport enthusiast, he collected and maintained many vehicles, from the yellow Triumph TR-3 that was his first car, which he kept, to the white TR-6 lovingly named “The Scalded Dog.” He raced cars and crashed a few. Dennis enjoyed the feeling of the open road throughout his life. He was an active member and Triumph Marque Leader of the British Motoring Club of Arkansas.

Dennis was also a student of history and an avid reader. He enjoyed participating in Civil War Reenactments as well as making and flying model airplanes with his son. He loved the outdoors and had a soft spot for dogs, particularly beagles.

“My father, like his father, had the gift of gab,” says Dennis’s son Julian. His daughter, Haley, agrees that her father was gifted in many ways. Not only was he a talented singer, but a skilled orator who spoke not only eloquently, but precisely.

His wife, Lindy, fondly remembers two of Dennis’ favorite sayings: “love covers all” and “always leave them wanting more,” which he always did. Many thanks to Fred Thomas, his caregiver, and Arkansas Hospice.

On that note, we hope to see you at the service which will be held at the St. Paul United Methodist Church on Saturday, December 23rd at 2:00 p.m. There will be a reception following the service, and interment of the ashes at a future date. The Ruebel Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements,

The family asks that donations be made to Arkansas Hospice or the church of your choice, in Dennis’ honor.

Condolence Book

"Dennis will be sorely missed. A gentleman and great friend."
Skip Harris | Benton, AR

"So sorry to hear about Dennis. I just lost my wife 3 months ago and I do know how you feel. They tell me it will get better with time. I hope.
Dennis was a fun guy. Always had a big smile.
I will miss him."

bob harris | NORTH LITTLE ROCK, AR

"We loved Dennis and his British car enthusiasm! His humor, gentlemanly nature, and leadership will be sorely missed. Our thoughts and prayers for all his family and loved ones. "
Lisa C Hutchison | Little Rock, AR

"Many fond memories of adventures with you my brother!! Never will I have a friend who will even come close to what we shared.You will be with me on every British car drive or airshow. Thank you my brother, I'll see you soon! Prayers to all family"
Tim , Teresa ,Lindsey Lamb | LittleRock, AR

"Sorry to hear about Dennis. In our thoughts and prayers."
Michael L. Allison | Morrilton, AR

"Dennis and I spent much time together both in the court room as well as playing music. He was a very talented musician and a good friend. "
Wendell Fowler | Little Rock, AR

"My heart is reaching out to you in sympathy and prayer. I know Dennis by way of Linda and unknown to you, have traveled this journey with you the last years. I also lost my husband almost two years ago "early". I was advised that you never move on, but move forward....It takes time, but will happen....

Ellen Coffield | Little Rock, AR

"I am so sorry to hear about Dennis's passing. We were room mates in law school. I am sorry I have not seen him in many, many years. As the obituary states, he was a great guy and will be sorely missed. "
Ted Holder | LITTLE ROCK, AR

"Lindy, I am so sorry to hear about your husband. You will be in my prayers. Linda Neal"
Linda Neal, MD | North Little Rock, AR

"Sorry to hear about Dennis. He was a good person. He and his puns will be missed."
Kay C Durnett | Little Rock,

"We were so sorry to hear about Dennis. We had many fun times in our BMCA adventures. Our thoughts and prayers for his family."
Charlie and Brenda Collins | Little Rock , AR

"So many fond memories of Dennis and the entire James family, growing up in the church together and listening to the James Family singers.
Mrs. James, my love and thoughts are with you.

Denise Buck | Benton, AR

"Saddened, but glad that his suffering is at an end, knowing he is in a much better place, singing with the heavenly choir. Don't know if they let banjos through the pearly gates, but if they do, he is sitting first chair.

Our prayers for a healing balm go out to the James family. Special prayers for Lindy, Haley and Zack to help you make it through the holidays and the months to come.

We will also keep Paige in our thoughts, as we think back to happier times when we spent time in an earlier era through living history.

The song "Empty Chair" comes to mind.


Gregory "Frenchie" Ferguson and Stephanie Ferguson | Little Rock, AR

"Enjoyed playing music with and for Dennis. He really got into Elvis, Johnny Cash, and good ol' gospel music. I remember his excitement and exuberant "YEAH!" or "HUNHHH" when doing the rockin' numbers. Marvelous human being.

Jake Tidmore | Little Rock, AR

"Linda, so sorry to hear about your brother. Prayers for you and your family. "
Barbara Shell | Little Rock , AR

"My deepest sympathy to Dennis’s family at this very sad time.
He was a man of honor and so many accomplishments in his lifetime. I will always remember Dennis as that little boy who was my sweet, fun loving neighbor.
Rest In Peace, Dennis🙏🏻


Mary Martin Bentley | Austin, TX

"I am so sorry to hear of Dennis’ passing. I worked with Dennis for many years. He was an awesome person and will be greatly missed."
Katheine McMahon | Paron, AR

"I'm so sorry to hear about Dennis leaving us. We were both in Spanish class together. My Spanish name was Paco and his was Dionisio. He was such a fun guy to be around...always laughing and making others laugh too. Please know that you all are in my thoughts and prayers."
Gary Atwood | Little Rock, AR

"JIM - Dennis and I had several really great moments together - like when we were in full 1840s wardrobe to re-enact an Arkansas murder trial. It was hosted at Pinnacle Mt. We drew an impressive crowd. We talked about it for years and were occasionally teased by 'jealous' fellow attorneys who were 'only' in the audience.
AUDREY - I met Dennis in the early "80s as I was driving my Vette on South Main. Dennis drove up in a vintage MG. We talked 'n laughed thro the red-light, then pulled into a nearby parking lot. Soon, he was in MY car and I was sitting in HIS car. Varooom-varoooom - we were buddies from that day onward!
Years passed - we were all drawn together by: historic events, music, antiques, legal discussions, occasional meals (the special one shared with his Linda at Burge's is a 'treasured time.') You only had to look at those adorable eyes (Well, Jim didn't think they were 'adorable' but he liked his voice / HA!) and you knew Dennis was super fun, smart, good man and a quality soul... Best of all, Dennis was not shy regarding his Christian faith; Because of this, we were honored to have shared time with him.
Our condolences to his family, friends and the outstanding St.Paul's membership who we met at his funeral service.

Audrey & Jim Stanley, Jr | , AR

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