James Ray Tharpe, age 81, of Drakes Branch passed peacefully in his home surrounded by loved ones on Saturday, Oct. 5, 2019. 

He was preceded in death by his parents, Kermit Tucker Tharpe and Irene Royster Tharpe, three brothers, K. David Tharpe, Curtis W. Tharpe and M. Wade Tharpe, and loving sister Joyce T. Nichols.

He is survived by his loving wife of 61 years, Ann Scott Tharpe; three children, Judy T. Forlines, Donna T. Crews and Timothy Ray Tharpe (Lisa); a brother, Harold B. Tharpe, (Margaret); seven grandchildren, Krystle (Jared) Whitney, Danielle (Kevin), Desiree (Jake), Dylan James, Josh and Lexy; five great-grandchildren, Kendrix, Arbor, Bryson, Nolan and Harper; many special nieces and nephews; also many great nieces and nephews; including two very special great-nephews, Tucker and Clark; and special loved ones, Danny Crews and David Forlines.

James was a very hard working man from a young age.  In his earlier years he drove a truck for Huss Trucking in Chase City, worked at Ponton Pallet Co., in Drakes Branch, and he had several business endeavors including packaging and selling his own table meal. 

He started J. R. Tharpe Trucking Co. in 1971 and dedicated himself to the growth and success of the family business that still operates strong today. 

James loved spending time with his family, and took pride in teaching his children and grandchildren his strong work ethics. 

Raising a garden was considered his hobby, and he did it very well. 

Listening to country music, dancing with his wonderful wife and watching his grandbabies dance were some of his favorite things.

He was a member of Lebanon United Methodist Church and was devoted to helping his church family and his community any way he could. 

He was respected and loved by many and will be missed dearly.

A funeral service will be held at 2 p.m., Tuesday, Oct. 8, 2019, at Lebanon United Methodist Church, Drakes Branch, with interment to follow in the church cemetery.

The family will receive friends at the church one hour prior to the funeral service. 

Donations may be made to the Lebanon United Methodist Church Cemetery Fund, The Barksdale Cancer Foundation, or flowers are welcomed.

The Browning-Duffer Funeral Home in Keysville is serving the family.