James Michael Light '99
January 13, 1977 ~ March 19, 2022
Resided in: Hilltop Lakes, Texas
James Michael Light was born in Austin, Texas on January 13, 1977 to Jerry and Janie Light, he was their first born son. He went to his eternal resting home on March 19, 2022. He was 45 years old.
James grew up in Austin, Texas where he attended elementary school through 3rd grade, at which time the family moved to the country near Thrall, Texas. He then attended school at Thrall Independent School District until his graduation in 1995. He played football and tennis, was involved in 4H and FFA making it to Nationals in competition for Rangeland Judging where he placed 3rd and his team 4th. He was an honor student choosing to go to Texas A&M University becoming a member of the Fighting Texas Aggie Class of 1999. He attended Texas A&M University majoring in Agricultural Engineering with a specialization in Environmental Engineering. While in college he met the love of his life Misty. He graduated in May 2000 and went on to work as a civil engineer for 22 years. He had fond memories of his childhood and shared them often. His college years were some of the best of his life especially after he met his future wife.
After graduation from college he went to work for Claunch and Miller in downtown Houston (that lasted less than 6 months, the drive was horrendous for the country boy) and he and Misty settled in Cypress, Texas for the next 7 years. He found a job at Pate Engineering and worked for them for 6 years where he earned his Professional Engineering license in Civil Engineering. He worked on many projects during this time. This is where he met his good friend Jason Keeling, they developed a friendship that continued even after moving. In early 2007 he became a partner in the company. Soon after that he decided he needed country life again so he searched and found an engineering job at Westmoreland Coal Company near Jewett, TX. He worked for Westmoreland until 2016 at which time they began to shut down operations. At Westmoreland he made lifelong friends that he was still in contact with today. He learned the mining operations and it fascinated him. He would have worked there forever given the chance. He then went to work for Goodwin, Lassiter and Strong in College Station. He quickly became a favorite in the office and loved sharing about the pranks they played on each other. At this job he was able to design different aspects of School ISD’s including the 2016 bond that Normangee ISD passed. His work lives on at Normangee ISD and he was proud to have been able to serve the community in such a big way. Misty and the kids always tell stories about how while driving somewhere they would have to detour and look at a project he had designed or was working on, it didn’t have anything to do with being proud of his work, which he was, but more to do with, I work hard and this is the outcome. People depend on me to do a good job, I want to pass that on to you. One of Misty’s favorite things to tell people is about the things she would find in his pockets after a day at work, Red marking pencils, a 3 sided ruler, and sometimes he had a quadratic calculator in his pocket. All the things an engineer needs to do his work for the day.
James married the love of his life on January 8, 2000. It was one of the best days of his life and the best decision he ever made. They enjoyed 22 years and 3 months together before God needed him to come home. They had 3 beautiful children, Madison Kaye, 21, Savannah Raye, 18, and James Austin, 15. Raising his children was the highlight of James’ life. He was a very hands-on dad, very loving and taught them that hard work was something that we did in this family, no matter what the odds were. He was proud of his kids and his love will always be with them.
He was looking forward to moving into the empty nest years with his wife. They had plans to travel and fish a lot more once the kids were gone. In recent years their favorite thing to do was go get breakfast somewhere on the weekends. He spoiled his wife with not only gifts but with letting her know she was the most beautiful person, and always saying I love you before he left for work each day. It was as close to perfection as it could get. Just a few days before his death they were talking about the next house they would build and what they would put into it that their current one did not have. They were always looking to the future and making plans for it. Plans that included each other and their kids.
James had a special relationship with each of his kids.
Madison, his first born, was given the nickname Bubba by him from the get go. He tried to teach her to hunt and fish but that didn’t work in his favor. She was an athlete, she started playing softball at the age of 8 and that was their thing to do for the next 10 years. He drove her many miles to practices and tournaments all over the state, they practiced in the backyard many hours. But their most treasured time together was watching college softball on TV or in person if they could. They would spend hours recording games and watching them in slow motion. Even when she moved out, they watched the same games and talked on the phone about them. He called her every few days to check in with her and he was so proud of all her accomplishments. He didn’t sleep for 10 days when she went to Africa, until she landed back on US soil. He had the pleasure of dunking his ring with her 2 years ago, he had never done it so thought why not? It went down as one of the best days ever because he shared a time honored Aggie tradition with her and her friends. She is a mathematician and she got all those mental math skills from him, they would sit and do math together, so Misty called them her nerds. Madison got so many things from him that she will pass on to her children, his legacy will never be gone from this Earth.
Savannah, his bitty baby girl. He had high hopes that she would be tall, because she grew a lot in 7th grade, but he was just joking that she’s still that same height and she is the smallest of all of us. Savannah was his girl that would hunt with him. She would travel to the river, Granny’s or PawPaw’s to get up early, bundle up and head to a deer stand. She was a crack shot, killing a turkey from about 150 yards away. It was the highlight of James’ time teaching her to shoot. She also played a little softball as a young teen and she and her daddy would go head to head about pitching practice (she hated it). He seemed to always win in that situation. She was putty in his hands when she needed something. New golf clubs? Sure. A trip to Los Angeles with FCCLA? Sure, here is a check. She has a hard work ethic and puts 100% into everything she does, if someone else can’t do it perfectly then she’s doing it. Just like him. She and her daddy had the same taste in vegetables. They loved to cook and eat vegetables that the rest of us wouldn’t eat. This year she made him a little nervous with talk of going to Texas Tech for college. It wasn’t that she wouldn’t be an Aggie but it was so far from home. She made him take off work and go on a visit to Lubbock, he was super nervous at that time, because he too loved the campus but again it was 7 hours away. In the end she ultimately chose to be an Aggie. She will make her daddy proud as an Aggie when she starts her journey next fall. She got many of her qualities from him, the biggest one being, his circle was small, as is hers. But if you are in their circle they love you big and will do anything for you. Her daddy will be her guardian angel forever.
Austin, his one and only boy that he prayed for. Since he could walk, Austin has been beside his dad outside. He loved doing all the men’s outdoor things with his dad. Hunting hogs and deer on the river. Planting the garden together. They most recently had started doing beekeeping together and James always made Austin dress up in the outfit to check the hives. Their biggest hobby they enjoyed together was kayaking trips down the river. Trips that were miles long and required overnight stays on the river bank. The last one they took, they forgot most of the food (Misty wasn’t there to make sure it was on the pack kayak I guess). The memories of that trip are priceless and ones Austin will never forget. They were both huge Star Wars and Marvel fans. Enjoying every show and movie together more than once. Austin is intelligent like his dad, they looked at stocks together and James had helped Austin buy some and monitor them. Austin is forever googling strange stuff and sharing it with us, totally getting that from his father. Teaching Austin to play tennis the last few weeks was the highlight of the spring season. James would call me to have Austin dressed and ready to go so he could just change and they would head to the courts. I know he wants Austin to continue to play in his honor. James will live on in Austin everyday.
His hobbies were numerous, he loved to garden and plant flowerbeds. He was always transplanting some plant or tree into the ground. He was into propagating plants. There are dozens of propagated roses in the garage right now. They will be planted in his honor at some point. He was working on having a fruit orchard. He planted a big garden each year during the spring and winter. He loved to eat fresh veggies and he loved for Misty to cook them for him. He had recently taken up being a beekeeper with a few boxes of hives. He also loved to hunt and fish. He and Misty were always going to the lakes and he would fish while she read her book. This summer however he had her watch one of the fishing poles (he set out like 4 at a time) and she had to reel in the fish because he had his earbuds in and couldn’t hear her yelling at him. One of his favorite things to do was spend time on the river with his cousin Sam who was like another brother to him. They would spend hours setting trotlines, checking them, hunting hogs at night using night vision and just hanging out in the camp house. He processed his own deer meat and loved to BBQ. He loved small town sports. He was always up to go watch a game. He was involved with little league softball for many years, coaching many of the youth in our town. One of his proudest accomplishments was watching the group of girls he helped to coach in softball play in the 2A State UIL tournament taking home second place. He was not disappointed in the least with that finish. The goal from early on with the girls was to play there and that they did. He was a figure to be looked up to by those girls. He loved to take his family on vacations and had just recently planned a camping trip to Alaska with Austin for this summer. The family has traveled many miles together in the car to see different sites (usually something on Misty’s bucket list), they had just recently begun listening to podcasts on those trips as a family.
He was an Aggie through and through. He loved Aggie football and attending games with the family. Sawing them off with his family beside him brought him such joy. He sawed them off with Misty at an Aggie basketball game just a week ago. He loved turning the children into Aggies and sharing all the traditions of the University with them. Bleeding Maroon was something he was proud of.
He was called the chicken farmer by Misty, he had laying hens and was always incubating more chickens for his coop. He loved to just sit outside and watch them scratch around for bugs. He never stopped moving, he would come home from work and be outside for an hour doing chores before he came to eat supper. He loved ESPN and watched it constantly. He was always calling Misty into the living room to watch something on ESPN, something she probably didn’t care about but she indulged him. Just like he indulged himself with her cat obsession and junk collecting obsession.
James is joined in heaven with his Poppy, Bruce Light, his grandfather, James Michael Powers, Uncle Sam Day and a host of other relatives who are missed.
He is survived by the love of his life Misty, daughters Madison Kaye and Savannah Raye, son James Austin Light, mother Janie Light, father and stepmother Jerry and Joan Light, Brother Jeffrey Light and his wife Laura, their children Nolan and Reese, Misty’s parents Herb and Susian Shaw, Misty’s siblings, Jay and Emily Shaw and family, Wendy and Richard Ross and family, Jim and Beth Shaw and family. Grandmother Lousie Lambert, Aunt Suellen and her husband Lane Young, cousins Brett and Abigail, and Aunt Teresa Rachal. Granny Bettye Light, Uncle Gerry Light and Aunt Karen Day. Cousin Sam Day III and his son Tyler, Cousin Jenny Day and her children Tabitha and Johnathan. He is survived by a host of friends he called family, including Shannon Pickering and her two children Emma and Wyatt, and Jason Keeling, his fishing buddy of 20 years.
Pallbearers will be Jerry Light, Jeff Light, Jim Shaw, Jay Shaw, Sam Day III, Jason Keeling. Honorary Pallbearers include Austin Light, Richard Ross, John Rusk, Anthony Castellese
A visitation will be held from 4 to 6pm Sunday, March 27, at Cozart Funeral Home in Normangee. Funeral services will start at 11am Monday, March 28, at First United Methodist Church in Normangee. Services are in the care of Cozart Funeral Home in Normangee.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the GoFundMe account set up for the Light children to cover school expenses or the Hilltop Fire/EMS Department.
Funeral Service: March 28, 2022 11:00 am
Normangee First United Methodist Church
402 Main St.
Normangee, Texas 77871