|James William Ailor born December 29, 1916, in a Methodist parsonage in Waverly, Missouri, lived in a number of towns in Southwest Missouri, where his father was pastor of many Methodist churches.
"1924-1926 Webb City: It was one October Sunday, the Sunday before Annual Conference started on Monday, sitting in Central Church (it seated 900 people) and looking at the sun coming in through the life-sized stained glass window of Holman Hunt's ‘Christ the Shepherd’ that I felt God's call into the ministry. (It turned out to be a shepherding ministry)."
Rev. Ailor received the A.B. Degree from Drury College in 1939 and the Bachelor of Divinity degree from Southern Methodist University in 1942. While at SMU, he met Hazel Lea Nowell, also a student in the School of Theology. They were married in Mansfield, Louisiana, November 7, 1941.
On November 13, 1941, Jim was admitted to the Louisiana Conference of the United Methodist Church, Ordained Deacon, and November 1942 admitted into Full Connection and ordained an Elder, November 1943.
He served two Student Pastorates in Missouri while in college, He was a Student Pastor of Rankin Chapel in Dallas while in SMU.
His Pastorates and Special Ministries were Bernice-Dubach (1941-1944), Belcher-Gilliam (1944-1946); Superintendent of the Methodist Home Hospital for unmarried mothers and their babies (1946-1951); Montgomery (1951-1952); Zachary (1952-1957); Minister of the Parish and older adults, First United Methodist Baton Rouge (1957-1966); Administrator of Biscayne Manor, a Methodist retirement home, Miami, Florida (1966-1968); Associate, First United Methodist Lake Charles (1968-1975); Downsville (1975-1977); Associate and Minister to older adults First United Methodist Slidell; Sun - Bush and Talisheek circuit (1977-1980). Jim formally retired from the Annual Conference after 38 1/2 years while in Slidell to care for his wife and continued to serve as Minister to older adults until complete retirement in 1988.
Rev Ailor was a member of Slidell Masonic Lodge #311, Pontchartrain Chapter #68 Royal Arch Masons, Council #48 Royal and Select Masters; and G. A. Everett Commandry No. 29, Knights Templar.
Jim spent the first years of retirement caring for his wife whom he lost in 1993, and writing his book, On This Side of Jordan, the Life and Ministry of James W. Ailor. "The picture on the cover is from a photograph of a stained glass window, using Dolman Hunt's painting ‘Christ the Shepherd’ as its basis. This stained glass window, also, 1 hope, exemplifies what my ministry became --- or was at least an inspiring part of it.”
He returned to Baton Rouge and established residence at Southside Gardens, a retirement community, where he fulfilled many duties as Chaplain for the remainder of his wonderful life.
Rev. Ailor was preceded in death by his parents, six siblings, and his wife of 51 years, Hazel Lea Nowell Ailor and son, Robert E. Ailor. He is survived by daughters Margaret E. Latimer of LaPorte, Texas and Jeanie A. Pickens of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, six grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.
|Source: Journal Louisiana Conference, 2004|