Rev. James M. Poole


 James Martin Poole

July 27, 1929 – July 2, 2018


It was a state youth event at Camp Brewer circa 1944.  Everyone was standing around waiting for the program to begin.  Then the Poole family arrived.  Rev. William Poole, his wife Helen, Dan, Frank, and James, the camp came alive with activity.  “Four Square” games, volley ball, softball, and groups hiking the trails burst out.  James and his brothers knew the possibilities for fun and where the sports equipment was stored.


I tell this story because it is a foretelling of the ministry of Rev. James Martin Poole.  Wherever he went, he quietly infused life and faith into that community.


James Martin Poole was born July 27, 1929 in New Orleans.  He went to be with his heavenly Father July 2, 2018 in Shreveport after a long battle with Parkinson’s disease.  His parents were Daniel William Poole Sr. and Helen Grace Sells.  James’ father, Willie, was a minister in the the Louisiana Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church which later became the United Methodist Church.  As a boy James grew up in McDonaldville, Louisiana (now Gretna), and started school in Mangham.  He then attended school in Talulah, and graduated from Deridder High School in 1946.


The Poole family moved to Natchitoches and James enrolled at Northwestern State College which later became Northwestern State University.  He graduated with a double major in Social Studies and Education, was the president of the Honor Court, and lettered in football and track.


On September 10, 1950, James married Lois Retta Strickland.  They both attended Candler School of Theology at Emory University in Atlanta Georgia.  After graduation he became a member of the Louisiana Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church.  His first appointment was the Oak Ridge – Crew Lake and Trails End circuit.  James and Retta had two sons, James William and Martin Collier during this time.


James served Newellton Union Church, Lakeview United Methodist Church in Minden, Vinton United Methodist Church, St. Luke’s United Methodist Church in Shreveport.  While serving at St. Luke’s in Shreveport, he was involved in the opening of Oakwood Home (a safe house for women) and subsequently was honored for his service by the community.


James served Elizabeth Sullivan United Methodist in Bogalusa, First United Methodist Church of Minden, First United Methodist Church in Natchitoches, and as a District Superintendent of the Ruston district.


Upon retirement James and Retta established their home in Natchitoches.  There he served as an associate at First Methodist, Natchitoches for 14 years and was active in the community.  He was a Mason of the 32nd degree and was at one time the state chaplain of Louisiana.  James was a “joiner” in retirement.  He joined the Natchitoches Area Chamber of Commerce, the Parish Council on Aging, the Lions Club and was an avid supporter of NSU athletics and music.


The lives of James and Retta were blessed with the birth of two grandsons, Robert Martin  and Daniel James, children of Martin Collier and wife Susan.


James was honored to be elected by his peers to serve as a delegate to the Jurisdictional Conference and to the General Conference of the United Methodist Church.


James was an active participant in Cursillo, Stephen Ministry and United Methodist Men.  He is also well known and respected for his long standing work with the Boy Scouts of America.  He served as the Louisiana Conference Scouting Coordinator, attended the National Scouting Jamboree, and served as a chaplain at Philmont Scout Ranch.  He received a Silver Beaver Award for the Boy Scouts and through his example, inspiration and encouragement his two grandsons became Eagle Scouts. 


James is survived by his brothers Dan Poole of Natchitoches, Frank Poole and wife Mary of Oxford, MS, his sons James William, Martin Collier and wife Susan, and grandchildren Robert Martin and Dr. Daniel James Poole.


As you can see where ever he went, he quietly infused life and faith into that community


Conrad Edwards







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