James Howard Lay, Okmulgee, Oklahoma, left this life Friday, July 23, 2021. He was born June 25, 1966, in Muskogee, Oklahoma, to Paul James and Burnell Casto Lay. He married Dana Dinsmore April 28, 2007.
James attended Morris Public Schools where he graduated in 1984. He was active in the school band and enjoyed playing music, especially the drums.
James attended OSU-Okmulgee and received associates degrees in Computer Integrated Systems Services and in Gas Compression. James traveled internationally working in the gas compression field and had many exciting stories to share. He was privileged to work in Kazakhstan at the world's largest refinery at that time as well as the remote jungle of Gabon, East Africa. He later became Maintenance Supervisor at Anchor Glass plant in Henryetta.
James was part-owner of Last Stop Hunting and Fishing in Okmulgee, and Frisco Liquidation in Henryetta at the time of his death. He was a member of the NRA, former board member and volunteered for Friends of the Deep Fork and the National Wild Turkey Federation. He enjoyed serving as auctioneer for the Nuyaka Fire Department's annual fundraiser.
He was a licensed ordained minister and attended World Outreach Center in Okmulgee where he played the bass guitar and drums assisting in praise and worship. His dream in his early teens was to become a tent evangelist and to spread the Word of God across the United States.
James was very patriotic retiring from the U.S. Army Reserves 95th Infantry Division after 23 years of service as an E-8 Operations Sergeant.
He was a very positive individual, who told his mother at age 5 that he was going to win the Huck Finn contest in Muskogee. Mom was at work when she received the news from the church editor that he had, in fact, won the Huck Finn contest. He was awarded his first rod and reel and tackle box. That was the beginning! His enjoyment for fishing and hunting was displayed as he taught his sons some of his knowledge in those fields. He especially enjoyed fishing for trout at Roaring River in Missouri, with his wife Dana.
Three and one-half years ago, James was given 6 months to live. Though ill in body the past few months, he still showed much humor to those caring for him.
Those preceding him in death were his paternal grandparents, Lois & Howard Lay, maternal grandparents, James & Carrie Casto; father-in-law, Gale Dinsmore, Sr., aunt Flossie Lay Hill, uncles & aunts Harold & Linda and Robert & Lucretia Lay, and Raymond Osborn and great-aunt Penny Garner, nephew Garrett Dinsmore, and cousin, Hunter Lay.
He is survived by his wife, Dana, of the home; sons, Phillip Lay and Dylon Lay, grandchildren, Carson James Lee Lay and Raylee Lynn Lay; his parents, Paul and Burnell Lay; mother-in-law, Debbie Dinsmore; sisters, Amy and John Rogers of Beggs, Kara and Corey Lansdale of Morris, brother-in-law T. J. Dinsmore, as well as his aunts, uncles, several nieces, nephews, cousins and a host of friends.
Funeral services are scheduled for 10 A.M. on Monday, August 2, 2021 at The Refuge Church in Okmulgee with Pastor Paul Matthews, officiating. Interment will follow at 1:00 p.m. at Fort Gibson National Cemetery with full military honors. Services are under the care and direction of Integrity Funeral Service in Henryetta.
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