Sorry, you need to enable JavaScript to visit this website.
Time to read
2 minutes
Read so far


Posted in:

1935 – 2020

  • Article Image Alt Text

James Herbert Thigpen of San Angelo, Texas, passed away after a lengthy illness on May 14, 2020.

James was born on May 5, 1935 in Huntsville, Texas to Herbert Allen Thigpen and Anna Pearl Davis Thigpen. His parents moved to Navasota, Texas when James was a preschooler. When James was nine years old, he committed himself to Jesus Christ as his Savior, a decision that was to shape the rest of his life. At the age of 12, James answered the call to ministry.

James attended Navasota schools and graduated in the class of 1953. He served as president of his senior class, and his classmates continued to look to him as their leader through the years. James attended Howard Payne University and Texas A&M University and was a graduate from Baylor University in 1957 (B.A.). While James attended

While James attended Baylor, he was called as pastor of his first church, Union Grove Baptist Church located outside Navasota. On May 25, 1957, James married Buelah Virginia Stephen, a Baylor student from Wichita Falls, Texas. The couple began their married life in California, where James attended Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary located in Marine County across the Golden Gate from San Francisco and received the Bachelor of Divinity degree and the Master of Theology degree.

While in California, James and his wife had two children, Stephen Allen born in 1960 and Jonathan Scott born in 1962. To support his family while he attended seminary, James founded and managed a custodial service serving mainly medical offices. This business also provided employment for other sem inary students. In addition, James served as pastor of churches in Campbell and Albany, California.

In 1969 James and his family moved back to Texas where he continued to serve as pastor of churches in Orangefield, Lone Oak, Caddo Mills, Texas City and Iola. In 1984 James and Buelah moved to Tennessee where he served as pastor of churches in Murfreesboro and Smyrna. After 48 years in the ministry, James retired in 1990, and he and Buelah were able to fulfill his lifelong dream of being a fulltime RVer.

James and his wife purchased a fifth wheel and named it Tumbleweed. They traveled extensively from Florida to Texas, through Oklahoma, Kansas, Colorado and New Mexico. During this time Jim also served as interim pastor at University Baptist Church in Alpine, Texas and First Baptist Church of Fort Davis.

In 2002 the couple purchased a home at Baptist Retirement Center in San Angelo where James lived until his death. James was a man of deep faith. Throughout his ministry and into retirement he spent many hours studying the Bible, reading theology and preparing sermons. James accumulated an extensive library of commentaries, theological books and history books. When he was no longer able to use his library, he donated it to a small Baptist college.

Since high school, James’ favorite recreation was playing golf, and until he was no longer able to do so, he spent many happy – and sometimes not so happy – hours on the golf course. He loved every minute of it.

James is survived by his wife of 63 years, Buelah; son, Stephen; son, Jonathan and wife Rachel of Palestine, Texas; grandson James Thomas Thigpen of Palestine; granddaughter Virginia Jane McClain of Palestine and husband Jason; granddaughter Rebecca Anne Farrow and husband Josh of Abilene, Texas; and great granddaughter Emilee Jade Farrow; sister Jane Newsom and husband Tom of Waco; and sister Nancy Martin of Houston. In addition, James is survived by several cousins, nieces and nephews, as well as brother-in-law Donald Ray Stephen and wife Lili of Austin.

The family wishes to thank those who helped care for him through his illness: Dr. Roberta Hinshaw, his personal physician for many years; nurses and aides from Shannon Home Health Care; sitters from Comfort Keepers; care givers at Hospice of San Angelo; and especially the nurses, aides and other professionals from Sagecrest Alzheimer’s Care Center at Baptist Retirement Center who so ably and graciously cared for him during his last months. He will be missed.

A visitation in Palestine, Texas was held Sunday, May 17, at Bailey and Foster Funeral Home. Burial was 10 a.m. Monday, May 18, in Roselawn Cemetery in Palestine, Texas.

Family and friends may sign an online guestbook at