James Grover Bolinger, 79, of Huntsville, passed away Monday, Jan. 2, 2023, at Washington Regional Medical Center, Fayetteville. 

He was born Tuesday, Sept. 7, 1943, in Prairie Grove, Ark., to Denton “Tooter” and Bonnie Mae Fancher Bolinger, and the middle son to his older brother, Jerry, and younger brother, Max.

As a young boy, growing up on Wharton Creek, he ran his parents’ store and Post Office, and did so until he was a grown man. He was known to have a knack for counting money and was a great salesman.

James started school at age 4; he won most spelling bees he entered and was a great athlete. He was on the Huntsville High School boxing team and was a Golden Glove Boxer. He was left-handed and good at baseball, playing competitively on a local traveling baseball team. He graduated high school early and attended the University of Arkansas, where he graduated with an associate degree.

He first married Linda Montgomery on Dec. 16, 1961. They bought and operated a cattle and poultry farm at Wharton Creek and became parents to two children. James began his career at the garment factory (Claymore Manufacturing) working in the shipping room, but quickly worked up to the highest position in the plant, as factory manager.

On April 25, 1975, James wed Kathleen Mary Lacy, and became the father to three more children. In 1976, he joined the Arkansas Forestry Commission and had a 40-year span of employment fighting forest fires, cruising timber, planting trees, and wearing the “Smokey Bear” costume; rising to the level of Ranger III. In 1997, James and Kathy opened and operated Granny’s Kitchen in Huntsville, which has become one of the most popular restaurants with the best food available in the Northwest Arkansas Area.

James was a Baptist by faith and a lifetime member of the Mountain Meadows Monument Foundation. He and Kathy traveled many miles over two decades attending ceremonies, establishing libraries, riding horses, and promoting public awareness about the Mountain Meadows Massacre – an event that was very close to his family.

He loved to hunt, both locally and traveling out west to elk hunt in Colorado and Oregon. He was a part-time auction clerk, enjoyed buying and selling antiques and guns, and maintained several flea market booths. James also enjoyed riding horses, which included his Steel Horse, his favorite Harley Davidson Motorcycle. It was his love of family, especially his grandchildren, that made James the happiest.

James was preceded in death by his parents, Denton “Tooter” and Bonnie Bolinger; and one son-in-law, Rick Cartmell. 

He is survived by his wife, Kathy Bolinger, of the home; one daughter, Jamie Cartmell, of Huntsville; four sons and three daughters-in-law: Phil and Kimberly Bolinger of Hindsville, Craig Bolinger of Wharton Creek, Wayne and Marnie Bolinger of Rogers, and Junior and Kari Bolinger of Huntsville; 14 grandchildren, Megan, Colby, Cameron, Colton, Cooper, Taylor, Caden, Grayson, Reese, Tisha, Kalli, Brek, Wyatt and Cameron; and nine great-grandchildren, Paislee Porter, Beckham, Colston, Wren, Rowdy, Cyrus, Paislee Bolinger, Westley and Titus. James is also survived by two brothers and one sister-in-law, Jerry and Cheryl Bolinger of Hindsville, and Max Bolinger of Huntsville; as well as a host of many nephews, nieces, and friends.

Funeral services were held Saturday, Jan. 7, 2023, at Brashears Funeral Home. Larry Montgomery officiated. 

Pallbearers were Colby Bolinger, Cameron Bolinger, Grayson Bolinger, Reese Bolinger, Colton Cartmell, Cooper Cartmell, Caden Cartmell, Brek Bolinger, Jacob Porter and Aaron Gahr. 

Honorary pallbearers were Darby Spurlock, Ben Leftwich, Leon Lyman, Cameron Roy, Wyatt Mitsch, Jarred Rogers, Steve Nelson, Dean McChristian, John Montgomery, Darrell Bohannan, Richard Gustin, Bob McCall and Harold Logan. 

Interment immediately followed services at Kingston Cemetery, Kingston. 

Services were entrusted to Brashears Funeral Home and Crematory of Huntsville.