The Honorable James Leighton Lemon, Jr. age 82, of New London, MO passed away at 5:22 am Saturday, December 31, 2022, at his home.
Funeral services will be held at 10:00 a.m. Friday, January 6, 2023, at the Smith Funeral Home & Chapel. Pastor Tom Day will officiate. Burial with full military honors will be in the Barkley Cemetery.
Visitation celebrating James' life will be held 3:00 p.m. until 7:00 p.m. Thursday, January 5, 2023, at the Smith Funeral Home & Chapel.
James Leighton Lemon, Jr. was born March 4, 1940, in Levering Hospital, Hannibal, MO. His parents were Virginia Caldwell Lemon and James L. Lemon, Sr. His mother’s family was from Frankford, MO and Parsons, KS. James Sr.'s family were residents of Ralls County since the early 1800's. His older sister, Sandra Sue Clark of Columbia, MO survives him. His younger siblings, Mary Gay Lemon Huff and Charles William Lemon preceded him in death. His beloved uncle, Charles V. Lemon (Unc) and Aunt Virginia Sue Bowles Lemon also preceded him in death.
James was married to Marylee Evans Lemon in 1965. She survives. Also surviving are two sons, James Forrest Lemon (Anna) of Hannibal, MO and John Charles Lemon (Edie) of Alice, TX; eight grandchildren, James Kirtis, Charles Vandaver (Grace), Forrest Cooper, Duncan McClaren, Chloe Elise, John Andrew and Alana Grace, as well as many nieces and nephews.
Jim was a graduate of New London schools and the University of Missouri (Mizzou). He held four degrees from Mizzou; a BS in agriculture, a Juris Doctorate in law, a MS in public health administration and a MA in community development. Following obtaining his degrees in agriculture, he fulfilled his military obligation by joining the Army, where he served in the medical/veterinary corps. Upon completion of his law degree, he was appointed as Executive Director of Comprehensive Health Planning for Boone County.
Mr. Lemon was elected in 1972, as a state legislator for the 48th district including parts of Boone, Audrain, and Callaway counties. In 1975, he was appointed by Gov. Christopher S. Bond to serve as Ralls County Ex Officio Magistrate and Probate Judge. He subsequently campaigned for the renamed position of Associate Circuit Court Judge. He was the first Republican to win an election in Ralls County since the Civil War. He served as Judge for eighteen years.
Jim had been involved in farming since he was three years old and although in poor health and strength, he still considered himself a farmer from Ralls County.
Jim was a member the New London Lions Club, Ralls County Republican Party and Pachyderm Club. He also served on the Barkley Cemetery board and New London Volunteer Fire Department Board. He was a proud member of the Missouri Bar.
Mr. Lemon was a member of the New London Baptist Church.
Pallbearers will be James F. Lemon, John C. Lemon, James K. Lemon, Charles V. Lemon, Forrest C. Lemon, Duncan M. Lemon and John A. Lemon.
Memorial contributions may be made to St. Jude Children's Hospital, in care of Smith Funeral Home.
Online condolences may be made to the family and video tribute viewed on James' memorial page at www.smithfuneralhomeandchapel.com
St. Jude Children's Research Hospital
501 St. Jude Place, Memphis TN 38105