BLOOMFIELD - James LeVar Pepper, 86, died Feb. 1, 2004, at the John J. Pershing Veterans Administration Medical Center in Poplar Bluff.
Born June 29, 1917, at Bloomfield, son of the late Earl B. and Hattie Tucker Pepper, he was a member of the First Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) where he served as an elder. He and his father owned and operated Pepper's Bakery in Bloomfield. A veteran of the U.S. Army, he was a captain and commander of Company C, 411th Infantry Regiment of the 103rd Infantry Division. He saw combat in five countries in the European Theater of Operations during World War II and received several decorations and citations, including two Silver Stars, two Bronze Stars, two Purple Hearts and the Combat Infantry Badge. For more than 20 years, he was a Veterans Administration hospital volunteer. A field agent representative for the Masonic Service Association, he was also president of the Bloomfield Chamber of Commerce, which honored him with the 2002 Lifetime Achievement Award. Pepper also served as secretary of the Bloomfield School Board, was a member of the American Legion, Disabled American Veterans and Veterans of Foreign Wars and was a member of Bloomfield Masonic Lodge 153 for more than 50 years.
On Nov. 2, 1941, at Bloomfield, he married Jeanne Jones who survives of the home.
Other survivors include: two sons, James LeVar Pepper II of Hot Springs Village, Ark., and Richard T. Pepper of Fox, Ark.; and four grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.
Two sisters, Virginia L. Reed and Betty Jo Griffey, preceded him in death.
Visitation is from 5 to 8 p.m. today at Rainey-Mathis Funeral Home in Dexter, where Masonic rites will be conducted at 7 p.m.
Services are scheduled for 1 p.m. Thursday at the funeral home with the Rev. Vaughn Wright officiating.
Burial will follow in the Missouri Veterans Cemetery.