James Henry Alexander was born in Kansas City, Kansas on November 24, 1926 to John Henry and Jessie May (Wesbrook) Alexander, and passed from this life on July 27, 2019 at Research Medical Center, Kansas City, Missouri at 92 years of age.
He received formal education in the Kansas City, Kansas public schools until ninth grade, and in 1942 enlisted in the United States Army. In those days, it was common for teenaged boys to leave school early and lie about their age in order to be eligible for military service.
One of the original Buffalo Soldiers, Private First Class, 10th Cavalry, James H. Alexander served during World War II in the United States, Europe and North Africa. His marksmanship qualification was Expert 03 Rifle. He received the European African Middle Eastern Service Medal, the American Theatre Service Medal and the Good Conduct Medal. While in Italy, he picked up quite a bit of the Italian language and spoke it often, even until the months leading up to his passing.
After his honorable discharge from the Army in 1945, James returned to the Kansas City area. In 1953, he married Anna Freeman. They were happily married until Anna’s untimely death in 1963. He later married Josie Mae Hord, and they gave birth to one child, Lance Mark, on December 21, 1965. Josie Mae preceded James in death in February 2019.
James was employed as a mail carrier and Special Delivery Messenger for the US Postal Service and retired in 1979. He later worked as a security officer for B.C. Christopher & Company Securities Brokers at the Kansas City Board of Trade, and retired again in the 1980s.
Affectionately known to many as “Pops”, James recognized his son Lance’s musical gifts during his elementary school years and purchased Lance’s very first electronic drum machine. He later secured financing to purchase more musical equipment, making it possible for his son to hone his skills and pursue his aspiration to become a successful songwriter and music producer. He also managed the Grand Jury Band, of which Lance was a member; and later experienced the pride and satisfaction of seeing the return on his investments, as he witnessed Lance’s remarkable accomplishments in the music and entertainment industry.
As if he hadn’t accomplished enough, James was cofounder of the Alexander/Madison Chapter of Kansas City Area Buffalo Soldiers 9th & 10th (Horse) Cavalry. During the 80s and 90s, he was an active presenter of Buffalo Soldiers history in the Kansas City Metro area and beyond, determined to keep the legacy alive in the American consciousness.
James regularly reminisced about attending Seventh Day Adventist Church on Saturday, then Baptist Church on Sunday; the delicious chili he often ate at his father’s restaurant when he was a boy, the loyalty of his military companion, “Footsie” the horse; and later, of hanging out at the historic Green Duck Tavern. He was a devoted father who influenced Lance to be a sharp dresser and regularly took him on road trips to locations such as Silver Dollar City and the US national parks. Until the very end, he was applauding Lance’s musical creations, exclaiming, “Soundin’ good, man!”
He could frequently be heard asking the Lord to forgive his sins, or singing “Dipsy Doodle” and other old Jazz tunes and gospel hymns; and was known for clever quips like, “Not too bad, just one bad” and “A bunch of one beats a bunch of none.”
In addition to Anna, Josie Mae and his parents, James was preceded in death by his brothers, John Kent Alexander and Richard Alexander. He is survived by his son Lance Mark Alexander, sister Beverly Coates, grandchildren Ashley Robinson of Atlanta, GA, Mareya Chanel Alexander and Lance Nikko Myles Alexander of Kansas City, MO; a host of nieces and nephews, fellow Buffalo Soldiers chapter members and friends. He will be greatly missed, but we are thankful for the time we had with him and will forever cherish the mark he left on us all.
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