James Benjamin Ezell Jr., 86, of Benton, died Aug. 22, 2014. He was born June 9, 1928, in Gorgas, Ala., to James Benjamin Ezell and Lucille Hurn Ezell.
He graduated from the University of North Alabama in Florence, Ala., in 1951 with a degree in chemistry, biology, and psychology, and worked for Reynolds Metals in Sheffield, Ala., for two years before serving in the U.S. Army during the Korean War.
Afterwards, he resumed his work with Reynolds in their Research and Development Department, and was transferred to Bauxite, Arkansas, in 1956, where for the next 28 years he served as Director of Reynoldsâ€™ Research Analytical Laboratory. He also travelled extensively to assist with the operation of Reynoldsâ€™ overseas mining and geological laboratories. He represented the United States at numerous international scientific meetings and conferences.
In 1984, he retired from Reynolds and for the next three decades worked as a substance abuse counselor in a variety of in-patient and out-patient settings. He originated a group known as â€śStarting Point,â€ť which continues today under the direction of others who have been helped by that work. He was so devoted to helping others that he made himself available day and night to anyone needing assistance, encouragement, or support.
He was preceded in death by his parents and two sisters, Charlene Ezell Elkins and Frances Ezell Patterson, and a niece, Nancy Elkins Ritter.
He is survived by his wife of 65 years, Mayrose Dison Ezell; son, James Benjamin Ezell III of Benton; daughter and son-in-law, Teressa Rose Ezell and Russell E. Murphy of St. Louis, Missouri; grandchildren: Sean Murphy (Laura) of Boise, Idaho, Matthew Murphy (Cynthia) of New York City, Michael Murphy of San Jose, California, Sara Murphy-Lowe (Ryan Lowe) of Stillwater, Oklahoma, Gabriel Murphy of St. Louis, Raphael Murphy, U.S. Marine Corp., Anna Ezell Murphy of St. Louis and John Francis Murphy of St. Louis; three great-grandchildren: Finn Murphy, Eden Henry Murphy, and Miles Eliot Lowe; niece, Patsy Patterson Gay (Jerry) and nephew James Patterson, Jr. (Sallie). He was a member of Highway Church of Christ in Benton.
Memorial service will be at 10:00 a.m. on Saturday, August 30 at Ashby Funeral Home in Benton.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to Saline Memorial Hospice in Bryant.
On line guest book at www.ashbyfuneralhome.com
Family comments: The family gives special thanks to the staff of Saline Memorial Hospital in Benton and Saline Memorial Hospice House in Bryant.