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Mr. James D. LeGrand, 74, On October 13, 1946 God planted a soul seed on earth, in Rockingham, NC. That seed was born to the late Price “Bob” LeGrand and the late Ruth Ella Mae McInnis LeGrand, and they named him James Datus LeGrand, aka “Jay”/ “Jay-D”. This soul seed sprouted up with a divine gift of nutritional substance that fertilized the grounds upon which he walked with every element of The Fruit of the Spirit. Feeding the souls of his family, friends, church, lodge, and community with love, dedication, example, knowledge, wisdom, wit, laughter, and joy.
Jay began his educational journey at Ashley Chapel Elementary School in Rockingham, NC, and graduated from Leak Street High School where he flourished academically and socially, amidst segregation and disparities. He served as a school bus driver, chorus member, and an outstanding baseball and basketball star. His basketball jersey #3 was retired.
Jay furthered his academic journey at Fayetteville State University on a baseball scholarship, pursuing a degree in Physical Education. There he met and married Dannie Monroe, whom he loved dearly. To their union they were blessed with a daughter, Tammie. After the passing of Dannie and unborn child in a car accident, God sent his wife Brenda to love him and his daughter as her own. God later blessed them with a daughter, Tonya, born from their hearts. After many awaited years two blessed promises were born, Marcus and Crystal. Their marriage remained happy and fulfilled for 47 years.
Jay lived his life for his wife and kid's happiness and wellbeing. He supported each of his kid's endeavors; actively present at every event and achievement. When his wife was called into the ministry, he proudly took a supportive front pew seat. His grandchildren and god-grands were the joy of Papa’s life, as he was affectionately called.
Jay continuously supported and impacted his community throughout his lifetime. Jay held several offices at St. Paul Masonic Lodge of Laurinburg #12/32 and was a member of Oasis Shrine Temple of Roanoke Rapids, NC. He was a revered mentor and father figure to many, affectionately known as "Mr. Jay". In his early adult years, he established and coached a parks and recreation girls’ softball team in Wagram, NC for his daughters and youth in the community; with his wife as the scorekeeper. He loved sports and played softball and golf for both Ingram and Abbott Laboratory’s teams in Laurinburg, NC. He also served as a high-scorer on several bowling leagues, including a team with his wife and daughters. He played on two community baseball leagues in Laurinburg, NC where he was known for skillfully stealing bases and the ability to play every infield position. He later served as a referee for a basketball league in SC. He was an avid golf player and looked forward to playing in the Leak Street Alumni Golf Tournaments.
Working in Quality Control at Toastmasters (formally Ingram, McGraw) and Materials Handling at Abbott Laboratories, both in Laurinburg, NC, Jay retired after 30+ cumulative years of exemplary service, leadership, and work ethics. In his retired years, after a heart attack and stroke, he still continued to support his family endeavors faithfully. As well as supported families within the community by picking up their kids from school, providing meals and transportation. If you need, he would lend without hesitation (tools, car, lawnmower, a helping hand). You could find him riding his lawnmower throughout the community cutting yards voluntarily. Working in the yard was a passion in which he was very meticulous.
Jay’s spiritual foundation was established at childhood through his parents and membership at Ashley Chapel AME Zion Church in Rockingham, NC where he remained a faithful member throughout his life. His life’s journey filled with joys, challenges, setbacks, and victories built his personal walk and relationship with Christ and sustained his faith. He was very knowledgeable of the word and had a divine wisdom and insight.
It was this insight that allowed him to know it was well with his soul, when on October 15, 2020; 12:45am at the Reid Heart Center in Southern Pines, NC, God saw that the soul seed he planted 74 years ago had fulfilled his purpose and was fully ripe; ready for a heavenly harvest. Thus, he plucked the soul seed and sat him at the harvest table of thanksgiving with beloved family that preceded him and said, “Well done my good and faithful servant. Sup with us at the harvest table and reap the reward of ETERNAL LIFE!” Ecclesiastes 3:1-2(KJV)
Jay was preceded in death by his parents, Price and Ruth LeGrand; late wife Dannie Monroe; his sisters, Dorothy Gibson and Cassie Elmira Decatur; His legacy lives on through his wife Brenda LeGrand; children, Tammie LeGrand Cook (Reggie) of Charlotte NC; Tonya Benton Hawkins (Virgil) of Bryan, TX; Marcus James LeGrand (Ramona) of Greenville, NC; Crystal Danielle LeGrand of Rockingham, NC; grandchildren, Bryce and Aria; Shimecca, Janya, Jamerium, Uriah, Devon, and Demarrie; siblings, Lucille Williams of Ellenwood, GA; Wanda Johnson of Capitol Heights, MD; Charles E. LeGrand (Thomascena) of Durham, NC; and Rachel Jackson (Artis) of Forestville, MD; and a host of, in-laws, godchildren, god-grands, nieces, nephews, family and friends.
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