James Leslie Dilworth
James Leslie Dilworth passed away on the 12th of May, 2020, at the age of 105. He was born on the 27th of January, 1915 in Luling, Texas, to John Marion and Beulah (Hodges) Dilworth. He was preceded in death by his parents, his sister Grace Louise (Dilworth) Huff and his wife Lennah Martha (Bright), to whom he had been married for 62 years at the time of her passing. He is survived by his daughter Leslie Virginia (Ginger) and husband George Sofge, granddaughter Rebecca Lockwood, grandson Wm. John Sofge, three great-grandsons and two great-great granddaughters.
James Leslie grew up in Luling, going to school, helping his father in their feed and grocery stores, and playing up and down the banks of the San Marcos River where he went swimming every month of the year. As a young man, he learned to handle livestock and went to work at the San Antonio Stockyards.
James served in the U.S. Army for four years during WWII. As an enlistee, he was promoted to Sergeant, teaching recruits the basics of weapons use and tank operations. Although he applied for airborne training, he was sent instead to OCS where he graduated as a commissioned officer. From there he was sent to the Philippines to be a part of a Japanese invasion force. Atomic bombs were dropped on Japan while he was in route, so he spent a year at Base M, participating in operations with Hukbalahap guerrillas as they flushed Japanese snipers from mountain hideouts and guarding Japanese prisoners who surrendered.
When James came home in 1946, he went back to work at the San Antonio Stockyards, choosing to use his middle name, Leslie, for business. He spent the next 50 years as a livestock dealer, buying and selling cattle for ranchers and feedlots all over south and west Texas. He also set pen lots and started sale prices at several auctions. He met many unique individuals during his travels to ranches and livestock auctions around the state and had more than his share of odd and sometimes hair-raising encounters. James Leslie used his story-telling skills to bring those characters and experiences to life for family and friends.
James remembered, as well, the many family stories that he heard from his parents and grandparents. He enjoyed sharing those stories with his family, mimicking the voices that he had heard as a child. He was always happiest, though, when he was working on his own place, tending to his cattle herd and making pets of all the calves.
Visitation was held at the O’Bannon Funeral Home in Luling on May 14, 2020. Funeral services were conducted at the Funeral Home Chapel on May 15, 2020 and the eulogy was provided by nephew Ron Colwell. Interment followed at the Luling City Cemetery. Pallbearers were John Sofge, Travis Lockwood, Andrew Lockwood, Grant Lockwood, David Carter and Frank Martinez. Honorary pallbearers were Roger Langford, Nathan Pierce, Kenneth Brown, John Sexton, and Denny Espinoza.
Memorial donations may be made to the Genealogical and Historical Society of Caldwell County at 215 S. Pecan, Luling, any local humane animal shelter, or the charity of one’s choice.
To view and sign the guest book, visit www.post-register.com/james/leslie/dilworth