Jimmie 'J.R.' LeMaster


WACO, Texas -- Jimmie (J.R.) Ray LeMaster, Waco, died Sunday, June 29, 2014, at his residence.

He was born in Pike County, Ohio, to Dennis Samuel and Helen Algina (Smith) LeMaster on March 29, 1934. He attended Camp Creek Township Elementary School before moving to Washington Court House, Ohio, where he attended junior high and high school, moving to New Boston, Ohio, in his final year. He enlisted in the U.S. Navy in 1951, and served four years. Upon being discharged from the Navy, LeMaster moved to Defiance, Ohio, where he worked in an iron foundry and attended classes at Defiance College.

Upon graduation, he taught in local high schools before returning to his alma mater to teach in 1962, having completed a master of arts degree at Bowling Green State University. While working at Defiance College, he received his PhD degree from Bowling Green in 1970. He taught at Defiance College for 15 years before moving his family to Waco to teach at Baylor University in 1977. When he retired from Baylor in 2006, he had taught for 47 years, including two years in Beijing, People's Republic of China.

He was preceded in death by his parents; his wife, Wanda; his son, Lon; brother, Dennis and his wife, Karin; and half brother, Tom McDowell.

He is survived by his two daughters, Lisa and DeNae, as well as his brother, Marvin and his wife, Shirley; half brother, Richard McDowell and his wife, Alice; sister-in-law, Patsy McDowell; and numerous nieces and nephews.

In lieu of flowers, memorial gifts may be made to The Wanda May LeMaster Service Award, c/o Michele Tinker, Defiance College, 701 Clinton St., Defiance, Ohio 43512; email address, mtinker@defiance.edu; phone, 419-783-2303.

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  • To the family of J.R. Lemaster - I came upon this page by accident while Googling some of Dr. Lemaster's works. I am so deeply saddened to hear of this news. He was a wonderful professor and a great friend to me throughout the years (both during and after my time at Baylor). We shared poetry and stories about our lives. I only wish I would have emailed Dr. Lemaster sooner, as it had been a while since we had spoken last. I will truly miss his presence in my life and I want to offer my sincere condolences to his family. I will treasure his memory and honor him by continuing to write every day.

    Clarissa 'Casso' Olivarez     Washington, DC

  • My sincere condolences to Dr. LeMaster's family and friends. It was a privilege to have known him as an older student and on a personal level he will be missed. One fine poet!

    Chuck Downs, Sr      Salt Springs,Florida