Cover photo for James Henry Reading's Obituary
James Henry Reading Profile Photo
1938 James 2024

James Henry Reading

September 24, 1938 — April 10, 2024


James Reading, a beacon of love and selflessness, departed from this world on April 10, 2024, after a valiant battle with an extended illness. Born on September 24, 1938, in Ashford, Alabama, James moved to Dothan at a young age, where he would eventually become a pillar of the community, touching countless lives with his unwavering kindness and infectious friendliness.

James' journey through life was marked by an impressive array of achievements and a ceaseless commitment to growth. A brilliant mind, he was the Valedictorian of Carver High School's class of 1956. His passion for education and knowledge was a constant throughout his life, inspiring many who had the privilege to know him.

After high school, James took to the skies with the US Air Force, serving his country with honor for 22 years. His time as a Vietnam Veteran would shape much of his worldview, instilling a sense of duty and community that he carried with him long after his retirement in 1977. Following his military service, James' voice graced the airwaves as a disk jockey for WTVY FM Radio before he found a second calling with the Dothan Post Office, where he worked diligently for 20 years.

James' dedication to his community was evident in his role as a Dothan City Commissioner for District One, where he served two terms. His first election in 2001 and subsequent reelection in 2009 were testaments to his reputation as a man of integrity and action.

James is survived by his beloved wife of 63 years, Vivian Jackson Reading; by his two sons, Barry Hamilton Reading, Rodney Vaughn Reading, and bonus son, Jim Salter; by his five grandchildren, Daresha Reading, Christine Gordils, Je'Naun Reading, Quardaris Reading, and Jada Reading; his five great grandchildren, Destiny, Trinity, Trey, M.J., and Tristen (Big Boy); his brother in law, Willie Shug (Loretta) Carter; his bonus sisters, Arlane Douglas, Eva Fletcher, Janeria Woodard; by his bonus granddaughter, Sydney Linton; and a handful of cousins, and friends. His family was his heart, and he was theirs.

James had the rare gift of making everyone feel like the most important person in the room. His ability to connect with others was unparalleled, whether it was chatting over the fence with neighbors or solving the world's problems in his garage with friends. He was a man of his word, always there for those in need, and his generous spirit was legendary.

The gardens of Heaven will surely flourish now that James is there, for growing roses was a passion he cultivated with great joy. His love for the outdoors extended to the golf course, where he enjoyed many rounds with the Lunch Bunch, unwinding after a day's work.

As we celebrate James' life, let us remember his love for early mornings, the way he cherished his grandchildren, and his legacy of kindness. In the words of Ralph Waldo Emerson, "To know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded." James Reading embodied this sentiment, leaving an indelible mark on all who knew him.

A celebration of James' extraordinary life will be held at 1 pm on Monday, April 15, 2024, at Greater Beulah Baptist Church, with Rev. Cyla Fleming Harrell officiating. James will receive a hero's farewell as he is laid to rest with full military honors in Sunset Memorial Park. The family will welcome friends and loved ones at the funeral home on Sunday evening, April 14, 2024, from 4-6 pm.

In his memory, let us carry forward the torch of his loving, selfless, and friendly spirit, enriching the lives of others as he so richly enriched ours. James Reading's story does not end here; it continues in the countless lives he has inspired and the community he has so deeply affected. His was a life truly well-lived.

Sunset Memorial Park Funeral Home (334) 983-6604

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of James Henry Reading, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services

4-6 pm Visitation Sunday Sunset Chapel

Sunday, April 14, 2024

4:00 - 6:00 pm (Central time)

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1 pm Monday Funeral Service Greater Beulah Baptist Church

Monday, April 15, 2024

1:00 - 2:00 pm (Central time)

Greater Beulah Baptist Church

254 Headland Avenue, Dothan, AL 36303

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Military honors & Burial in Sunset Memorial Park Cemetery

Monday, April 15, 2024

2:30 - 3:30 pm (Central time)

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