Cover photo for James Howard "Jim" Criswell's Obituary
James Howard "Jim" Criswell Profile Photo
1937 James Howard "Jim" 2021

James Howard "Jim" Criswell

October 22, 1937 — January 16, 2021

James Howard “Jim” Criswell, passed away Saturday, January 16, 2021, at Maury Regional Hospital from complications due to Covid-19. He was born on October 22, 1937, to John Henry and Cornelia Criswell and grew up in Lebanon, Tennessee. He is survived by his wife of 64 years, Marynelle Alsup Criswell, and his children John Michael Criswell and Karen Criswell Heard (Stephen). Jim has four grandchildren: Dillon Criswell Heard (Rachel), Charles Jesse Heard (Anna), Gracie Mac Heard and Josie Lynn Heard. After high school, Jim graduated from Lipscomb University and began his career as a department manager for Cain-Sloan (now Dillard’s). In 1967 he was employed by Bell South (now AT&T) and spent most of his career as a public relations manager and rose to the position of Corporate and Community Affairs liaison. He served Bell South in Memphis, Birmingham, Pulaski, and Columbia until his retirement in the year 2000. Jim always had a love for his community, no matter where he lived, and participated in, and was a well-respected member of many organizations such as Rotary Club, Kiwanis, the Chamber of Commerce, Boy Scouts of America, Junior Achievement, Speakers Club, Columbia State Community College Foundation, Leadership Murray, and Murray Vision 2020, serving in various positions in each of these associations. He and his wife have been members of West 7th Street Church of Christ for many years, where he served as a deacon. Jim had a passion for everything in nature and was an avid gardener, hunter, fisherman, birdwatcher, camper and hiker. His adventurous spirit led him to experience tandem sky diving, riding in a hot air balloon and an open cockpit by-plane, and even ziplining. He was an avid reader and an expert carpenter, a great storyteller and an even better joke teller. Jim will also be remembered as a prankster with an incredible sense of humor. Known as “Jimbo” by his friends, Jim had the gift of creating circles of friends from every area of his life. Relationships formed through work, service endeavors, church, Bible study groups, men’s morning coffee groups, prayer groups, camping, fishing and the infamous Plum Nellie Cattleman Association, enriched his life with deep friendships. He passed on his sense of humor, work ethic, craftsmanship skills, love of history and birdwatching, and his passion for all things outdoors to his children and grandchildren. With his wife he shared a lifetime of memories made together through corporate moves, children, grandchildren, travels, camping, gardening, and the making of friends. The family will visit with friends, Saturday, January 23 from 10:00 AM-12:00 at West 7th Street, Church of Christ, 405 West Seventh Street, Columbia, Tennessee. A Celebration of Life will be held at a later date. Oakes & Nichols Funeral Directors are assisting the family with arrangements In lieu of flowers please consider a donation to the Columbia Boys and Girls Club of America or to the following funds through West 7th Street Church of Christ: The Eluru Mission Fund, which supports The India Agape Orphanage, or the Honor Fund. Condolences may be extended online at

Service Schedule

Past Services


Saturday, January 23, 2021

10:00am - 12:00 pm (Eastern time)

West 7th Street Church of Christ

405 West 7th Street, Columbia, TN 38401

Get Directions

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.


Visits: 10

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the
Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

Service map data © OpenStreetMap contributors

Send a Gift

Send a Gift