James Oliver “Jimmy” Cranford, 86, longtime resident of Woods Circle, died Friday, February 21, 2020, at Life Care Center of Columbia. Funeral services will be conducted at 11 a.m. Tuesday, February 25, 2020, at Riverside United Methodist Church, 313 6th Ave, Columbia, TN 38401, with Reverend James Norton and Reverend Tommy Vann officiating. Burial will follow in Polk Memorial Gardens. The family will visit with friends 3 p.m. – 7 p.m. Monday at Oakes & Nichols Funeral Home and 10 a.m. – 11 a.m. at the church. Memorials can be made to Riverside United Methodist Church, P.O. Box 392 Columbia, Tennessee 38402. Condolences may be extended online at www.oakesandnichols.com. Born June 14, 1933, in Maury County, he was the son of the late James Latta Cranford and the late Eleanor Katherine Sowell Cranford. Mr. Cranford was a 1951 graduate of Columbia Central High School, went on to attend Middle Tennessee College where he earned his B. S. degree in Manual Arts and his master’s degree in Education. He earned his Plus 45 from George Peabody College. While attending Middle Tennessee College, Mr. Cranford was a member of the ROTC Program. Mr. Cranford served as First Lieutenant in the United States Army from 1955 to 1957, where he was stationed in Formosa. While in the Army, Mr. Cranford earned a Meritorious Service Award for his outstanding leadership in his unit. After his service in the Army, Mr. Cranford returned to Tennessee to teach at Columbia Central High School from 1957 to 1963. He then moved to Middle Tennessee State University from 1963 to 1966 where he served as Assistant Dean of Men and Director of Men’s Housing. He then returned to Columbia Central High School, where he taught math and science from 1966 to 1993. Mr. Cranford was a longtime member of Riverside United Methodist Church, where for many years he sang in the choir and was a lay leader. He was a former Kiwanian, advisor of the Key Club at Columbia Central High School, a Wagon Wheeler, and a proud member of the Riverside Rats. Mr. Cranford enjoyed yardwork, wood working, collecting old tools, and participating on the Riverside United Methodist Church softball team. Earlier in life, during the summers he would build houses and work for Cranford Lumber Co. Most of all, he was a loving and devoted husband, father, and grandfather. He is survived by his wife whom he married January 27, 1962, Joyce Howell Cranford of Columbia, TN; daughter, Kathy L. (Lynn) Burns of Lawrenceburg, TN; son, Scott (Amy) Cranford of Franklin, TN; brother, Robert H. “Bobby” (Gaye) Cranford of Tyler, TX; grandchildren, Lynsey (Kinley) Jones of Lawrenceburg, TN, Landon Burns of Lawrenceburg, TN , and Carter Cranford of Franklin, TN; several nieces & nephews, brothers-in-law, Lewis (Mollie) Howell of Clearwater, FL and Sherrell Sturdivant of Aberdeen, MS; special friends, Neal Blair and Dr. Taylor Rayburn. In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by his niece, Cindee Cranford Martin; and sisters-in-law, Rose Frost and Ann Sturdivant. Active pallbearers will include Landon Burns, Carter Cranford, Kinley Jones, Dr. Ken Galloway, Charles Sanders, and Jeff Graham.