James Lee Peach Sr., a beloved husband, father, grandfather, patriot, and esteemed community member, unexpectedly passed away on May 26, 2023, due to complications from surgery. He was born on October 6, 1944, in Nashville, TN, to Elgin and Lillie Mae Peach.
Growing up in Benton County, TN, as one of eight siblings, James experienced the challenges of limited resources firsthand. These circumstances instilled in him a profound understanding of the value of hard work and perseverance. His parents, who worked as farmers and fishermen, imparted in him a strong work ethic and a great love for family. James developed a deep appreciation for the sacrifices made by previous generations, and he dedicated a significant portion of his life and resources to safeguarding the constitutional rights that countless individuals have fought and died for.
Through unwavering determination, James diligently worked his way through college, taking on the humble task of washing dishes to fund his education. His relentless pursuit of knowledge led him to become the first in his family to earn a college degree. He successfully graduated from Murray State University in 1967, earning a degree in Business. James also proudly served his country for six years in the Army National Guard during this time period and beyond.
In the year 1970, James embarked on a fifty-two year long journey of love and companionship when he married his sweetheart, Venetia Karen Malin Peach. Venetia's unwavering support and steadfast presence in his life and business endeavors were a vital part in his countless achievements and successes. Together, they nurtured a beautiful family, blessed with three children: James Lee Peach Jr., and twins Vincent and Angela Peach.
James was renowned as a passionate patriot and a staunch defender of conservative family values. His commitment to these principles led him to proudly serve as a Tennessee State Representative in the 99th assembly. However, much of his impactful work occurred behind the scenes. James played a pivotal role on both the state and local levels, identifying promising conservative candidates, launching their campaigns, and providing unwavering support. His tireless efforts aimed to shape a better world for future generations, leaving an enduring mark on Tennessee's political landscape.
In addition to his remarkable political endeavors, James was widely recognized as a leading authority in the pearl and shell industry. His deep affection for pearls and shells became a lifelong passion, culminating in his establishment of the American Shell Company in the early 1970s. As one of the largest exporter of freshwater mussel shells, his company supplied the vital material used in the production of oyster cultured pearls. James also founded the United States Pearl Company, which at one point stood as one of the nation's largest pearl enterprises. His expertise and dedication solidified his status as a global authority on pearls, specializing in natural pearls as well as cultured pearls.
During his later years, James discovered profound joy in the simplest of life's pleasures. He delighted in the thrill of uncovering hidden treasures during his visits to thrift stores, finding solace in the serene beauty of the Kentucky Lake. But perhaps his greatest source of happiness came from playing an integral role in the lives of his adored grandchildren. James cherished every moment spent with them, nurturing their growth and creating precious memories. It was not uncommon to find him humming or deeply immersed in the soul-stirring melodies of gospel music, which resonated deeply within his heart.
His faith in Jesus Christ inspired his longing for the day when he would reunite with his parents, and siblings who had proceeded him in death. He often spoke of looking forward to “strolling the streets of heaven” with the ones he loved.
James Peach Sr. forged lasting friendships with individuals from all walks of life, establishing an expansive network of cherished friends across the globe. He will be sorely missed by all who loved him.
James leaves behind his wife Venetia Karen Malin Peach, of Nashville, TN, children, James Lee Peach Jr, Vincent Peach and Angela Peach of Nashville, TN, grandchildren, Alexandra Lowery, Lee Peach and Bailey Peach of Nashville TN, Hannah Peach of Toronto Canada, brothers, Milburn Peach, Randy Peach, Jimmie Peach of Camden, TN and sister Linda Peach, of Camden, TN.
James is preceded in death by his father Elgin C. Peach, and Lillie Mae Salyers Peach of Camden, TN, brother Alton and Charles Peach and sister Dorothy Carter, of Camden, TN. Along with many nieces and nephews and extended family members, too many to mention.
A funeral service and visitation to honor and celebrate James's remarkable life will take place on June 6, 2023. The visitation will be held from 12:00 pm to 2:00 pm, followed by a memorial service at 2:00 pm. Both events will take place at the Oakdale Funeral Home in Camden, TN. James will be laid to rest at the Flatwoods Baptist Church Cemetery following the service.