Jimmy Nokes

He made it to the New Year.

Jimmy Nokes died Saturday, January 1, 2022. This is fitting because this year nor the world will never be quite be the same without Jimmy Nokes.

i didn’t really know him until high school. i knew who he was. i played Little League baseball on his father’s Noke’s Sporting Goods team. He was on the team. But it was a long time ago.

i have a dim recollection of my father making a comment that flew over my head about Nokes, out way too late for a grade schooler, running away from some trouble through the hole in our backyard fence, not realizing the top strand of the wire fence was still intact and taking a knockdown whack. Nokes later told me how he was amazed my father laughed, sent him on his way, and didn’t report his foray to Mister Nokes.

i saw Nokes a lot at his father’s store up at the top of East Main where i bought everything related to sports: my Rawlings infield glove i wore from Little League until it was so worn (and comfortable) it fell off my hand in one of my last high school games, my Nellie Fox 32″ inch bat with the thick handle.

Then, in high school, Nokes and my best friend Henry Harding began to hang around together. The three of us began to spend some time together. It grew.

After high school, Nokes (heck, i don’t remember every calling him “Jim” or “Jimmy”), Fox (nee Charles) Dedman, Henry, and i began to play golf, redneck style, at Hunter’s Point Golf Course when it opened as the first public course in Lebanon.

The par 5 fifth hole (i think) ran across the back of the course, bounded by a barbed wire fence separating the course from a cow pasture. There was a small pond, a water hazard in front of the tee box that required the drive to travel about 75 yards to clear. Every time we played from the beginning until one day several months down the road, Nokes would top his drive into the hazard.

Then one day, he got to the tee, took a mighty swing and sliced the ball over the pond. Nokes was jubilant at getting over the pond. But his drive was a hard, low slice. As his immediate celebration subsided, he watched his drive hit a fence post and recoil into the damnable pond.

The four of us and a couple of others (Eddie Callis i remember as joining us) would go out to Nokes’ house on Old Hickory Lake, mostly on Saturday nights. We played penny ante pokers for hours. Crazy stuff, like Mexican Sweat and those games that had about forty wild cards. i will have to ask Henry about the names of the games. i forgot. Nokes always claimed i was the big winner because one night i won the last silly game for probably five dollars.

And then i left. We didn’t really keep in touch, even though we met at a couple of Lebanon High School Class of ’62 reunions, notably the 50th. Then, we really got back together through email, my columns, and my posts.

Nokes read of my wife falling in love with Vidalia onions during my last operational tour on USS Yosemite homeported in Mayport (Jacksonville), Florida. Living south of Atlanta, Nokes sent a crate of Vidalia onions to us in the Southwest corner.

In another post or column, i mentioned how proud i was to be an adopted member of the LHS ’62 class but wished i had an annual in order to associate photos and names of class members. Nokes sent me his annual.

Gregarious. Full of life. Laughing. Boisterous. Caring. Nokes.

They don’t make many like Jimmy Nokes.

i will miss him.

Much of this is contained in an earlier post: https://jimjewell.com/a-pocket-of-resistance/dark-side-of-three/#comments

Rest in Peace, my friend.


7 thoughts on “Jimmy Nokes

  1. Terry Jean Atkinson Harris does not do facebook or email(I don’t think). How could she get anything written by you regarding jimmy and the family? I would appreciate it also. Thank you.

  2. Jimmy was such a fun gent. I enjoyed my visits with his sister Lynn & the entire Nokes family. They sure had an open door policy to Cumberland students. Many fond memories of Jimmy.

  3. I did not know “little Jimmy” like I did his precious father. Every summer when school was out we would walk up to the East Main Store and I would get a new bike that my grandmother would purchase. He was a precious, precious man and I know his son had to be the same. Prayers for his family and all whose lives he touched.

  4. Sorry to hear of his passing. I didn’t know Jimmy Nokes Jr. since I graduated fromCastle Heights in 1960. As you describe him, he must have been a lot like his father who was a good friend of my grandfather, Peter Keatts, an avid fisherman who died in 1957 and loved to visit the sporting goods store which was always full of laughter. I was also stationed at Mayport as ships company on the USS Saratoga, but left the Navy for law school in 1972. I did know Jimmy’s sister, Lynn Nokes who was also a very personable member of the Nokes family. I last heard she was living in Mexico and wonder what happened to her after that.

  5. As a member of the class of 63 at Heights, I knew Nokes, and all of the guys on that football team. Jim was always wearing that warm smile and had a big laugh. He was one of the first people I saw at our 50th reunion.

  6. Jimmy was always so polite to me and told me I was kind. He was a good friend in high school RIP Jimmy.

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