James Ellwood McCright was born October 6, 1943, in Walker, Iowa, to Merle (Wright) McCright and Charles Arthur McCright, Troy Mills, Iowa. Jim was the second oldest of seven children-Connie Butterfield, James, Shari Kuhn, Jerry, Terrie Johnson (Dick), and Doug (Debbie). He was preceded in death by his infant son James, and infant sister Debra.
Jim attended Troy Mills School. He was an excellent athlete who caught for the baseball team and played basketball for his school. He graduated in 1962.
In the fall of 1962, he enrolled in the University of Northern Iowa in Cedar Falls. He majored in physical education and biology, earning a teaching degree. Jim worked his way through school, graduating in January of 1968.
Jim met his bride-to-be, Connie Rae Gray, in the fall of 1964 on campus. He and Connie dated for two years and were married November 5, 1966, in “The Little Brown Church” in Nashua, Iowa. They lost an infant son, Jamie, during their first year of marriage. They later welcomed two more sons. Matthew James was born January 3, 1970, just before Jim was discharged from the army in February. Clinton James was born March 16, 1976. Matthew and his wife Mya live in Athens, Texas. Matt has three sons. David and his wife Kristina live in Ontario, Canada; Alex lives in Yukon, Oklahoma; and Eric lives in Yukon, Oklahoma. Clint lives in Oklahoma City.
Following graduation from UNI, Jim was inducted into the Army on February 21, 1968. He did his basic training at Fort Bliss, Texas. Following basic he was transferred to Fort Bragg, North Carolina, where he served as personnel specialist/personnel clerk for the 573rd Personnel Service Company, processing between 500-600 soldiers returning from overseas each day. Jim was promoted to Specialist E5 less than a year after being inducted. This was rare for a soldier who was not in a combat zone. Jim was honorably discharged at the rank of E5 on February 20, 1970. Specialist McCright received the Army Commendation Medal for Meritorious service while stationed at Fort Bragg.
Jim enlisted in the Army Reserves in Waterloo, Iowa, serving two years before transferring to Fort Selling, Minneapolis, Minnesota, where he served as personnel service specialist. He was honorably discharged at the rank of E6 from the Army Reserves April 29, 1981, having served a total of eight years in the reserves.
Jim taught junior high science at Postville, Iowa, from 1970-1973. He also coached varsity girls’ basketball and junior high track and junior high football.
He became an insurance agent for Farm Bureau in 1973 in Waterloo, Iowa, and then was promoted to agency manager in Cresco, Iowa, for five years.
Following acceptance to Law School at Oklahoma City University, Jim, Connie, and the boys moved to Oklahoma City in 1980. While in law school Jim began coaching little league baseball. He continued coaching during his time in law school, while working at Oklahoma State University, and as an attorney. He coached both his boys’ teams and many other teams for over 40 years. He said this was his mission-to teach them discipline, good sportsmanship, and respect for others.
Jim began practicing law in 1983 and was still at it 40 years later. During this time Oklahoma State University hired Jim as their Risk Management Specialist in 1989. He worked for the University for three years before deciding to concentrate on his law practice and coaching baseball.
Jim and Connie were Missouri Synod Lutherans nearly all their married life. They have been members of Immanuel Lutheran Church since 1980.
Jim and Connie were avid OSU fans. They held season tickets for wrestling and baseball for 41 years. Only Jim’s health problems kept them from renewing their tickets this last season. Once a Cowboy, always a Cowboy.
Beginning in September, Jim was a patient in the VA Hospital in Oklahoma City for over nine weeks. He and Connie celebrated their 57th wedding anniversary on November 5, 2023. Jim went to be with his Savior on November 6, 2023.