James "Jim" Sibley '50 August 9, 2022 3:46 PM updated: August 9, 2022 3:57 PM
James Scarborough (Jim) Sibley
February 20, 1930 ~ July 3, 2022
James Scarborough (“Jim”) Sibley, a retired colonel for the U.S. Army, died on July 3 in Euless, Texas. He was 92.
Jim was born on Feb. 20, 1930, in Sardis, Texas, the oldest of four children born to Fred Scarborough Sibley and Gladys Nell (Middleton) Sibley. He attended schools in Ellis County, Texas, at Mountain Peak, Sardis, Garrett, Midlothian and Waxahachie, graduating from Waxahachie High School in 1946.
Jim proceeded to earn an Associate of Science degree from North Texas Agricultural College (now the University of Texas at Arlington) in 1948. He then transferred to Texas A&M to study electrical engineering, but he had to withdraw after just one semester due to lack of funds.
In 1949, Jim received an appointment to the United States Military Academy in West Point, N.Y. He attended there from 1949 to 1953, graduating with a Bachelor of Science. He ranked 12th in his class of 512. While at West Point, Jim achieved notoriety as a collegiate gymnast specializing in the side horse.
Jim received a regular commission as a lieutenant in the U.S. Army as an engineer in 1953. Over his 30-year military career, he advanced to the rank of colonel and was deployed overseas on three occasions, first to Korea (1954-55) and then twice to Vietnam (1965-66, 1969-70).
Jim later said that during these deployments, his inspiration “always came from God. Whatever you do and wherever you do it, God is there. Belief and faith are very, very important aspects of every person’s life.”
Jim received a master’s degree in civil engineering from the California Institute of Technology in 1957, and he later returned to West Point to be a mathematics instructor. He also served as an assistant to the dean of the academic board at the Academy. Jim’s military career is part of an ongoing family legacy of military service that includes his father-in-law, Francis Deisher (lieutenant colonel, U.S. Army); his brother Mac (sergeant, U.S. Army); his sons Wayne (staff sergeant, U.S. Air Force) and Steve (captain, U.S. Army); and his grandchildren David (captain, U.S. Army) and Brooke (E4, U.S. National Guard).
After concluding his military service in 1979, Jim retired to Midlothian, Texas. Once his youngest son graduated college in 1990, Jim began participating in the Foreign Exchange Student Program, ultimately hosting a total of 39 students over the following two decades from Europe, Japan and Hong Kong.
In his retirement, Jim also served as a Sunday school teacher at First United Methodist Church in Midlothian, secretary-treasurer for the Sardis Cemetery Association, a board member for the Sardis Lone Elm Water System, and a member of the school board in Midlothian. He also tutored many local area students in math, and he did volunteer work, performing small repairs for homebound seniors.
Jim was preceded in death by his wife Nancy in 1975, and his brother Dale in 2017. He is survived by his brothers Wayne and Mac and their families; his five sons, Wayne, Charles, Steve (and wife Lynnette), Jim (and wife Paula) and Ken (and wife Kim); nine grandchildren; and four great-grandchildren, along with numerous cousins, nieces and nephews.
A celebration of Jim’s life will be held on Friday, July 22, at 2:00 p.m. at First United Methodist Church Midlothian, 800 S Ninth St., Midlothian, TX 76065.