Cover photo for James A. McNair's Obituary
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1937 James 2023

James A. McNair

November 3, 1937 — March 31, 2023

El Paso

Command Sergeant Major (CSM) (ret) James A. McNair, devoted husband to Esther Greene McNair (deceased); beloved father, grandfather and great grandfather; decorated veteran; cherished friend and admired mentor, passed away in El Paso, Texas, on March 31, 2023. James McNair was born the 11th child of James and Mary Magee McNair on their 100+ acre family farm in Mt. Olive, Mississippi. He attended Linwood Elementary School and later graduated at the top of his class from Lincoln High School, Mt. Olive, MS. He and his siblings would work on the farm early morning before heading off to school each day. In high school, he began his lifelong dedication to service. He drove a school bus to help ensure other students got to and from school safely. He then graduated from high school early and entered the United States Army. CSM McNair served in the US Army for 30 years. His assignments included duty in Ft. Bliss, Texas, Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland, Alaska, Europe and Korea. He received many commendations, medals and awards, including the Meritorious Service Medal and the Legion of Merit Medal. He retired in 1985 and was recognized on the floor of the United States House of Representatives for his distinguished service, saying “His outstanding service to his country will long be remembered by his fellow soldiers and greatly appreciated by his fellow Americans.” After military retirement, he worked in Civil Service for the US Army at Fort Bliss, Texas until he retired again in 2004. He then served the Texas Department of the American Legion in many roles, including Texas Department Commander and Trustee. He was an advocate for increased membership, soldier and veteran education, female service members and veterans rights. His motto was “Results Count.” In appreciation of his contributions to the local community, in 2008 the Mayor and City Council of El Paso Texas proclaimed that September 20th shall be known as “James A. McNair Day.” He was preceded in death by his wife of 46 years, Esther Greene McNair, his son Tyrone Greene McNair, his parents and his 10 siblings: Costee, Sr. (Johnnie Lee), Mertis C., Johnnie Mae McNair Barnes (Ervin, Sr.), Geneva McNair Bacot, R. P. McNair (Elizabeth), Alfred Earl “Terrell”, Sr. (Irma), Zella D. “Dull” McNair Weathersby (Arties), Eugene “Nick” (Laura), Governor “Bone” and Willine McNair Ward (Eugene “Harry”). He is survived by his children, Reverend Dr. Christopher McNair (Lisa), Minneapolis, Minnesota,  LTC (ret) James T. McNair (Corinne), Vilseck, Germany, Mr. Kerry McNair (Wendy) Atlanta, Georgia,  Mrs. Valerie Hill (Edward), Austin, Texas, and Janise McNair Dagins, Ph.D., (Clarence), Gainesville, Florida, two sisters-in-law: Irma McNair, Ocean Springs, Mississippi, and Laura McNair, Collins, Mississippi, his 15 grandchildren, 1 great grandchild, and a host of nieces, nephews, cousins and friends. Visitation will be held on Thursday, April 20, 2023, from 4pm - 8pm at Sunset Funeral home at 4631 Hondo Pass, El Paso, TX 79904. Funeral services will be held on Friday, April 21, 2023, at 11am at Hope Chapel, 2498 Ricker Road, Fort Bliss, TX 79906. Burial with military honors will follow at 1:30pm at Fort Bliss National Cemetery.  Services entrusted to Sunset Funeral Homes-Northeast.  Please visit his online memorial at

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Service Schedule

Past Services


Thursday, April 20, 2023

4:00 - 8:00pm (Mountain time)

Sunset Funeral Homes - Northeast

4631 Hondo Pass, El Paso, TX 79904


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Funeral Service

Friday, April 21, 2023

11:00am - 1:00pm (Mountain time)

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Committal Service

Friday, April 21, 2023

1:30 - 2:00pm (Mountain time)

Fort Bliss National Cemetery

5200 Fred Wilson Ave, El Paso, TX 79906

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