James Thomas Portis was born in Yantley, Alabama on January 15, 1958 to the late Thomas James Portis, who preceded him in death and Marie Portis. He accepted Christ at an early age and began on a path of devoting his skills and efforts to serve the Lord.
Upon graduating high school with a scholarship in Agro-Business, James graduated from Alabama A & M University in Huntsville, AL. with a B. S. Degree. As a vibrant young man filled with dreams and aspiration, in 1981 he started his career in Coosa County. Soon after, he continued educating Choctaw County High School for two years. James love for education transferred to Sumter County at York West End Jr. High. As an Educator a Coach and a father-like figure to many, he taught and served for 29 years. While working as an Educator, he also found time to hold the office as President of York Credit Union. In 2014, he was granted the privilege to retire from Education, leaving time to spend with his family and church members.
James married the love of his life, Mrs. Elaine Portis, and they resided in Yantley, Alabama where this union blessed them with one son; Nichlous Portis. They remained in Holy matrimony for 21 years.
James devoted his life to Masonry. He was a faithful member of Grove Lodge #89, where he served as Worshipful Master. He was also a member of the following lodges: Edward Pride Holy Royal Arch 95 A, Royal and Select Masters, Garfield Richardson #3, Charter Member of Glenn and Campbell Commandery #43, Brookins Chapter 166 Order of Eastern Star, where he served as Worthy Patron and Abraham Consistory 257.
He leaves to cherish his memories, a loving wife, Elaine Portis; his mother, Marie Portis of Yantley, AL; his daughter, Dr. Jasmine Gaines of New Orleans, LA; his son, Nichlous Portis of Yantley, AL; one sister, Lillie (Bobby) Naylor of Jackson, MS; three brothers; Thomas Earl (Dana) Portis of Indianapolis, IN; Ricky Portis and Lee Marvin (Donna) Portis both of Yantley, AL; two sister-in-law; Diane (Donald) Johnson of Montgomery, AL and Traci (Dwain) Lewis of Equality, AL; Two brother-in-laws; Sylvester Gilbert of Alexander City, AL; Christopher (Jamaillah) Gilbert of Tallahassee, AL. He also leaves a host of aunts and uncles, nieces, nephews, cousins and friends.