In Memory of




Obituary for James Byron Lair

James Byron Lair, 96, of Canyon, entered the arms of the Lord on June 12, 2023. Memorial services will be at 11:00 A.M. on Friday, June 23, 2023 at South Georgia Baptist Church with Karen Wells and Austin Hicks officiating. Inurnment will follow at Llano Cemetery.

James was born on February 28, 1927 in Canyon to Thomas and Gladys (Avent) Lair and was raised on a dairy north of Canyon. He was a 1945 graduate of Canyon High School and entered the U.S. Navy that same year. He served until 1949 when he was honorably discharged. He married Ruby Tarbox in 1952 and received his BS degree from West Texas State University in 1953. God blessed him and Ruby with three children, Matt in 1953, Phil in 1955, and Nancy in 1956.

James taught school in Vega and then worked as a health inspector for the City of Amarillo and City of Borger. In 1959, they moved to Spearman where they farmed and ranched in Ochiltree County until the early 1990’s. He was a faithful member of First Methodist Church of Spearman for 63 years.

Ruby preceded James in death in 1986, after 34 years of marriage. He later met Margaret Swinney while she was giving free square dance lessons, and they married in 1990. They continued square dancing and loved traveling and playing dominoes and cards. After retirement they moved to Amarillo and he and Margaret attended South Georgia Baptist Church. They were married for 31 years before she preceded him in death in 2021.

James was a 32nd degree Mason since 1953 and was an active member of Gideons, traveling the panhandle and distributing Bibles and literature.

James was also preceded in death by four brothers, one sister, and two children, Nancy, and Phil.

Survivors include one son, Matt Lair and wife, Karen of Whitney, TX; daughter-in-law, Shelli Lair of Las Vegas; stepdaughters, Susan Swisher of Hannibal, MO and Norma Martin and husband, Larry of Canadian; 5 grandchildren; 9 great grandchildren; 6 step-grandchildren and 12 step-great grandchildren that he loved as his own; and many special nieces and nephews who were regular visitors, shoppers, drivers, and faithful companions.