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James Turner Shinal

Date of Birth:

Date of Death:

Place of Birth:

Oct 26, 1924

Lyon, MS, USA



Mother's Name:

Sarah Calli

Father's Name:

James Barksdale

# of Children

# of Grandkids

# of GreatGrands

# of GreatGreats

Religious / Spiritual



Languages Spoken

African American


Continents Visited

North America

Hobby / Interest


Certifications / Designations


Meet Mrs. Shinal, a remarkable woman with a story that captures the essence of resilience, love, and a life well-lived. Born and raised in Lyon, Mississippi, as one of eight children, she is now the last living relative in her family tree, a living testament to a bygone era.

Life was not always kind to Mrs. Shinal. After her parents' separation, she faced the harsh reality of moving between plantations, a journey marked by struggle and survival. Yet, amidst the hardships, there was a beacon of hope when her uncle took her in, offering her a chance to assist her aunt with braille—a skill that would leave a lasting impression on her.

The South held fond memories for Mrs. Shinal, especially her love for baseball, which provided a brief respite from her daily challenges. Though her formal education was limited, her determination to make a living led her to various jobs, from cooking and cleaning to ironing, doing laundry, and picking cotton on plantations.

Fate had a special plan for Mrs. Shinal when she met the love of her life, James Turner Shinal. Their wedding day, December 7, 1941, was overshadowed by the tragic attack on Pearl Harbor, yet their love story prevailed. Married for 33 years until JT's passing, their union brought forth five children—three daughters and two sons, though heartbreakingly, one passed away due to unknown causes.

Mrs. Shinal's family was her everything. Her devotion to them was unparalleled, and she nurtured them with love and the true essence of soul food, living as a proud vegetarian. Her culinary talents extended beyond her family, as she often prepared meals for teachers at various schools, a gesture that showcased her generosity and care for her community.

Despite the challenges she faced, Mrs. Shinal never lost her desire for a better education. Her final wish reflects her lifelong commitment to growth and learning. Today, as she shares her memories and legacy, we are honored to listen and learn from her incredible journey on this wonderful earth. Mrs. Shinal's story is not just a recount of the past; it is a celebration of a life well-lived, a legacy of love, perseverance, and unwavering strength.

Last Interviewed:

August 31, 2018 at 4:30:00 PM

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