Jim Messenger, age 86, passed away Friday, October 11, 2013, at the Highland Medical Center in Sparta, Tenn.

Messenger was born in Putnam County on October 12, 1926. He was the son of the departed LeAnn and Salmon Messenger. In his early years, Jim owned and operated shirt factories in Van Buren and White County. These factories were the only source of employment for many of the residents of these counties. Jim and Homer Messenger organized an Upper Cumberland Volleyball team that competed and came in third in the nation.
Messenger turned his love of horses into a full-time career as a Walking Horse Trainer. He showed horses throughout the South, including Tennessee, Kentucky, Florida, Georgia, and Alabama. He attended and exhibited at the Tennessee Walking Horse National Celebration for 50 years.
He was preceded in death by his parents; three brothers Ernest, Bill, and Homer; a beloved sister, Willene Riddle; first wife Bobbie; wife Doris Messenger to whom he was married to for 44 years; and his beloved son, Terry Messenger.
He is survived by his devoted children: son, Bruce Messenger; three daughters, Suzanne and husband Bill Worrell, Sandra and husband Joe Kipp, and Deborah Messenger; daughter-in-law Connie Messenger; seven grandchildren, Dara and Paige Worrell, Melanie (Daryl) Goodwin, Marcie (Stan) Kinnard, Mark Messenger, Felicia and Shane Mitrovich, and Jacob Kipp; great-grandchildren, Natalie and Reagan Goodwin, Laney and Lilly Kinnard.
Funeral services will be held on Thursday, October 17, 2013, at 11:00 am at the Oak Lawn Funeral Chapel in Sparta with burial in Cookeville, Tenn.