James was born on December 6, 1966 in Dade City, Florida to Willie Mae Matthews. His mother, Willie Mae Matthews preceded him in death. James was reared by is stepfather, Willie James Matthews who has also preceded him in death. James attended the Pasco County School System. In 1985, he graduated from Pasco Comprehensive High School in Dade City. As a student and athlete at Pasco Comprehensive High School, he excelled both academically and athletically. He was an all-around athlete in football, baseball, basketball and track. James excelled in all sports, which earned him many awards and recognitions around the state and nation. James went on to further his academics and athletic opportunities at the University of South Dakota. While at the University of Dakota, James demonstrated his athletic abilities at the highest level in university history. On August 31, 1987, James went on to receive recognition in the Sports Illustrated Magazine for his outstanding performance on the football field while attending the University of South Dakota. After three years at the University of South Dakota, James made the decision to leave college and join the United States Army. During his military career, he was deployed to several states and countries servicing as military police. James received an honorable discharge from the United States Army in 1992. After leaving the United States Army, he started working at Walmart Distribution Center and Rooms to Go Warehouse. After many years of working at Rooms to Go Warehouse, James retired early due to his declining health. After an extensive period in the hospital, James ultimately passed away on March 4, 2020 due to complications with his health at James A. Haley Veterans Hospital in Tampa, Florida. He leaves to cherish his memories: 2 daughters, Shevera Westfield of, Warnerrobins, GA and Quietta O’Neal of Dade City, FL; 3 sons, James Hambrick Jr. of Tampa, FL, Donte O’Neal of North Dakota and Jacolby O’Neal of Dade City, FL; 1 granddaughter, Harmony Mays; 1 grandson, King Mays; 4 sisters, Mary A. Lisbon (Isaiah), Sharlene Matthews (Aquilla), Patricia Matthews, Eugenia Walker (Robert) all of Dade City, FL; 2 brothers, Michael Hambrick (Michelle) of Elk Grove, California and Johnny Taylor (Sabrina) of Lacoochee, FL; His extended family of siblings are Willie Jean Devlin, Gloria Matthews, Stuart Matthews, David Matthews, Bernard Matthews, Gerald Matthews and Joan Shaw (Deceased); James had 4 dedicated and loving friends, Bruce Sheppard, Charlie McKnight, Darrell Bullocks and Mike Morran (College Roommate) who continued to encourage him through his illness.
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