He was born Feb. 9, 1933, in Seminole, Okla., to parents Roy and Arminta Zink.
His father worked for National Supply, which transferred the family to Hays, Kan., where James attended elementary school. The family was then transferred to Tulsa, Okla., where he graduated from Will Rodgers High School in 1951. He completed his bachelor of arts degree in three years at Harding University in Searcy, Ark., then stayed another year to complete his master's degree and court his future wife, Glenda Givens, who he married June 9, 1955, in Big Sandy, Texas.
The couple moved to Philadelphia where James served as associate minister for the 56th & Warrington Street Church of Christ. He also served as interim minister for the North Philadelphia Church of Christ and attended Crozer Theological Seminary, receiving his bachelor of divinity degree in 1958.
The couple then moved to Durham, N.C., where James studied for his Ph.D. at Duke University for two years. Having won a grant to do private study at the Oriental School of Research in Jerusalem, Jordan, he researched his doctoral thesis, "Use of the Old Testament in the Apocrypha" -- 14 books of the Septuagint (LXX) included in the Vulgate (Catholic Bible) not considered canonical by Protestants.
James taught Old Testament studies at Harding Graduate School of Theology in Memphis, Tenn., in 1978 for five years, then taught Old Testament studies to undergraduates at Harding University in Searcy for two years.
Changing his focus to librarianship, he was granted a full-ride scholarship at the University of Chicago School of Library Science completing the MLS in 1969. He then taught library science at the University of Texas in Austin, Texas. Deciding that he needed practical experience, he served as assistant director for public services at the University of Oklahoma in Norman, Okla. Later he was promoted to library director there.
Lured by the prospect of combining his interests, the family moved to Nashville, Tenn., where James was employed as director of the theological library at Vanderbilt University with plans to build a new theological library to replace an obviously inadequate one. Six months into his tenure, all plans for the new facility were canceled.
In 1979, James moved the family to Cape Girardeau, where he served as full professor and library director for Southeast Missouri State University for 19 years, retiring in 1998.
He is survived by his wife, Glenda Zink of Cape Girardeau; two daughters, Laura (Todd) Davidson of Union, Mo., and Karla (Craig) Sylvester of Eustis, Fla.; a son, Kevin Zink of Leadville, Colo.; five grandsons, Rhys, Seth, Stearns, Rhet and Reid; and a brother, Donald (Priscilla) Zink of Evergreen, Colo.
A memorial service will be held at 10 a.m. Tuesday at Abbey Road Christian Church, with the Rev. Rodger Kiepe officiating.
Memorial contributions may be given to Abbey Road Christian Church or the Alzheimer's Association.
Ford and Sons Funeral Home in charge of arrangements.
Online condolences may be made at www.fordandsonsfuneralhome.com.