Jim Cliburn

James Robert (Jim) Cliburn, a loving husband, father, Papa, and coach, was taken into the arms of our Loving Savior on August 6, 2017.   Family and friends are invited to come celebrate his life at a memorial service set for 11 a.m. Saturday, August 12, 2017, at First Baptist Church in Bryan. Guests are invited to a catered meal at the church immediately following the service. A graveside interment for his family will follow at Denson Cemetery in Grapeland, Texas.

He was born in Palestine, Texas on June 28th, 1947 to B.C. Cliburn and Wessie Fitchett Cliburn.  After graduating from Grapeland High School, Jim married his high school sweetheart Linda Kay Allen. Upon graduation from the University of North Texas, he coached at Spring Branch Independent School District for seven years, followed by three year stints at both Hardin High School and Hampshire-Fannett High School.  During those years, he and Linda were blessed with two children, Jennifer Kay and Chad Russell. The family moved to Corpus Christi in 1984 where Jim coached football for 30 years at Calallen High School. While there, he positively influenced and impacted the lives of hundreds of players and students by demanding nothing less than excellence while at the same time sharing the love of Jesus Christ.  Jim was named Coach of the Year in District 30 4-A in 1999, becoming the first assistant coach to ever receive the award. He was later recognized for his outstanding contributions to Calallen High School when the school’s weight room was named in his honor.  In 2015 he was inducted into the Coastal Bend Coaches Association Hall of Fame.

After retiring in 2014, Jim and Linda moved to College Station, Texas where he served as a deacon at First Baptist Church, Bryan and was a member of the College Station Noon Lions Club.  During his retirement years, he enjoyed saltwater fishing at the Land Cut, Friday night football games with friends, attending granddaughters’ dance recitals, and throwing the ball with grandson Conoly.

Jim is survived by his wife of 49 years, Linda Cliburn; daughter, Jennifer and her husband Greg Griffin of Sugar Land, Texas; son, Chad and his wife Elizabeth Cliburn of Boerne, Texas; four grandchildren, Bailey (10) and Peyton (7) of Sugar Land, Texas, Eloise (5) and Conoly James (2) of Boerne, Texas; brother, Mike Cliburn of Palestine, Texas; and several brothers and sisters-in-law, nieces, and nephews.

The family would like to acknowledge with appreciation the caring support of the wonderful staffs at MD Anderson Hospital and Hospice Brazos Valley. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that contributions be made in Jim’s memory to MD Anderson Cancer Center at gifts.mdanderson.org, or to Hospice Brazos Valley at 502 W. 26th St., Bryan TX 77803.


  1. Linda, our sincerest sympathy to you and your family for the loss of your husband. May he rest in peace. All our love: Billy & Connie Bird.

  2. Precious Linda Chad Jennifer and family we so appreciated Jim. My boys learned so much from him. Outstanding mentor and wonderful example. Thank you for sharing him with us. We love yall and praying the Lord will bring you comfort.

  3. Mrs. Cliburn my deepest sympathy and condolences to you and your family. Coach Cliburn was great man. He touched and influenced many lives! I owe all my success and values as a coach, teacher, husband, parent and a man. He will be greatly missed and is loved by many!

    Eddie Ramirez

  4. Linda, Jennifer, Chad and family, words simply cannot express my sorrow at your loss. I know from personal experience what you are feeling at this time. Our loss is Heaven’s gain. We grieve for ourselves, but Jim is better now than he ever was in this life. He now rests safely in Heaven where he will receive all the promises of God for a good and faithful servant. We will see him again! Praise the Lord for his perfect love!

  5. Jim Cliburn was one of the finest men I have ever had the privilege and honor to serve with in a church setting. He was a deacon, a friend, and encourager. He seldom spoke during meetings, but when he did, everyone listened. Jim was respected and loved by all because he was real in his faith, firm in his commitments, and true to his word. He once told me that his greatest hope after retirement was to visit people in nursing homes, care for widows, and minister to those facing long-term illness. Though I know that Jim is celebrating in the presence of the Lord, I find a grief in my heart that is difficult to express with words. Praying God’s comfort for Linda, Jennifer, Chad, and family.

  6. To the Cliburn family,

    Cindy and I send our deepest condolences in this time of loss. Coach was a huge figure in my life and the life of so many others. May he rest now in eternal peace.

    Jeff Baxter

  7. Jim was a wonderful man who cared most of all for his family and then his students at CHS. We lost a great man when we lost Jim, his commitment to life , always being the best that he could be on a daily basis set the tone for his students, colleagues and most of all the CHS administrators. His “can do ” positive attitude propelled CHS into the highest level of achievement both in academics & extracurricular activities. It was an honor to work side by side with this educator!

    • Coach Cliburne was the best man you could ever meet, he did what ever it took to bring the best out of me, one thing I will never forget and still use in my life today is,’LEAD FOLLOW OR GET THE HELL OUTOF THE WAY.” He was my Mentor.

  8. My sincerest condolences on the loss of such a wonderful man. It was a pleasure to work with him at Calallen HIgh School as I told you many times when working with you at ESC-2. I pray for peace and comfort for you and your family during this difficult time. He will be missed by many because he was loved by so many.

  9. Linda, Jennifer and Chad, we are all saddened by the loss of Coach. He was such a wonderful man both on and off the field and in and out of the classroom. He was such a wonderful mentor to so many young people in Calallen. He truly worked into these kids hearts and was a true disciple of Christ while doing it. It was a an honor to have known him. He is surely enjoying the realms of heaven now. God be with you all. Be blessed.
    Connie Ripkowski Wright

  10. I count knowing and teaching with Jim as a blessing in my teaching career. He expected much from himself and as much from his students and players. What a positive impact he had on everyone who met him. He was an institution on the Calallen football sidelines as he was in the classroom. His ready smile, his sense of humor and his love of “service above self” endeared him to all who knew him. May God bring his family peace and comfort.

  11. I count knowing and teaching with Jim as a blessing in my teaching career. He expected much from himself and as much from his students and players. He was an institution on the Calallen football sidelines as he was in the classroom. His ready smile, his sense of humor and his love of “service above self” endeared him to all who knew him. May God bring his family peace and comfort.

  12. To the Cliburn family,
    I am so deeply sorry for your loss. Coach Cliburn was such a sweet and caring man to me in high school. My Dad served with him as a deacon at Calallen Baptist and held him in the highest regard. I feel very thankful to have known him and to have witnessed such a good, Godly man with integrity. Sending prayers your way for comfort and peace.

    In Christ,

  13. Dear Linda and family,Frank and Barbara are so sorry for your loss.He was always so nice to every body.He will be missed for a long time. Take care.We love you and will be praying for you and the family. Barbara & Frank Hanson Calallen Baptist church

  14. Linda,Jennifer and Chad,
    God be with you! Coach was not only a fine person but wonderful teacher and friend !
    The football players he coached will never quit quoting him!! He was an clever person and his quick wit made him more loveable!
    He will be missed! My prayers are with you all.
    Love to you all.

  15. Jim was an incredible influence on so many people. His life made a big impact! He was such an encourager. Praying for you guys and trusting God will walk through this with you.

  16. So sorry to hear about Coach’s passing. We miss you in the neighborhood! It’s not the same looking out the front door and not seeing his boat by the house. Praying for comfort for you all!

  17. Coach Cliburn was an amazing, compassionate and very respected man. Throughout my life I can only name two teachers that I felt truly cared about their students, he was one of them. I will keep his family in my thoughts and prayers. He will be greatly missed and never forgotten. Rest in Peace Coach Cliburn.

  18. Linda my deepest sympathy to you, Jennifer, Chad, and family for the loss of Jim. He was a good man, coach and friend. He truly will be missed. May God bless and comfort you all during this sad time.
    Coach (G) Don Gronbach

  19. To the Cliburn family…. Words can never really express the sadness of losing a loved one… Especially a great man as Coach. He was a huge part of our family and we thank the family for sharing Coach with our Calallen families. We will definitely keep your family in prayer & Coach… We will miss you dearly.

  20. My heart aches for you during this time. May sweet memories of Jim temper your heartache and Your faith see you through the grief. Loving thoughts and prayers for you all…

  21. What a wonderful man of faith, Mr. Cliburn. A great mentor and leader who impacted so many. He will be deeply missed until we see him again. Lytles love Cliburns and Griffins, you’re all on our hearts.

  22. I offer you my deepest sympathy in your time of loss Linda. I will keep you and your family in my thoughts and prayers.

  23. Linda, so sorry to hear about Jim’s passing. Lots of coaches came through Hamshire-Fannett but Jim was definitely one of the best! We truly missed both of you when you moved and we have been excited to hear all of the accomplishments he has had since leaving here. He was a great coach and teacher. You are in my prayers.

  24. Linda we are so sorry for your loss. Our prayers are with you and your family. I love you.
    Melba and J.W.

  25. Linda,
    We are heart broken at the news of losing Jim. Such good times we had at the beginning of our careers. We raised kids, taught others’ kids and were our own support group. I have followed you guys throughout your careers and sending kids off to school. We will always have fond memories of the gentle and kind man
    Jim was to all. May God grant each of you peace and comfort at this difficult time.

  26. Linda I didn’t have the privilege of knowing your kids, but I knew your husband growing up,he was a very good friend. But he was also a very fine person as well. I know he will be missed by many. From the news of his passing I was saddened to hear the loss of such a great educator and coach. God bless you and your family. When you come back to Grapeland look us up, might take you and your family for a boat ride.

  27. Linda and family, so very sorry for your loss. May God give you comfort and peace during this time of sorrow.

  28. Linda, I wanted to let you and your family know how much Jimmy meant to me growing up in Grapeland. He took me under his wing like a big brother and mentored me and showed me how it was to be a good example in the community. He didn’t have to do that, he chose to do that and I will be forever grateful. He was a great man, lover of kids, and an awesome coach. We lost a true Champion. Jim Dailey

  29. Linda, so sorry to hear about Jim passing. From reading his obit y’all live in College Station? Nancy, my oldest sister, lives there & we see them from time to time. Would love to see you. Again, so sorry about Jim passing & I will keep u in my prayers

  30. Our family was heartbroken to hear about Coach Cliburn. He was an inspiration to all of us, a true leader and mentor. Our sons were blessed to have had him in their lives. Our heartfelt sympathy goes out to Linda, Jennifer and Chad. We love you all.

    May Coach Cliburn Rest In Peace.

  31. Heaven gained a great man! Always thought the world of him and Linda Kay! We came from great families. Condolences to Linda, Jennifer, Chad their spouses and grandkids! I love y’all!

  32. Linda, Chad, and Jennifer, my prayers are with you. The bless and keep you and give you comfort and peace. Jim has left a wonderful Legacy, which will affect generations to come. I’m so thankful how he touched my sons life and the example he was to all the boys at CHS. He was a true servant for the Lord. Sincerely, Connie Pakebusch

  33. My heart is broken. Clyde, as we knew him in Grapeland, was always so loved by all. He made us so proud with his successful career in education and coaching. I know he helped so many students to their successes and dreams. I can still hear his voice and even though I had not seen him in years I thought about him and his much loved wife, friend, and soul mate, Linda Kay Allen Cliburn. This makes me so wish I had taken time to catchup with him to just visit and to listen to his wisdom! I know he is visiting with his mom right now. My love to you, Linda.

  34. May the gentle giant rest now. And may God bless Linda Kay, Jennifer, Chad and their families. Y’all are blesssd to have so many fond memories and words of wisdom shared by Jim. He was truly a very special gentleman.

  35. Dearest Linda, I have loved and admired you and Jim from the first introduction at First Baptist, Bryan. I was heart broken when I heard of his severe illness in hospice, and at his passing. I will continue to pray for you, knowing your strength comes from Our Lord. Know that your many family members and friends will continue to love you and care for your needs. Dorothy James

  36. Linda I am so sorry for your loss and I know it is hard. My prayers are with you and your family.
    Jim was a great person and will be missed by many…Prayers and condolences to all

  37. Psalm 116:25 —- “Precious in the sight of The LORD is the death of HIS Saints.”

    We are thanking GOD that Jimmy was and is one of them and that he is “HOME FREE”, having experienced the ULTIMATE HEALING!

    BLESSings & Grace & Comfort of the Sweet Holy Spirit to all ……………….tomHE & Cindy

  38. Linda and family, I’m so sorry to hear of Jim’s death. The emptiness of missing him will be forever there, but I pray that the Lord will walk you through this time of grieving. Jim taught alot of young men about character, love, and hard work. He will be missed by many.

  39. Linda and family, I’m so sorry to hear of Jim’s death. The emptiness of missing him will be forever there, but I pray that the Lord will walk you through this time of grieving. Jim taught alot of young men about character, love, and hard work. He will be missed by many.

  40. We are so sorry for your loss. In the short time we have known you, you and Jim have touched our hearts and our lives. We are praying for all of you. May God hide you under the shelter of His wings, and comfort your grieving hearts.

  41. Words cannot express what Coach Cliburn meant to the Calallen community – what an amazing coach, teacher, deacon and friend. He will be missed but we can all look forward to seeing him again one day. Any maybe he can send some heavenly help to the Wildcats this year!

  42. Good coaches are usually loved and respected, but Coach Cliburn was more than that. He lived his Christian values in a way that made lasting impressions. He was a true gentleman. It was a pleasure to work with him at Calallen. May God’s grace bless and sustain his family at this time and in the days to come.

  43. Linda, Jim was a senior when I was in the 8th grade. Even though he was on the high school varsity football team, he took time to come to a few of our junior high practices. I remember his patience with us, along with his instructions on how to play the game. Looking back, he wasn’t just talking football, but the game of life.

    Even back then (50+ years), I could see Jim had the calling to be a coach. Although he was in high school, he treated me as an equal, and not as a subordinate. Jim had the ability to talk to anyone without patronizing them. He was a great communicator.

    The world is a better place because of Jim Cliburn! He will be missed tremendously.

  44. Linda, our heartfelt condolences go out to you, Jennifer, Chad Russell, and those precious grandchildren. Jim was an awesome coach and teacher that touched many many lives in a positive way. God bless and comfort all of you during this difficult time.

  45. Mike I’m so deeply sorry for the loss of your brother. You and his family are in my thoughts and prayers. If there is anything I can do, please don’t hesitate to let me know. Love and respect always. Margo

  46. I pray for peace and comfort during this time for your sweet family. Coach was such a sweet man. All of you were such a blessing to all of my family.

  47. Coach Cliburn was a huge positive influence in my life, and I am very thankful to have had his guidance. He might be gone, but he will never be forgotten.

  48. Dear Linda, I am saddened to read of Jimmy’s death. I’m sure Jesus and his angels have welcomed him with open arms. And I will be holding you in my prayers as you face the days, months, and years ahead without Jimmy. May Jesus comfort and sustain you through the difficult times and remind you of all the lovely memories you have of the life you and Jimmy shared together. Love in Christ, Ruth

  49. Linda, Jennifer, and Chad, John and I want to express our deepest sorrow for your loss. We hope that you will find strength and comfort from knowing so many care.

  50. I am so sorry to hear of his passing. His words to me in high school carry me on through today. When I was ready to quit, he told me if I quit when things got tough, that I’d quit everything else in life. I still remember the exact spot he said that. He was a great mentor and a great man. Prayers to the family.

  51. My deepest sympathy to the Cliburn family. When I think of you , I see the most dedicated coach, God loving man, to all people. I can’t think of any new word to say about you, that has not been posted already. I pray that these next few days and months and years , your family, friends, with feel God Compassionate arms around you giving you his peace.

  52. We are so very sorry for your loss. Our sorrow is shared by many for you and your family.

  53. Clinurn family, sorry to learn your loss. Jim was a great coach and cared about the young men that he coached. I coached at HF with Jim and enjoyed being around him. You and yours are Jon my thoughts and prayers. Sincerely, John Donaho

  54. I remember Coach Cliburn from when he was at Hardin. Great coach and even better man. My condolences to all of the family.

  55. My condolences to the Cliburn family. I had the privilege of working/coaching with Coach Cliburn from 2005-2008. He was a great coach that loved his offensive linemen. He loved the Calallen Wildcats. He was a positive influence on my life and I will always remember him for that. My you rest in peace Coach.

  56. Jim Cliburn was my Coach. And my History teacher at Memorial High School. At the time, he was a real badass, and he was hard on us. But with time, I miss him. His was the way of making his football players get better than they were. To achieve something greater than we thought we could do. He was my Coach. I just wish that I had a chance to catch up with him as an adult. He’d still probably make me do windsprints. God Bless You, Coach Cliburn, despite the fact that you tortured your boys into becoming men. For most of us, it worked. Well done, Coach. We passed the test.

  57. My first coaching/teaching job was at Hardin in 1980. Jim Cliburn was the Head Coach that hired me. I learned so much from Jim Cliburn. He was a tremendous mentor in so many ways. I was very lucky to have known him.

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