In Memory

Jessie William 'j. W. ' 'Spud' Aldridge, Jr. (Lawn Longhorns) - Class Of 1950

Jessie William 'j. W. ' 'Spud' Aldridge, Jr. (Lawn Longhorns)

Jessie William 'J.W.' 'Spud' Aldridge, Jr.

May 12, 1933 - July 26, 2021

Jessie W. "Spud" Aldridge, Jr.

Abilene - Spud went home to glory on July 26, 2021, to be with his Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

Visitation will be held at The Hamil Family Funeral Home, 6449 Buffalo Gap Road, on Friday, July 30th from 5:30-7:30 p.m. Interment will be held at Elmwood Memorial Park at 9:30 a.m. on Saturday, July 31st. A celebration of his life will follow at 11:00 a.m. at Aldersgate United Methodist Church. Pastor Terry Weatherbee, Pastor Randy Roy, Reverend Dustin White, and Cliff Odenwald will officiate.

Jessie William Aldridge, Jr., nicknamed "Spud" by his cousins, was born on May 12, 1933, to J.W. "Willie" and Danie May (Smith) Aldridge in Lawn, Texas. He graduated from Lawn High School as Salutatorian and received his Bachelor's and Master's Degrees from McMurry College (now University) in 1956 and 1958 respectively. He was on the Dean's Honor Roll his senior year at McMurry. He served in the U.S. Army from 1954-1956. He was in the Inter American Geodetic Survey (IAGS) Unit making maps of Central America, and the Greater and Lesser Antilles. He was based out of Fort Clayton, Panama for two years.

Spud married the former Marilyn King, in his words, "the love of his life" in June 1977. They were married forty years before Marilyn passed away on September 20, 2017. Their love story was beautiful. If you saw one of them, you almost always saw both. They loved being together. Spud and Marilyn loved dancing to country music and belonged to several dance clubs during their marriage. They did a beautiful job of blending their families.

Spud was the first of five Aldridge men of his generation to become a coach. Several other Aldridge's of succeeding generations followed the same path. He coached, taught, and/or served as Administrator at Wall, Clyde, Three-Way, Mt. Pleasant, Cooper (Paris, TX), Jefferson Junior High, and McMurry University. He was head track coach, and football offensive coordinator for two years, head football coach for six years, and Athletic Director for nine years at McMurry before retiring. He cherished and respected his outstanding assistant coaches at McMurry. Tommy Estes, Dewain Finley, Don Eiland, Rodney Murphy, and Jimmy Allen were also his dear friends.

He received many honors while coaching, including Abilene Area Class A Basketball Coach of the Year at Clyde, 1961; South Plains Coach of the Year at Three-Way, 1966; NAIA District 8 Coach of the Year, 1977; McMurry Alumni Coach of the Year, 1980; NAIA District 8 Coach of the Year, 1980; nominee for NAIA National Coach of the Year, 1980; and TIAA Coach of the Year, 1980. Spud's 1978, 1979, and 1980 teams ended their seasons being ranked in the top 20 in the Nation in NAIA Division II with the 1980 team ending their season ranked number 6. Spud remained close to many of his players from these McMurry teams. He loved these men like they were his own. He wanted them to be great football players, but most importantly, great men. The love and respect were mutual. One of his players said it this way, "Coach inspired us. He made us all a somebody."

At McMurry, Spud was inducted into the McMurry Athletic Hall of Honor in 1992, he received the McMurry Faculty/Staff Spirit Award in 1994-1995 and was named Outstanding McMurry Administrator for 1994-1995.

Spud was nominated for the Jefferson Award in 2004 for his volunteer work at Noah Project and was Volunteer of the Month at Meals on Wheels in April 2003.

Spud was active for many years at Aldersgate United Methodist Church. He was Chairman of the Administrative Board and served on the Worship Committee, Finance Committee, and Staff-Parish Relations Committee. He taught the Open-Door Sunday School Class for several years. Most recently, he was a member of the Adult Bible Sunday School Class.

He was a Board Member for Noah Project (2001-2007) where he volunteered for twelve years. He had a Meals on Wheels Route, with Marilyn, for eighteen years. He was a member of the McMurry Indian Club, Abilene Retired Teachers Association, Texas State Teacher Association, Fellowship of Christian Athletes, Texas High School Coaches Association, and NAIA Football Coaches Association.

One of his favorite times of year was the day he received the Texas Football Magazine. He studied it cover to cover. Spud bled maroon from his ties to McMurry, but he also loved the Texas Aggies. He loved watching all sports that require a ball, but especially football.

Spud was a wonderful example of a husband, father, Granddad (Patch), coach, and friend. Above all, he was a man of God who walked out his faith daily. Spud adored his family and was happiest when he was with them. His legacy of faith and love will live on through his family, players, and friends.

Spud was preceded in death by his parents, his wife, Marilyn, his and Marilyn's children Nanette Aldridge and Greg Snowden, granddaughter Kendra Frymire, brother Jack Aldridge, and sister Bennie Hendrix. He is survived by his daughter, Darla Laughter and husband Turner of Boerne, son Bill and wife Shirli of Denver, Colorado, daughter Lori Frymire and husband Tommy of Abilene, and his precious grandchildren Jake (Sara), Jarod (Jamie), Abby (Josh), Jessie IV, Eddie, Louie, Catie, Chad (Monica), and Kristi (Brett). His great grandchildren, Gwyneth, Libby, and Charlotte, were also sources of great joy. He is also survived by one brother, Phil of Rockport, one sister Faye Grant (Bill) both of Abilene, a brother-in-law, Holman King (Janie) of Dallas, and a sister-in-law, Carolyn Cloud of Lubbock. He is also survived by many nieces, nephews, and cousins.

Beloved family, friends, and former players will serve as pallbearers and honorary pallbearers.

Memorials may be made to one of the following: the "Spud Aldridge Endowed Scholarship" Office of Institutional Advancement, Box 938, McMurry University Station, Abilene, Texas 79697, Aldersgate United Methodist Church, or Noah Project.

Online condolences may be submitted at

Posted online on July 27, 2021