Jim always called himself one of the “Biltmore Boys” and was a lifelong Asheville native. He distinguished himself as a member of the first graduating class of T.C. Roberson High School in 1963. A UNCA graduate and proud member of the Huns, he retired from the Asheville Fire Department in 2000 with over 28 years of service. You could often find Jim involved coaching youth sports, golfing, or attending community events.
As an only child, Jim was known for his outgoing personality and cherished many lifelong friendships. He would strike up a conversation with anyone who would listen and made friends everywhere he went. More often than not, you could find Jim attending a parade downtown, where he’d be sure to scout out the best spot and arrive at least an hour in advance so he could people watch. Live music and local car shows were another big draw for Jim; he loved music and dancing. Oftentimes, Mom and Jim were the first on the dance floor or out in the crowd.
His love for travel was never more present than on our annual trips to Destin, Florida, which is where we will remember him most. Coffee on the balcony, overlooking emerald green waters, a set of binoculars never far from reach. He’d always look off at the skyline and say, “This is what makes it all worth it right here.”
Jim’s gentle, yet stern nature made him an exceptional father. He enjoyed imparting life lessons on his children and grandchildren. He was always a penny pincher and tried to impart on us the importance of doing your “have-to’s” before your “want-to’s.”
Jim was an extremely detail-oriented man in both his personal and professional life. As an engineer, he took his role very seriously and made personal pocket-sized map and direction books for each station he worked at. In a time before Google and navigation systems, putting in the effort and taking the time to better understand his surroundings enabled him to save lives. In his personal life he used the same dedication and attention to detail when documenting everything from home repairs and bills to Talladega pole winners and NASCAR placement winners.
He loved life and lived it HIS way on HIS own terms. Jim’s gruff exterior didn’t fool those who knew him well. He was a very kindhearted man who cared deeply about others’ problems. He adored his wife, loved his kids, and cherished his cats. He chose to see the world through rose colored glasses and enjoyed sharing that view with those lucky enough to have known him.