James is survived by his wife, Jean Willis; his daughter and her husband, Vicky and Chris Ayers; grandson, Will Ayers; granddaughter, Nikki Willis and her husband Steven Thomas; great grandchildren, Oliver and Mia Willis, grandson, Malachi Willis and his wife, Jamie Willis; and his sisters, Kate Murdock, Sena Mae Gouge, and Margaret Wilson. Brother in-laws, John Murdock (deceased), Everett Gouge and Roger Wilson. His sons, Chris and Michael, and his brothers, Jack Earl Willis, Joe Ray Willis and Lewis Willis, preceded James in death. His nieces and nephews who loved him dearly also survive him.
James was born on January 16, 1931. He worked at Coates North America for 40 years. James was a member of Bear Creek Church, singing in the choir, involved in Sunday school and a friend to everyone. He loved his church family. He was a Captain for the Ledger Fire Department. James knew the mountains and its people like the back of his hand. He and his wife delivered meals on wheels for 10 years. Together they enjoyed visiting the elderly and shut-in’s, helping others, and traveling throughout the US with church members, family and friends. James loved gardening, fishing, hunting, and was an avid runner until his early 80’s.
The family will receive friends on Sunday, November 18, 2018 at 2 p.m. at Bear Creek Baptist Church, in Bakersville, NC, followed by a funeral service. Rev. Dr. Andy Willis, James’ nephew, will officiate, along with Rev. Bruce Cameron. Music for the service will be provided by Rhonda Gouge, friend, Kathy Kuhne, and James' niece, Carol Ann McKinney. Interment will be in the Bear Creek Baptist Church Cemetery.
In lieu of flowers, please send donations to Hospice and Palliative Care of the Blue Ridge, Inc. (236 Hospital Drive, Spruce Pine, NC 28777) and/or Bear Creek Baptist Church (327 Bear Creek Church Road, Bakersville, NC 28705).
Rev. Bruce & Wendy Cannon and the congregation of Bear Creek Baptists Church extend our deepest Christian sympathy to ...
...the family of Jeff Smith, age 49, in his passing on Monday, November 12th, 2018. He was the husband of Cyndi Smith, stepfather of Miriam Leavell & Moses Leavell. He was also the son-in-law of Rich and Carol Ackner. Jeff drive the UPS in the Bakersville area for the past 10 years.
...the family of Tim Willis, age 59, in his passing on Monday, November 5, 2018. He was the husband of Robin Willis, brother/brother-in-law of Roger & Marie Willis.