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Sept. 13, 1913-April 4, 2012

Dr. James Munn McChesney Jr., 98, passed away April 4, 2012.

A service of worship celebrating Jim's life will be held at First Presbyterian Church, 1101 E. Ash St., on Wednesday, April 11, at 2 p.m. The family will receive friends immediately following the service at the church.

Jim was born Sept. 13, 1913, in Lodi, Va., the son of Lula Hawkins and James M. McChesney Sr. He grew up in the Rock Spring, Draper and Green Spring, Va. area. Jim graduated from King College Bristol, Tenn., and then entered Union Theological Seminary, following in his father's footsteps. After post-graduate work at Princeton Theological Seminary, he earned a Doctor of Theology degree from Union Seminary and was awarded the degree of Doctor of Divinity from King College.

In 1938, Jim was ordained as a Presbyterian minister in Tuscaloosa, Ala., where he served for two years as campus pastor and assistant at First Presbyterian Church. While in Tuscaloosa, he met Carolyn Allen, the love of his life. They spent 69 wonderful years together prior to her death in 2010. Carolyn and Jim became integral parts of their church families in Oxford, Goldsboro, Rocky Mount and Raleigh, and Pensacola, Fla. Upon retiring from Albemarle Presbytery in 1979, Dr. McChesney continued his active life and ministry as director of Church Relations for Lee McRae College, secretary and moderator of the Synod of North Carolina, associate of the mission board of the Presbyterian Church USA, and parrish associate of the First Presbyterian Church in Goldsboro, where he was elected Pastor Emeritus in 1993. It was during these years that Dr. McChesney served as interim pastor in many communities in eastern North Carolina, developing new friendships and creating relationship in a part of the state that he knew so well and loved so much.

Dr. McChesney is survived by his son, Jim (Nancy); and daughter, Carol Wainwright (George); and his beloved grandchildren Matt (Brooke) and Trent McChesney, and Kennon and Ashton Wainwright, to whom their "Dede" was a very special man. He was never without a joke or story to entertain them. His sense of humor knew no generation gap. "I find it quite significant that in much that is whimsical even humorous, there is often more wisdom than wit." J.M.M.

The oldest of five children, Jim remained extremely close to his brothers; Don (deceased), Graham, Charlie and his sister Kitty (Mackie/deceased), their spouses and families. He adored the Thanksgiving reunions with them, and his many nieces and nephews.

Jim was an avid gardener, always having cucumbers and tomatoes for his grandchildren to pick and to share with friends and neighbors. He was a determined golfer ("If you are stupid enough to whiff, be smart enough to forget it" -- Arnold Palmer), and a steadfast Tarheel fan with a wealth of coaching advice.

His love for friends was visible in his notes, visits, phone calls and special gifts of "cheese straws" and Mount Olive peanuts. In his last years, Jim enjoyed sharing thoughts, ideas and his latest joke with his many friends and dinner companions at The Albemarle in Tarboro. During his 10 years in Tarboro, the devotion, companionship and counsel of his loving friend, Peggy Rogers Leggett, was truly a blessing to Jim and his entire family. He enjoyed so much their Sunday night ritual -- sharing a club sandwich and thoughtful conversation. "Your worse days are never so bad that you are beyond the reach of God's grace. Your best days are never so good that you are beyond the need of God's grace." J.M.M

The family wishes to thank the staff at The Albemarle for their medical care, sensitivity and kindness to Jim and his family. Special thanks also to Gina and Claudia for their wonderful care.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to Union Presbyterian Seminary, 3401 Brook Road, Richmond, VA 23227, or a charity of your choice.

Online condolences may be sent to the family at www.seymourfuneralhome.com.


Published in Obituaries on April 8, 2012 11:22 AM