James Melford ” Jimmy” Gaither, Jr.

Our beloved Jimmy peacefully left this earth early morning on February 26, 2020. His love of life began November 18, 1942 in Fayetteville, NC and then moved to Hickory with his parents as a baby. Graduating from Hickory High School in 1961, he was voted Most Likely to Succeed, Most Versatile and was a member of Student Council, the Key Club, Inter-Club Advisory President as well as in 11 other clubs, even the Garden Club! His family would tease him about being President of the club they hadn’t made up yet.

After one year at Davidson College, he married his high school sweetheart, Anna White (Gaither) and they both entered Wake Forest College where he graduated from Law School. They lived in High Point for only a year and returned to Hickory with their baby daughter, LeAnn to begin a law practice which grew for over 30 years. Leaving his practice in the early 2000’s to be general counsel to Dale Jarrett began a chapter he loved to the fullest, but perhaps his greatest love and greatest chapter was the game of golf. Starting to play while at Wake, he mastered the game and went on to win many championships at LHCC and even met his idol Arnold Palmer once. He and friends had the unique opportunity several times to go to Augusta and be among all his idols, Jack…Tiger…and of course Arnold.

Being able to build a home at Catawba Springs with his beautiful second wife, Diane, their daughter Taylor and step-son Nick fulfilled a lifelong dream…to live on a course and both watch and play the game almost any day he wanted. We all feel sure he’s somewhere now chipping in an eagle.

He was the son of James Melford Gaither, Sr. and Isabelle Johnson Gaither of Hickory, grandson of James E. and Margaret Gaither of Hickory, and F.B. Johnson and Maude B. Johnson of Clinton, NC. He had one grandson, James Davis, son of LeAnn and KC Kowalyk, Sewickley, PA, daughter, Taylor Lawson Gaither and boyfriend Jordan Thacker of Atlanta; step-son, Nick Nelson of Las Vegas, NV; brother, John Gaither and girlfriend Cassie Welsh of Brevard; sister, Sue G. Pittman and husband Randy Duckworth, Morganton; as well as a multitude of very close friends from many corners of the world, but especially Hickory.

A memorial service will be held at 2:00 p.m. on Sunday, March 1, 2020 at St. Luke’s United Methodist Church with the Rev. Joe Westfall officiating.

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