A Life Lived: Jim Wilson never met a stranger – human or animal

Published 11:21 am Tuesday, December 12, 2023

BY ROZELLA HARDIN
Editorial Director
rozella.hardin@elizabethton.com
James Davis Wilson, better known as Jim to his family and friends, loved people and animals. His wife, Helen, said Jim never met a stranger – human or animal. In the past he often could be seen walking his furry companion in the Covered Bridge area. His last pet was a beagle named Smokey. “He always had treats for the dogs, and they knew it. When Jim was out, the pets he befriended would go straight to his left pants pocket – that’s where he carried his doggy treats,” said Helen.
In addition to pets, Jim loved people and enjoyed singing. His obituary read: “Jim was known for his jovial nature, his easy-going demeanor, his love of helping others, and his singing. Besides hearing his voice in the church choir, he could often be heard belting out a tune at any given moment.”
Jim’s wife said he enjoyed being in the choir and looked forward to practice and Sunday services when the choir performed. “He had several favorite songs, but he really liked ‘How Great Thou Art,’” she said.
Jim didn’t care for cooking, but at Christmas time he did make a tasty fudge, which he shared with friends and family. A former employee of the IRS, he named the fudge “1040” after an IRS form.
A native of Bluefield, West Va., Jim moved to Bristol, Va., in 1950, and worked a number of jobs after graduating from high school. He later graduated from East Tennessee State University with a B.S degree in business administration. He worked with the Internal Revenue Service from 1966 to 1995. Helen said, “If you were unfortunate enough to be audited by the IRS, Jim was the guy you wanted to be your auditor. At least, he would give you a warm smile and an apology prior to giving you a bill to pay,” she said.
Jim was also a member of the Elizabethton Kiwanis Club. He served as treasurer of the Civic Club for several years and always helped with the annual pancake breakfast and other club projects.
He also served as treasurer for ARM (Assistance and Resource Ministries), and participated in numerous outings with retired IRS agents. “Jim made friends easily. He was a people person, and enjoyed being involved in community organizations where he could be of help to others,” said Helen.
In addition to his church and civic work, Jim had other interests, including doing stained glass. ”He took a class at the Johnson City Senior Citizens Center. He did several pieces, some of which he shared with family and friends,” his wife shared.
Both Jim and Helen enjoyed dancing…that’s how they met. “He especially loved line dancing, square dancing, and ballroom dancing,” Helen said.
Jim also enjoyed playing tennis and did so as long as his health allowed him to. He also enjoyed taking walks around town.
He was very family oriented and enjoyed doing things with his family. He and Helen often watched football games together. Jim was a Virginia Tech fan and he followed U-T as well.
Jim Wilson was the father of two grown daughters – Sherie and Diane. After his girls were grown and had their own lives, Jim met and married Helen and moved to Elizabethton. In addition to his many activities, Jim and Helen did some traveling during their 33 years of marriage and created an immeasurable number of memories.
Jim died October 31 at the age of 88.
Helen Keller is credited with saying, “Alone we can do so little, together we can do much.” Jim Wilson loved people, and he always linked up with people, who helped make his life better and productive – church, civic groups, community-help organizations, even pets.

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