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Jimmy "Jim" Dale McKee

August 14, 1950 ~ March 9, 2018 (age 67)

Albemarle – Mr. Jimmy “Jim” Dale McKee, beloved husband, brother, and uncle, passed away peacefully at his home in Albemarle, NC, on Friday, March 9, 2018.  

 

Jim was born on August 14, 1950, in Greensboro, NC, to Laura Buzuko and James Scott McKee. Growing up, Jim was quite the scholar. He represented Greensboro in the High IQ Bowl, and graduated from Greensboro High School at the tender age of 16. His love of learning was something that he carried with him throughout his entire life. Jim studied for a year at the University of Alberta in Canada, and then completed his bachelor’s degree at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. He furthered his education by earning his Master’s Degree in Library Science from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. While at Chapel Hill, Jim wrote for The Tarheel Gazette. Throughout the remainder of his life, he was an avid Chapel Hill fan.

In addition to his academics, Jim was a talented musician, playing the piano and organ. In middle school, Jim had outgrown his piano teacher, so he was sent to further his talent at Guilford College. In Lenoir, he would practice in his home often with the windows open, and his songs resounded throughout the neighborhood.

 

Upon graduation with his master’s degree, Jim began working in libraries. He served as the director of Montgomery County Public Library in Troy, and Bladen County Public Library in Elizabethtown, prior to settling in Lenoir and serving as the Caldwell County Public Library Director until his retirement. He took great pride in his work and was instrumental in moving Caldwell County’s small library to its current spacious location and designed a special display of trains in the children’s center. Jim’s work was his sanctuary and his loved of books took him on many adventures including travelling to the Storytelling Festival in Jonesboro, TN, each year.

 

On December 23, 1987, Jim married Barbara Jane Sikes-McKee. They later joined Fairview Presbyterian Church in Lenoir.

 

Jim liked to share his love of learning and reading with everyone. He started the Quiz Bowl competition in Caldwell County in an effort to encourage the area’s students. In addition, Jim and Jane would give their nieces and nephews books for each holiday, passing along a love of reading to their family.

 

Jim had many passions for which we will fondly remember him. He celebrated his Scottish lineage each year at the Highland Games in Boone, NC. Most of all, we will remember his eye for photography and as long as he was able, he could be found with his camera in hand.

 

Jim was known for collecting rare and unique things, including trees. He had a gift for gardening and loved the blooms of spring each year. He was a Master Gardener and could grow almost anything that would bloom. He would take anyone willing on long walks through his gardens, sharing the names and backgrounds of each unique bloom.

His quirky sense of humor endeared us to him, with a well-timed, deadpan joke at the most inappropriate times. He was a fighter, having survived cancer and enduring a long battle with Parkinson’s disease.

 

Jim is survived by his wife, Jane, of the home, and his sister and brother-in-law, Jeanette and Jimmy York of North Myrtle Beach, SC. He also leaves behind a special niece and her family, Amanda Sikes and James Fuller, and their son, Charlie, of Albemarle, and a special friend, Audrey Gibbons of Lenoir. He will also be missed by his brothers-in-law and sisters-in-law, as well as a host of nieces, nephews, great-nieces, and great-nephews. The family wishes to express its deepest gratitude to his special caregivers, Lisa Edwards Wright, whom we have grown to consider one of our own, and Lauren Hudson. 

 

In lieu of flowers, the family suggests memorials be made to: Hospice of Stanly & The Uwharrie, 960 N 1st St, Albemarle, NC 28001; or to the Caldwell County Public Library, 120 Hospital Ave NW, Lenoir, NC 28645; or online to the American Cancer Society.

 

A celebration of life service will be planned this spring when the flowers are in full bloom. 

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