Mr. James Anthony Walters, 83
James Anthony Walters was born in Matthews, North Carolina on September 13, 1937. He was the son of the late Gladys Howie Walters and Daniel P. Walters, and step father Jim Rogers.
Having lost his beloved father at a very young age, Jim took on the role of caregiver for his three brothers and mother at age 13. His entrepreneurial spirit began as he and his brothers worked to provide for the family with their local tool sharpening business. From a young age a spirit of generosity was instilled in the boys by their mother, who always insisted they give generously to those less fortunate than they even despite their humble upbringing. It was this generosity that would define his life going forward. Jim graduated from East Mecklinburg High School in 1955 and attended North Carolina State University as he began his career in the finance business.
Jim established roots in Gainesville in 1971 where he raised his family and became a pillar of philanthropy and generosity in this community. He was a pioneer in the Georgia Industrial Loan Association, owning many loan offices and businesses throughout the state and country. He was a man with an unparalleled sense of duty to his community, and his country, ending many of his interactions with his famous quote, “Only in America - What a Country!”
He was known to those who loved him as “Big Jim” not only for his big stature, his big smile, and his big laugh, but also for his big opinions, big advice, and most importantly his big heart. While you could recognize his name on many buildings including the J. A. Walters YMCA, The Walters Athletic Center at Lakeview Academy, The Walters Allied Health building on the campus of Lanier Tech, and the Walters Auditorium at Northeast Georgia Medical Center, much of his generosity happened behind the scenes. The stories of his giving heart and the lives he has touched continue to pour in.
“Big Jim” Walters passed away in his home surrounded by his loving family on February 22, 2021, at 83 years old. His contributions to this community were innumerable. Jim is survived by his loving wife of 60 years, Peggy Enloe Walters of Charlotte, NC, who shared in the joy of his children, daughters and sons-in-law Jackie and Todd Slaughter, and Kelly and Rob Robinson, and brother and sister in law, Roger S. and Jackie Walters of Cashiers, NC and sisters in law Pam Walters of Greenville SC and Carolyn Walters Clinard from Myrtle Beach SC. He was preceded in death by brothers Charles Daniel Walters of Greenville, SC, and Joseph Walters of Charlotte, NC.
The true joys of his life were his five granddaughters and three great grandchildren and a host of nieces and nephews for whom he provided love, support and guidance. His greatest happiness came from watching and participating in every milestone. They include: Taylor Hein Kizziah (35), Jacqueline Ashley Hein (35), Anna Claire Dover (29), Laura Anne “Peaches” Shipley (24), Georgia Walters Shipley (20), Walters James Kizziah (9), Maisie Isabelle Kizziah (4), and Bertie Claire Kizziah (1 month).
The family would like to give special thanks to the doctors and nurses of Northeast Georgia Health Systems especially Dr. Dan Winston, Dr. Jeff Terry, Dr. Andre Kallab, Dr. Frank Lake, Dr Jack Griffeth, Dr. D.J. Campbell, Dr. Craig Brown and Dr. Charles DeCook. We especially thank the staff of the Ronnie Green Heart Center ICU—that Mr. Walters jokingly called the Ritz Carlton—and The Woody Stewart Heart Failure Floor staff. And a special thank you to Northeast Georgia Hospice staff for being so wonderful and caring in his final hours.
A private memorial service is planned for the family with a Celebration of Life Party scheduled for a later date when COVID restrictions are lifted.
In lieu of flowers the family has asked that donations be made to the We Care Foundation c/o North Georgia Community Foundation 615 Oak Street Suite 1300 Gainesville, GA 30501.
Memorial Park Funeral Home North Riverside Chapel, 989 Riverside Dr. is in charge of arrangements.