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.

Condolences 25
G.P. (Geep) Gladden 2021-02-23 14:48:14
He was a great man who had a wonderful influence on my life in the short time I knew him. So glad to have known him and had the opportunity to work with him. Prayers for the family. He will surely be missed until we see him again!
Loretta Harris 2021-02-23 14:48:27
A wonderful man, he will be missed. Prayers for the family.
Sandy Jordan 2021-02-23 14:56:39
Very saddened to hear the news of Mr. Walters' passing. He was such a kind, generous pillar of our community. Grace Baptist Church will always remember Mr. Walters.. Prayers for the family.
Paula Ellenburg Freeman 2021-02-23 17:38:02
I have a feeling that it is a glorious day in heaven. Hollis Ellenburg is so happy happy to see his buddy.
Scott Ray 2021-02-23 18:08:54
Sorry to hear about Mr. Walters' passing.
Lisa ( Sissy) Totherow Harris 2021-02-23 18:37:34
I'm so sorry to hear of Mr. Walter's passing. He was one of the nicest men I have ever known. I know you all will miss him greatly. With deepest sympathy. Love, Sissy
Jan & Gene Cobb 2021-02-23 21:00:00
Our dear friend was larger than life & will leave irreplaceable void in community & so many hearts. His benevolence, generosity, & kindness were unequaled. He touched so many & will live on in each of them. His character, diligent work ethic, business & common sense enabled his success & set example. Eagerness & willingness to share his success w/others spoke volumes. What a legacy he leaves for dear family, we were blessed & thankful to have had him in our lives, but our hearts are broken w/his family. May God envelope each of you in His love, comfort, peace & strength. Sympathy & love, Jan & Gene Cobb
Jan & Gene Cobb 2021-02-23 21:25:31
Our dear friend was larger than life & will leave irreplaceable void in our community & so many hearts. His benevolence, generosity & kindness were unequalled. He touched so many lives, hearts & will live on thru each. His character, work ethic, business & common sense enabled his success & set example. Eagerness & willingness to always share his success w/others spoke volumes. What a legacy he leaves for his dear family. We were blessed & thankful to have had him in our lives. Our hearts break w/his family. May God envelope each of you in His comfort, peace, love & strength, in sympathy & love, Jan & Gene Cobb
Donna m beem 2021-02-24 01:46:47
Extending my deepest Sympathy to Family for Mr Walters.. A wonderful and kind man that did a lots of good for the community..May God comfort you and be with you!๐Ÿ™๐Ÿ™๐Ÿ™๐Ÿ™
Susan Kitchel 2021-02-24 09:42:01
Big Jim will be greatly missed. What a great man and role model. May he rest in peace.
Tanya & Stan Applebaum 2021-02-24 10:20:30
Peggy, Stan and I send our deepest sympathy to you and your family. May his memory be a blessing.
Roger Rigney 2021-02-24 14:17:49
So sorry for your loss. This is a big loss for us all that knew Jim and what he stood for. I personally know what an impact he had on my and many others lives. I'm so glad that our lives got to cross paths. I know he was an inspiration to many. Our thoughts and prayers are with you all. Roger & Diane Rigney
Larry H. Harris 2021-02-24 15:07:35
Jim Walters and myself were close, close friends from the time we were 8 years old, shortly before World War II ended, through the 1960s. I loved Jim Walters and all his brothers -- Charlie, Buck and Joe. Now only Buck is left. I deeply mourn but wish Jim well on his journey to hopefully a better place. He did all he could to make things better for many people in this world.
Betty Livingston 2021-02-24 17:07:54
Blessings to all of the Walters family. Memories will help to sustain you.
Gene Smith III 2021-02-24 18:59:49
The entire Walters family have been close with the Smith's (of Georgia & Alabama) my entire life. I'm no young one myself. Jim Walters was a true leader in the lending industry by in Georgia and Nationally. It was people like he, his brother Charlie and others that allowed my generation and a couple of generations behind me the opportunity to offer opportunities in our collective communities that others would'nt even let in their doors. Mr. Walters was as wise as he was compationate. Not many of his generation are still around. It will be those that had the opportunity to learn from he and others and pass it along to those coming in behind us. I know he is with my father, mother, grandfather, grandmother. Likely trying to find the closest golf course in Heaven. Bless the Lord for allowing him to have been with us all those short 83 years.
Rick Hamilton 2021-02-25 08:23:47
I canโ€™t think of one person that had more of an influence on my life than Big Jim. He taught me that giving was not a one time thing, it is a habit. He showed me how to be a better person. I donโ€™t have the words to adequately express how I feel about Jim. I can only say that I hope any pray that he will continue to be with me all of my life. I will never forget him. My prayers are with Jimโ€™s family, and all of his friends. God Bless us, and please help us navigate the difficult days ahead without him.
John and Jane Hemmer 2021-02-25 09:48:22
The heart of this community is broken. He will missed by all.
Sheila W. Nix 2021-02-25 13:34:43
Jackie, I know how you loved & respected your father. He was a wonderful & brilliant man. Please know you are in my prayers.
sheila W. Nix 2021-02-25 16:32:24
Jackie, I know how much you loved your Dad. He was such a wonderful influence to everyone. My prayers are with you and your family.
Kathleen Owen 2021-02-25 18:10:01
Big Jim was a great man with a great heart, who will be greatly missed.
Linda and John Sundstrom 2021-02-26 15:16:51
Gainesville has lost a giant of philanthropy and caring for others. Jim will be missed by so many. Thoughts and prayers to his family.
Joye Fuller 2021-02-26 16:21:24
Condolences to the family of this wonderful man.. He is remembered with great fondness by my mother, Dee Ridley, who is 105 years of age, and by me. He exhibited such kindness to my mother and made her feel so special when we met him.. She often has spoken of how important he made her feel and how helpful he was to her.. when he hardly knew her.. He treated her with such dignity and made her feel so honored to have met him. What a privilege to have known him in such a brief moment.. Prayers are with Jim's family and friends. He definitely will live on in our hearts.. Miss Dee Ridley and Joye Fuller
Steven Mickens 2021-02-27 06:27:53
My sincerest condolences to Jim Walters family. He will be missed. Jim meant a lot to me and I am honored to have known him. My prayers to the family.
Arlene Bell 2021-02-27 14:22:12
Gainesville lost a legend, but heaven gained one ! He did so much for so many, and much of it anonymously. His legacy will live on in this community and the so many lives he touched. My sincere condolences to his family.
Eloise Hammond 2021-03-01 11:35:28
Peggy & Girls, I send my sincere love and prayers.
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