James C. Athey, 78 years old, of Lucketts, Virginia died on May 10, 2016.
He was born at home in Furnace Mountain, Virginia on July 9, 1937 to parents Emory Calvin Athey and Lucille Green Athey. He is survived by his wife of 58 years, Jo Ann “Jody” Kerrigan Athey; children Mark Athey and wife Jackie, Mitchell Athey and wife Debbi, Michele Athey Coates and husband Danny, and Michael Athey; sister Debbie Athey Fitchett and husband Wayne; brother Thomas Athey and wife Linda; nine grandchildren, Ryan, Jacob, Joseph, Amanda, and Sean Athey; Alton, Ashton, Autumn, and Austin Echols; three step grandchildren, Wayne Fitchett, Jr., Victoria Athey Pounds, and Vincent Jenkins; six great-grandchildren; four step great-grandchildren, and many nieces and nephews.
“Jimmy” as he was known to his family and friends, was a hard worker from early childhood. At the age of ten he worked on the local saw mill. His parents purchased a 196 acre farm near Point of Rocks, Maryland, during his teenage years, which sparked his lifelong love of farming. He used money saved from hunting, trapping, and fishing the land around his home to purchase his first International Harvester tractor.
Jimmy was an all-star baseball player in his youth; played catcher just like his father; and was a powerful and consistent hitter. A May 17, 1956 Loudoun Times Mirror article captured it best, “The Yankees have Mickey Mantle, but even he could have done no better Sunday than Lucketts’ Jimmy Athey,” with three home runs and five hits for five at bats and four runs. He also loved shooting skeet and trap and won state championships.
He was part of the first graduating class of Loudoun County High School in 1955. After graduating, Jimmy went to work as a bricklayer and quickly moved up the ranks. By the early 1960s he was contracting his own work which evolved into custom homebuilding as James C. Athey Builder. Jimmy built over 800 homes in Loudoun County. Eternally positive, one of his favorite sayings was the word “can’t” is not in the dictionary.
After Jimmy and Jody married in 1958, they moved into a small brick home in Point of Rocks, Maryland that he built with his own hands. He and Jody were baptized as Jehovah’s Witnesses in 1971. In 1973 he moved his family to the Loudoun County farm that he would call home for the next 43 years and where he raised Charolais cattle and passionately maintained a large garden each year.
Jimmy was known for his kindness and generosity to his community, his friends, his church, and most of all his family. Many in the community will remember his gifts of fresh vegetables, country ham, biscuits, and butter showing his appreciation for others. After all, his appreciation and concern for others defined his life. Above all life’s accomplishments, he was most proud of his love story with Jody.
Viewings will be held on Thursday, May 19, 2016 from 2-4 and 6-8 PM at Loudoun Funeral Chapel. A memorial service will be held on Friday, May 20, 2016 at 11 AM at Loudoun Funeral Chapel.
Burial will follow at 1:00 PM at Furnace Mountain Cemetery.
Memorial contributions may be made to the Leesburg North Congregation of Jehovah’s Witnesses.
Please share condolences with the family at www.LoudounFuneralChapel.com.