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Originally published: 2012-08-14 09:44:33
Last modified: 2012-08-14 10:49:19

James Dean Wilcox

James Dean Wilcox, 80, of 6880 US Hwy 421 North in Vilas, joined his Father in Heaven on Saturday morning, August 11, 2012. He was an incredible husband, father, brother, and grandfather better known as "Pa" to his grandchildren.

Born on July 9, 1932, in Todd, N.C., James loved the community he grew up in. He graduated from Appalachian High School in 1950 and joined the Air Force shortly after. While in the military, he served four years as an air traffic control specialist in the Korean War. Upon completion of his military service, Mr. Wilcox worked at the Western Union Bus Terminal in Boone. He worked there for 14 years before becoming manager from 1968-1972. In 1972, he opened Wilcox Freight Company which is still in service today. Along with Wilcox Freight, James opened Skateworld in 1983 which has served countless Watauga citizens throughout the years.

James was a community-spirited person who was an active member of Watauga Baptist Church in Foscoe along with numerous organizations throughout the High Country. He served three terms as Watauga County Commissioner beginning in 1988. He also served as president of the Mountaineer Ruritan Club in 1976 and was awarded the Governor's Award for "Outstanding Volunteer Service" in 1992 for his volunteer work throughout the Watauga Community.

Mr. Wilcox married the love of his life, Mary Aldridge, on January 26, 1952, while on leave from his military duties. They celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary this year. James loved nothing more than to spend time with his family and friends, and especially loved the time he got to spend with them at the beach. He could often be seen skating with family members, attending sporting events, or chatting with a complete stranger. He also loved riding and showing horses with his son, Mike, and his youngest daughter, Tina.

James is survived by his wife, Mary, as well as one son and three daughters, Mike Wilcox and wife, Joanna, of Vilas, Sherry Russom and husband, Charles Rose, of Boone, Sandy Wilcox of Vilas, and Tina Kostis and husband, George, of Vilas. James and Mary have six grandsons, Scott Russom of Boone, Garrick Jackson and wife, Amber, of Zionville, Jeremy Russom of Vilas, Jason Jackson and wife, Kendra, of Boone, Savva Kostis and wife, Stephanie, of Boone, and Demetreus Kostis of Vilas. Together, they also have four great-grandchildren, Daniel and Nora Russom, and Gracie and Ellary Jackson.

James is also survived by seven brothers and sisters, Opal Dancey of Cleveland, Ohio, Ruth Hicks and husband, Mack, of Boone, Bob Wilcox and wife, Barbara, of Blowing Rock, Junior Wilcox of Boone, Charles "Butch" Wilcox and wife, Phyllis, of Lincolnton, Sue Reece of Trade, Tenn., Billy Wilcox and wife, Nita, of Vilas along with James' special nephew, Luke, and many, many extended family members and loved ones.

James is preceded in death by his parents, Mr. and Mrs. Arden and Floy Wilcox

The family received friends from 6 to 8 p.m. at Hampton's Funeral Home on Monday evening, August 13, 2012. The funeral service will be held 2 p.m.at Watauga Baptist Church in Foscoe, N.C. at  on Tuesday, August 14, 2012. His body will lie in state from 1 to 2 p.m. Following the funeral, a graveside service with military rites and burial with honors provided by American Legion Post 130 will be held at Mount Lawn Cemetery.

Donations are appreciated to local charities in the High Country.

Online condolences may be sent to the Wilcox family at http://www.hamptonfuneralnc.com.

Hampton Funeral and Cremation Service is in charge of the arrangements.