James Louis Avant Jr
Dr. Avant was born in Cleveland, Miss., on March 17, 1932, to the late James Louis Avant Sr. and Shirley Jenkins Avant.
Avant served in the U. S. Navy for four years as an aviation electrician. He completed his undergraduate studies at the University of Florida. He continued his studies at Indiana University, where he earned his masters degree. He completed his doctoral studies at the University of Utah. Prior to coming to Appalachian State University, Avant served as head football coach at Olympic College, and later as Intramural Director at Washington State University. He spent 46 years in higher education, 33 of which were at Appalachian State University. He was the Intramural Director at ASU for 20 years, where he developed and expanded the program, including the building of the first campus recreation facility, the Quinn center. He then returned to the classroom in the department of Health, Leisure Studies, and Exercise Science. During the summer, he frequently served as the director of both the Appalachian House in Washington, D.C., and the ASU Loft in New York City. N.Y.
Prior to his retirement in 2008, he was the director of the Appalachian House for the fall 2007 semester and the Loft for the spring 2008 semester. During his tenure at ASU, he was the founding advisor for the ATO fraternity and was named Faculty Advisor of the year numerous times. His passion for teaching and concern for the success of his students enabled him to be a beloved mentor and inspiration to his students.
As a health promotions professional, Avant lived his teaching ethic. He was an avid runner and ran six miles a day for 13 1/2 years, without missing a day. He often ran with his Labrador Retrievers. He loved swimming and exercise and spent many happy hours working out at the Paul H. Broyhill Wellness Center.
Avant was predeceased by his parents and his sisters, Doris Smith and Freda Morgan.
Dr. Avant is survived by his wife of 27 years, Barbara Matheson Avant; as well as sons, Jeffrey Barnes Jackson and wife, Lori, of Las Vegas, N.V., Stephen Barnes Jackson and wife, Mina, and children, Alexander, Cameron, Zachary, and CoraRae of Coronado, Calif., Andrew Fonda Jackson and wife, Christina of Berkeley, Calif.; and daughter Tracey Avant and husband, Maurice Martin, of Arlington, Va. He is also survived by brothers, John Avant and wife, Janice, of Water Valley, Miss., and Thomas Avant of Navasota, Texas; as well as several nieces and nephews. He leaves a son, Scott Edward Avant, and his daughters, Rahne and Briana.
Dr. Avant's family gives special thanks to Medi Home Hospice for their special care of Jim and for their loving compassion.
The family will received friends 5 to 7 p.m. at home at 879 Appalachian Drive, Boone, on Friday, March 1, 2013. A private memorial will be held by the family.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests memorials to the American Red Cross, Watauga County Chapter, 331 Queen Street, Boone, NC 28607 or a charity of choice.
Online condolences may be sent to the Avant family at the http://www.austinandbarnesfuneralhome.com.
Austin & Barnes Funeral Home and Crematory is serving the Avant family.