The Rev. James Williamson

Published 2:57 pm Thursday, July 15, 2010

Father Jim, as he was affectionately called, entered the Gates of Greater Life to be with the Lord on July 10, 2010.

Born July 22, 1926 in Newark, N.J., with his twin brother George Jr., sons of the late Goerge and Edith Williamson. His twin brother died at age 56 from WWII war injuries.

Father Jim graduated in 1949 from N.J. Teachers College in Newark. He taught junior high three years and recognized the need for special education teachers. He accepted a scholarship to serve as an intern at the Lexington School for the Deaf in N.Y.C. while studying for his M.A. in special education at Columbia University, awarded in 1953.

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From 1953-1957 he taught at the School for the Deaf in the inner city of Newark. In 1957 he accepted a teaching position at the School for the Deaf and the Blind in St. Augustine, Fla.

His interest in serving God began in childhood as an acolyte, teacher and organizer of youth activities. He was not one to seek fame or fortune and instead had the desire to become a missionary serving those who live in a world of silence and darkness.

With the bishops blessing, he attended the Virginia Theological Seminary 1959-1961; after 1 years he returned to Jacsonville, Fla., where he read for Holy Orders under Bishop Wests supervision. In 1961 he opened a mission for the deaf in the inner city of Jacksonville at the Good Samaritan House.

Fr. Jim was ordained Deacon in 1965 and Priest in 1966 at St. Johns Cathedral, Jacksonville.

In September of 1969 he accepted a position as worker-priest in Massachusetts, teaching a class of deaf children in a public school during the school year and serving as a priest when needed.

Attending the University of Massachusetts, he awas awarded a certificate in gerontology in 1982 and an M.S. in social services in 1992.

He leaves behind his lifelong companion and wife Jessica Eleanor ne Stewart of Columbus; a son, James Jr.; daughter-in-law Lori; two grandsons Timothy and Matthew in Ohio; older sister, Jean Fitzhenry in New York.

Internment will be at Holy Cross Episcopal Church in Tryon.

In lieu of flowers, donations to Hospice of the Carolina Foothills, Alzheimers Association, or Lions Club would be greatly appreciated.