On Saturday morning, our little mill village lost a truly great one, and this journal of my house becoming a home would be incomplete without telling you about Jim. Steven and I met Jim at a neighborhood block party in June 2011. Even though we had not yet closed on our house (that came in July), we decided to go and meet our future neighbors. Jim had one of those personalities that was as energetic as it was magnetic. That August, he talked me into writing an article for the neighborhood newsletter. By December, Steven was head of community watch and I was editing the newsletter. Jim's passion for bettering our village was certainly contagious.
His obituary reads like an A++ over-achiever's graduation announcement, leaving me wondering how in the world he was able to do so much. He started our neighborhood organization in 2006 and served as our voice in Huntsville and beyond. We are indebted to him for working with the Historic Huntsville Foundation in taking the steps necessary to add Merrimack Mill Village to the National Register of Historic Places. The list goes on... Vice Chairman of the Preservation Commission, member of the Beautification Board, member of the Community Development Citizens Advisory Board, Chairman of the Historic Huntsville Foundation, member of Huntsville Housing Authority’s Affordable Housing Advisory Council. He helped form the Huntsville Council of Neighborhood Associations and served as president of that too. I only knew Jim in his historic preservation and community activist role, so this is really only scratching the surface.
Jim, tomorrow we will gather in honor and memory of you. You've left some big shoes to fill, and I think it will take several people to even come close to keeping up with all the responsibilities that you seemed to juggle so effortlessly. You lived only two streets over from me, and I regret not visiting you enough these last few months... I suppose making myself "busy" with my own house remodeling and the newsletter was my way of coping. I loved you dearly and so looked up to you. It's going to hurt for awhile, but we will pick up where you left off here in the village. When I think back on you, you'll be laughing and smoking a cigar.
Charlotte, my heart and deepest sympathies go out to you.