Andrews – Jim Paul, a former town alderman who was heavily involved in the Senior Games, passed away Thursday. He was 85 years old.
Mayor James Reid and the town lowered flags to half staff in honor of Paul, declaring that flags would stay at half staff until services are completed.
Reid served on the Andrews Board of Aldermen with Paul, who was appointed in 2011 to replace Steve Jordan after he was elected Cherokee County commissioner for District 1 in 2010. He remembered that Paul was a good alderman but also a good person, who was always volunteering his time to help others.
"He always had a smile on his face," Reid said. "He was a good man."
Former Andrews Journal and Cherokee Scout staff writer Stacy Van Buskirk agreed.
“Jim Paul was the sweetest. Out of all the aldermen he served with he was the quietest, but with a wealth of knowledge,” she said. ”He would drop by the office from time to time after the new board took office, and we would talk about his love of gardening, classic books and movies. He enjoyed cooking as well and brought me a batch of homemade chocolate chip cookies.”
His legacy may be his involvement with the Senior Games. He was one of about 20 seniors who traveled to Bryson City to participate in the Far West Senior Games before the Cherokee County Senior Games was formed.
In the initial years, he co-chaired the Cherokee County games with Dr. Joe Keffer.
“Jim was an integral part n establishing the Senior Games of Cherokee County,” Keffer said. “He was a colorful character with a sound mind always willing to offer helpful insights and suggestions while serving on the board of the Senior Games.”
After sessions with the state headquarters of the games in Raleigh, Paul became the county’s ambassador for the games with his wife, Janet, Keffer said. In the role, he spoke at several civic organizations to promote the games and the benefits of participating. He was even known to drive around town with a Senior Games placard on his car.
Jim Bent, chairman of the Cherokee/Clay Senior Games/Silver Arts, said Paul tried just about every event he could. He recently placed first in his age group for bocce.
“He loved the Senior Games,” Bent said. “I could always count on him, that’s the thing. I was always grateful for him being there.”
The bocce ball court in Andrews was dedicated to him and his wife.
In 2008, he was named the N.C. Ernest B. Messer Senior Citizen of the Year.
Paul was originally from Ohio, where he owned a security and alarm business. He served in the U.S. Army from 1954-56. He moved to Andrews in 1974, where he worked several jobs, including at Ennis Home Center and Murphy Medical Center, before retiring and devoting his time to volunteer work.
Besides his involvement with the Senior Games, he volunteered in the home delivered meals program, was on the board of the American Cancer Society, served as chairman of the Andrews Alcohol Beverage Control board and as a Disabled American Veterans van driver.
The family plans to hold a memorial and Celebration of Life for Paul at 11 a.m. Saturday, March 14, at St. Andrew Lutheran Church, Andrews. In lieu of flowers, it is asked that memorials be made to either St. Andrew Lutheran Church, Cherokee County Home Delivered Meals, or Cherokee/Clay County Senior Games.