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Rutherfordton - Rev. James William Cathey, age 79, of Rutherfordton, NC, went home to be with the Lord and Savior June 5, 2014.
Left to cherish many wonderful memories are his wife of 60 years, Dolores Flowers Cathey; two daughters, Michele Logan and husband, Steve Logan, of Hoschton, GA and Marti Cathey of Rutherfordton, NC; one granddaughter, Rachel Julian Bland and husband, John Bland, of Spindale, NC; and one great granddaughter, Jordan Michele Bland. Also two sisters-in-law, Betty Holland and Ann Cathey; five nephews and four nieces.
Jim was preceded in death by his parents, William Andrew Cathey and Ruth Cathey of Andrews, NC; and his two brothers, Marion Vance Cathey of Andrews, NC and Daniel M. Cathey of Conway, SC.
Jim was born in Sylva, NC and grew up in Andrews, NC. He attended the University of Maryland and graduated from Fruitland Baptist Bible Institute.
He served 26 years in the US Air Force. The first 14 years he served as an Air Traffic Controller, and the last 12 years on the Secret Service Operations. He served two tours in Vietnam, also in Europe and the Pacific Bases.
Jim received 15 medals during his service, The Meritorious Service Medal with 1 Oak Leaf Cluster, the Bronze Star with 1 Oak Leaf Cluster, the Air Force Commendation Medal with 3 Oak Leaf Clusters, the Air Force Good Conduct Medal with 5 Oak Leaf Clusters, the Air Force Longevity Service Award with 5 Oak Leaf Clusters, the NCO Academy Ribbon, the National Defense Service Ribbon, the Air Force Presidential Unit Citation, the Air Force Outstanding Unit Award, the Vietnam Service Medal, The Republic of Vietnam Gallantry Cross With Palm, the Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal with 6 Oak Leaf Clusters, the Air Force Organizational Excellence Award, the Senior NCO Academy, and the Jimmy Doolittle Aero Space Foundation Award, at that time he was the only non-commissioned officer ever to receive the award. He retired from the Air Force in 1980.
Music has always been a large part of his family. Jim served as music director in the Protestant Chapels of the bases where he was stationed. After retiring from the Air Force, he was asked to serve as minister of music and evangelism at Chantilly (now Cornerstone) Baptist Church in Charlotte, NC. He served in that position for 4 years.
In 1984 he was ordained to the gospel ministry. He was then called to Piedmont Baptist Church of Rutherfordton, NC as their Pastor. He served in this position for 15 ½ years, the longest running pastor at that church ever. When he retired from Piedmont, he then served as interim minister of Pleasant Hill Baptist Church and Calvary Baptist Church.
Jim retired from the ministry in 2000. During his ministry, he served as volunteer chaplain at the County Jail and Rutherford Hospital. He was on the Board of Directors of the Spindale Prison until it was turned over to the State of NC. He served in these positions over a number of years until his health failed him in 2003.
The family will receive friends Friday, June 6, 2014 from 5 until 7 PM at Crowe's Funeral Home. A celebration of Jim's life will be conducted 3 PM Saturday, June 7, 2014 at Crowe's Funeral Home by Rev. Billy Honeycutt and Rev. Rick Wall. Burial will be in Calvary Baptist Church Cemetery with full military honors. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to Calvary Baptist Church or Hospice of Rutherford County.
When our journey of earth is finished, we believe Jim will be waiting at Heaven's gate with our Lord and Savior to welcome us home.
Jim was a friend to all and will be greatly missed. Welcome Home Thy Good and Faithful Servant.
We wish to thank Hospice House of Forest City, Crowe's Funeral Home and the Rutherford County Veterans Honor Guard for their services.
Online condolences at www.crowemortuary.com
The Cathey Family
141 Laurel Hill Drive Rutherfordton, NC 28139
Published in the Asheville Citizen-Times on June 6, 2014