James Strong Huneycutt, DDS
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December 18, 1931 - September 11, 2013
On September 11, 2013, James S. Huneycutt, or "Doc" as he was affectionately known to patients and friends, passed from this world. A Dentist by profession, he was born in Appalachia, Virginia on December 18, 1931 to Ora and William Huneycutt, the sixth of eight children. He is survived by his wife, Mavis Ellen Huneycutt, of Spartanburg, South Carolina, and his younger brother Phil, two sons, James Strong Huneycutt, Jr. of Richmond, Virginia, and Dr. William Scott Huneycutt of Pocatello, Idaho, as well as four grandchildren. He joins his sisters Elizabeth Masters, Jane Asher, and Ruth Trammel, and brothers Bus, Ralph, and Ben.
James attended Appalachia High School where he played football for the Bulldogs, co-captaining the team his senior year in 1950 to an impressive season that saw "the Dawgs" undefeated, untied, and unscored upon. After high school he attended Northeast Mississippi Junior College where he played offensive center and nose guard, before following his brother Ralph Huneycutt to the University of Tennessee. Ralph had established himself as starting center of the 1949 Cotton Bowl Team after serving in the Navy in the second World War. During his two years at the University of Tennessee, James practiced alongside and befriended Doug Atkins, considered by many to be the greatest lineman in the history of professional football.
After transferring to Wofford College in Spartanburg, South Carolina, his attention turned to a pre-medical curriculum in Chemistry, and a local independent-minded beauty, Mavis Ellen Giles, whom he pursued with teh same reckless abandon he displayed on the gridiron. After graduation in 1954, he received an invitation from the United States Army to join the Cold War. Before leaving for duty with the Chemical Corps at Fort McClellan, Alabama, he had the good fortune to marry Mavis on April 2nd, 1955. They occupied married quarters in Anniston during his active duty, and Mavis worked at the post as an army secretary.
Upon his discharge from the military, James was accepted into dental school at the Medical College of Virginia, where he graduated in 1960. After purchasing a house in Colonial Heights, he opened his dental practice in the summer of 1960. His first son was born in October of that year, followed by William "Scott" two years later.
During his 35 years as a practicing dentist, James was active in the Kiwanis Club, the American Dental Association, and the Virginia Dental Association, where he served as President. As his practice grew, so did his skills and areas of expertise. However, building a successful dental practice was never enough for his entrepreneurial spirit. James started or assisted in the formation of numerous ventures, including a cemetery, a dental practice education business, a water treatment company, a computerized medical billing firm, construction of a medical office complex, and a health club consulting business. If a venture flourished, he rarely took credit, but if the endeavor proved less than successful, he always took full personal and financial responsibility.
His hobbies included woodworking, farming, his green house, scuba diving, hunting, and fishing. He enjoyed his hobbies with his sons, friends from all walks of life, and his beloved rat terrier, Skippy.
With his wife Mavis by his side, supporting him in all ways, and correcting him when needed, James had a life partner in all ways. Her intuition about people was never wrong, her mind was always sharp and clear, and her love and devotion to her family was unquestioned. James was equally comfortable with and told the same jokes to all men, whether they were millionaires, doctors, attorneys, or judges, or men struggling with substance abuse and financial ruin. James was known to bail his friends out of jail, organize interventions, and pay for college educations without ever expecting anything in return.
James was always the first to come to the aid of a friend, and the last to leave a good party.
Published in Idaho State Journal on Sept. 15, 2013