James Hewitt McGown, age 66, of Athens, passed away at home on Thursday, March 7, 2013.
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A big-hearted and wise man, Jim McGown was born on March 30, 1946, in Lynbrook, N.Y., to Hewitt Roe McGown and Jeanette McDougal McGown. He grew up in nearby Garden City, on Long Island.
After graduating from McGill University, in Montreal, Quebec, Jim came to Athens as a young Naval officer for training at the U.S. Navy Supply Corps School. While in Athens, he met his future wife, Jane Foster. After one year's service in the Philippine Islands, he married Jane in September of 1972.
In 1973, Jim and Jane moved to Athens to make their home. The majority of their years together in Athens were spent in the historic Bloomfield neighborhood, among an affectionate and close-knit community of neighbors. Jim and Jane celebrated their 40th wedding anniversary there last year.
Jim was the proud and dedicated father of Todd Foster McGown Elihu and Evan Hewitt McGown, both of Athens. Todd and his wife, Baraka, are the parents of 5-year-old granddaughter Akasha, much adored by her loving ""Big Baba.""
Jim's primary drive in life was a deep love for all of humanity; he continually sought to embody the radical and courageous love of Christ wherever it was needed. He served as an ambassador and advocate for love and peace in many forms: he was instrumental in the establishment of the Athens Area Homeless Shelter; he served on the board of the Samaritan Counseling Center of Northeast Georgia; he mentored youth through the Clarke County Mentor Program and taught computer skills and chess at Barrow Elementary; he served as Director of UGA's Presbyterian Student Center for many years; he was a long-time elder at First Presbyterian Church and a frequent delegate to General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A); and in the last years of his life, he was tirelessly active in the Israeli-Palestinian peace movement and a fervent advocate of justice for the Palestinian people, even traveling to the Middle East and visiting congressmen on the issue.
Blessed with a bright mind and an active curiosity, Jim possessed a lifelong love for learning, especially as a scholar of Christianity. Jim educated Christians as a mentor in the 4-year Education for Ministry program through the University of the South. In his retirement, he completed a Master of Religion degree from UGA, as well as continuing his study of piano and music, the latter of which brought joy to many who remember his beautiful Irish tenor voice, which readily came out with a smile and shining spirit.
A memorial service will be held at 11 a.m. on Saturday, March 16, at the First Presbyterian Church of Athens, 185 East Hancock Avenue. Dr. Glenn Doak will officiate, assisted by the Revs. Bob Googe and Andy Cooke. Choral accompaniment will be provided by the Athens Voices of Truth.
A reception will be held in the fellowship hall after the service.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to one of the following: Presbyterian Student Center, 1250 S. Lumpkin St., Athens, GA 30605; Jubilee Partners, P.O. Box 68, Comer, GA 30629; or The Israel-Palestine Mission Network of the Presbyterian Church, 100 Witherspoon St., Louisville, KY, 40202-1396.
Lord & Stephens Funeral Home East, Athens, is in charge of the arrangements.
Published in Athens Banner-Herald from Mar. 10 to Mar. 15, 2013