Mr. James C. "Jimmy" McGuirt, 69, formerly of Lancaster, passed away Tuesday, Sept. 24, 2013 in Houston.
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He was born Nov. 10, 1943 in Lancaster, a son of the late James Douglas McGuirt and Thelma Aletha Thompson McGuirt. He grew up in the Hyde Park area, attended Chesterfield Avenue Elementary and Lancaster Junior and Senior Highs, graduating with the class of 1964. During high school Jim worked for Baker Signs and Displays and also taught swimming as a WSI while managing the city swimming pool.
Jim played and excelled in various sports in school and recreation leagues, including basketball, baseball, track events and football. He was part of the 1959 LHS football team that won the state championship and was honored in 2009 in Lancaster on the 50th anniversary of that event. He was also part of a group of former University of Miami football players to participate in ceremonies at the last UM game played in the Miami Orange Bowl stadium in November of 2007.
After his LHS athletic career and numerous awards, Jim won football scholarships which provided his college degrees. He attended Henderson County Junior College in Athens, Texas and led teams to a Shrine Bowl appearance in 1964 and Junior College Rose Bowl appearances in Pasadena, California, 1965. At the University of Miami Jim played fullback on two more bowl teams; the Liberty Bowl in Memphis, 1966; and the Bluebonnet Bowl, Houston, 1967. Jim earned his bachelors degree in education from University of Miami, where he also student-coached football prior to becoming an assistant coach at Miami Coral High School and Miami Springs High.
In addition, he was a popular teacher of physical education at Miami Springs Elementary and Glenn H. Curtiss Elementary. In 1970, he was recruited out of the classroom to work as a trainer at "Whopper College" for the Burger King Company which began his career in food service.
He joined the Marriott Corporation in 1971 as a management trainee in the Airline Catering and rapidly advanced positions of General Manager, District, City, and Regional General Manager with Marriott In-Flight Services. He worked at various airports including Miami, Ft. Lauderdale, Atlanta and Phoenix.
While in Phoenix, the division was sold and Jim worked a while for the buy-out company Caterair International before moving to Houston, Texas, to work for Continental Airlines' Chelsea Catering where he installed an in-house bakery and money saving food service strategies which helped the airline advance from bankruptcy.
Next, he moved to Dulles Airport in Washington, D.C. with Dobbs/Gate Gourmet. Appropriate for an athlete, he finished his food career as director of stadium operations at Robert F. Kennedy Stadium in Washington, D.C.; during the inaugural year of the Nationals Baseball Club 2005.
Jim loved sports, travel and golf and was fortunate to combine those interests into numerous trips which involved all. He especially was thrilled to play golf at St. Andrews in Scotland, Turtle Bay in Hawaii, and Singapore.
Favorite travel destinations were Amsterdam; Zurich, Switzerland; Brugge, Belgium; London; Alaska; Vancouver, Canada; and all of the Pacific Northwest.
He was a member and officer of Miami Springs Men's Golf Association; Flat Creek Club in Peachtree City, Ga.; and Walden on Lake Houston in Humble, Texas.
As a member and elected officer of various service clubs Jim contributed hours of community service as a Jaycee, Loyal Order of Moose and Blessed Trinity's, Monsignor Edward Pace, and McIntosh High Parent's Associations.
Jim cherished his Lancaster High School friends and was thrilled to attend numerous reunions with his classmates including one planned cruise trip reunion from Florida. During his recent illness he was most gratified to hear from and enjoyed visits and conversations with so many of his classmates, family and friends from Lancaster who kept his spirits soaring.
Jim's proudest accomplishments were as a devoted family man to his wife, Judy; daughter, Jamey Shannon McGuirt of Humble, Texas; son JonDavid Walker McGuirt of Flowery Branch, Ga. and his wife, the former Kim Roach of Hiawassee, Ga.; and granddaughters, Morgan Gail and Miranda Walker McGuirt. He is also survived by brother, William McGuirt of Lancaster; sister-in-law, Mary Lucy McGuirt of Lake Toxaway, N.C.; nephews, Mark McGuirt of Charleston and Eric McGuirt and family of Bettendorf, Iowa; and numerous cousins including Jim Brady McGuirt of Lancaster and Jessie Ruth Piacenza of Andrews.
A service to celebrate the life of Mr. McGuirt is 2 p.m. Saturday, September 28, at Lancaster Funeral Home Chapel with the Rev. Mike Hammond, Mr. Jerry Vaughn, Mr. Bill Long and Mr. Vann Mullis officiating. Burial will be in the Lancaster Memorial Park.
The family received friends from 6 to 8 p.m. Friday, September 27, at Lancaster Funeral Home.
In lieu of flowers the family requests memorial contributions may be made to University of Miami Athletics, c/o Rick Remmert/Director of Alumni Programs, 5821 San Amaro Drive, Coral Gables, Florida 33146 and online to firstname.lastname@example.org or to
in Memphis, Tenn.
Notes to the family may be made at www.lancasterfuneralhome.com.
Lancaster Funeral Home & Cremation Service is serving the family of Mr. McGuirt.
Published in The Lancaster News on Sept. 29, 2013