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James Howard Jim Early Jr.
1939 - 2021
Salem Funerals & Cremations - Reynolda Rd.
2951 Reynolda Rd.
Winston-Salem, NC
Early, Jr., James Howard

May 6, 1939 - June 21, 2021

James Howard Early, Jr (Jim), 82, of Winston-Salem passed away peacefully on June 21, 2021, after suffering a stroke several weeks prior.

Jim was born in Henderson, NC before moving to Winston-Salem as a young boy. He is a proud graduate of Wake Forest University (B.A. & J.D.). Jim practiced law for many years before founding the North Carolina Barbecue Society, which honors our state's history and love for the art of smoked meats. Jim sought to create spaces where people could finesse their barbecuing skills, swap stories, and bond over fine food. He curated experiences and connections for barbecue lovers by hosting cooking camps and through the publication of a monthly magazine called Pigtails. Jim also shared his passion for food by authoring two books: The Best Tar Heel Barbecue: Manteo to Murphy and Jim Early's Reflections: The Memories and Recipes of a Southern Cook.

Prior to his death, Jim might be found hunting, fishing, horseback riding, or barbequing with friends and family. His children remember a dad who presented red roses to his daughters during father-daughter "dates," spent time outdoors with his son, carved exquisite jack-o'-lanterns, and always sought adventure. Jim taught us how to live large and appreciate beauty. He was an artist, a yarn-spinner, a hopeless romantic, and a faithful servant of the Lord.

Jim loved to share his award-winning pimento cheese with friends far and wide. We would be remiss in our remembrance to not share his recipe here:

New South Jalapeno Pimento Cheese

Prep time – 25 min. Makes 6.5 cups

• 2 (8-oz.) blocks extra-sharp Cheddar cheese, shredded

• 1 (8-oz.) block mild Cheddar cheese, shredded

• 1 (8-oz.) package cream cheese, softened

• 1/2 cup of cashew pieces

• 2 (7-oz.) jars diced pimiento, drained

• 1 (12-oz.) jar roasted red bell peppers, drained

• ½ cup drained pickled jalapeño pepper slices

• ¼ cup mayonnaise

• 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce

Jim is preceded in death by his beloved parents and two sisters.

Surviving are his three children, James H. Early III, Anna E. Early, and Mary Early Suhr, and two grandchildren, Charlotte and James Lindsey. A private graveside ceremony will be held in Winston-Salem. A celebration of Jim's life, to take place at a later date, will be communicated. Rest assured, the celebration will feature delicious barbecue and fellowship with friends and family.

Our family would like to thank Dr. Franklin S. Watkins and his team for the wonderful care of our dad. In memory of Jim please consider supporting the Sticht Center at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center, which provides geriatric care.

Online condolences may be made at

Salem Funerals and Cremations

2951 Reynolda Road, Winston-Salem, NC 27106
Published by Winston-Salem Journal on Jul. 4, 2021.
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2 Entries
I have childhood memories of Jim when he and family lived on Patterson Ave in Winston-Salem. My dad, Lloyd was a brother of Jim's father. We loved to visit the big house and enjoy the love and warmth in their home. Time was a joker and lots of fun!
Carol Early Graham
August 8, 2021
Good Man Many Memories
Kenneth Phillips
July 5, 2021
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