James Hawley McKinnon Jr.

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Aug. 30, 1940 — March 11, 2018

James Hawley McKinnon Jr. 77, of Wilson, died Sunday morning, March 11, with his wife Louise by his side. Jim was born in Hamlet, Aug. 30, 1940, to Ida Johnson and James H. McKinnon. Ordained as a minister of Word and Sacrament in the Presbyterian Church U.S. on Sept. 22, 1968, Jim served churches throughout North Carolina; first as an associate in Fayetteville, and then as senior pastor in Morehead City, Charlotte and Wilson, where he retired after 26 years as senior pastor of First Presbyterian Church. Although in declining health, he continued to serve part-time in Pinetops and finally to simply preach from his scooter at Bethany Presbyterian Church until the week before his death.

Taking seriously the directives in the sixth chapter of Micah, this wise, kind, gentle man lived his life doing justice, loving kindness and walking humbly with his God. He shared his gifts freely as a friend, mentor and minister, not only in the Presbyterian church at a local, presbytery and synod level, but throughout his community. As he did so, he gave to each of us the gift of his presence and shared with us the wondrous love of God. There is an anonymous quote that describes his life of faith: “Some people come into our lives and quickly go. Some stay awhile and leave footprints on our hearts. And we are never the same.”

Jim is survived by his wife of 51 years, Louise Cherry McKinnon, and their two sons who are also Presbyterian ministers, James III “Trip,” and his wife, Angie, of Brunswick, Georgia and John, and his wife, Darci, of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. He experienced deep joy with his four grandchildren, John Brandon and Rebecca Louise (Brunswick, Georgia) and Aidan Gayle and Ian McKay (Oklahoma City, Oklahoma).

Jim was preceded in death by his grandson, James “Jamie” Hawley McKinnon IV.

A service of witness to the resurrection will be held 2 p.m. Thursday, March 14 at First Presbyterian Church in Wilson. The family will receive friends 5 - 8 p.m. Wednesday, March 14, in Clark Hall at First Presbyterian and also following the service on Thursday.

Since the spring of 2012, Jim mentored Louise as she has coordinated a weekend feeding program for the chronically hungry students in the Wilson County public school system. This 501c(3) all-volunteer nonprofit that receives no federal funding continues its mission to see that no child in Wilson County is prevented from learning, growing and developing his or her potential because of hunger. To echo Jim’s ministry the family requests that, in lieu of flowers, memorials be sent to the Children’s Hunger Elimination of Wilson (CHEW), P.O. Box 728, Wilson, NC 27894-728.