The Obit For Jim McRae

James McRae

Published in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution on December 9, 2010

Franklin, NC James H. McRae died December 7, 2010, in Asheville, NC, after a short illness. Jim was born in Marietta, Ga., on March 24, 1924, the son of Ruth Campbell and Fred McRae. He grew up in Atlanta, Ga.

After serving in the U.S. Navy in the Pacific Northwest and the Aleutian Islands during World War II, he returned to Atlanta and played professional baseball in the minor leagues in towns from West Virginia to Florida before beginning a career in art.

He attended the Atlanta College of Art and later taught figure drawing there. Jim worked as an artist in several disciplines, earning success as a cartoonist and commercial artist before turning full time to painting.

He was a studio artist for nearly 60 years, working in various media but focusing on figurative painting, a field in which he earned distinction. His work is held in the collections of museums and collectors worldwide.

In 1973, he moved to Franklin and continued to work as an artist. He also enjoyed sports. A former amateur boxer, he coached the Franklin Boxing Club for several years. He began a long love affair with golf when he was 60, winning a number of local tournaments and playing with the "Dog Fight" at Mill Creek.

Jim is survived by his wife, Barbara, of almost 38 years, and by his children Keith McRae and wife Helen Talley-McRae of Decatur, Ga.; Leigh McRae and husband Morrill Hay of Atlanta, Ga.; Rebekah McRae and husband Michael Leverette of Woodstock, Ga.; and Samuel James McRae of Franklin, NC, and Baghdad, Iraq. Three grandchildren, three great-grandchildren and several nieces and nephews also survive.

In addition to his parents and three siblings, Jim was predeceased by his son Scott McRae.

In accordance with Jim's wishes, a small service is planned for family and close friends.

A public celebration of his life will be held in the spring.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to CareNet, Attn: Vanessa, 130 Bidwell St., Franklin, NC 28734 or a charity of one's choice. Bryant-Grant Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.

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