Spotlight on Jim Reavis

                    JAMES CLYDE REAVIS, JR.



                                     Alexander Graham Bell   


   Born in Salisbury, North Carolina in 1944, Jim was the first child of Mildred Benton Reavis and James Clyde Reavis, Sr.  His dad was an embalmer for Summerset Funeral Home and also a Highway Patrol Officer, which to me is an interesting combination. Jim’s mother was an Executive Administrator for Bruce Levin CPC.  He had one brother, Charles Benton Reavis, who is years younger.  Ben is a retired high school music and drama teacher of 47 years in Maryland and now is the Music Director of St Marks UMC and teaching at a local community college.

    Jim’s family moved to Winston Salem in 1956 and originally lived in the Hanes High School area where Jim played fullback and linebacker for the Pop Warner Tiny Grey Hounds.    During this time, Jim’s athletic prowess shined as did the record of the Tiny Greyhounds.  They were the only team in two years that defeated the Tiny Demons and for two years in a row went to bowl games, the first one in Lincoln, Nebraska and the next year in Houston, Texas.

    After a while, the family moved to the other side of Winston-Salem, across the street from Ardmore school, and as Jim says, “we were finally in RJR land.”  Jim went out for football and played junior varsity, then varsity under legendary Coach Shirley (Red) Wilson with teammates Bubba Brockwell, Reid Warren, Bob Blair, Steve Blake, Tom Ogburn and many others. Jim also ran track and was inducted into the Monogram Club. 

     Socially, Jim considered himself a shy guy with much of his social life centered around the Green Street United Methodist Church, where they had a large Methodist Youth Group.  Now, looking back, Jim can clearly see how from early on, God’s hand guided him through practically every facet of his life and helped prepare him for his rewarding life today. 

     After graduating from high school, Jim went to Appalachian State where he majored in Business Administration and Biology.   After college, like so many of us, he went into the military, winding up in the Army.  Soon he was sent to Viet Nam where he was stationed in Bien Hoa, An Loc, Ben Tre and other locations.  His duties included light infantry, military police, and of all things, working in the 2nd Civil Affairs unit as a liaison between the US forces and the civilian villages. (If that was not a sign that God was preparing him for what was to come many years later, I don’t know what would be.) Jim advanced in rank, rapidly going from PFC to Sergeant, and also apparently impressing his Company Commander so much with his sensitivity to the emotions of others that Jim wasasked to write letters home to families of soldiers killed in action, which was certainly a heart rendering and extremely difficult task.

     After the Army, Jim went to work for Macke Vending in Gastonia NC as commissary manager then moved to the Atlanta area to work for Edwards Baking Company and finally Pillsbury/General Mills in the food production industry.  Most of Jim’s jobs have been in administration with a variety of duties, but all during his business life, wherever he was working, he had always maintained an open door policy.  In his office or his cubicle, there was always a Bible and devotional material nearby, and there were scriptures on the walls. Jim said that for whatever the reason, almost all of his life, folks seemed to gravitate into his office and just want to talk about issues that were bothering them and sometimes ask for prayer.  Frequently, Jim would ponder whether God might have a greater plan for him.

    In 1971 Jim was married and had one child, but after twenty years, this marriage ended in divorce.  In 1992, Jim married again, this time to Galen Becker, and they have currently been married for 27 years and still counting.  Together, they have three children:  (1) James L. Reavis anspouse Amy of Walnut Grove, Georgia, (2) Mathew R Reuschle and spouse Giuliana of Buford, Georgia, and (3) Jessica R Welch  and spouse Warren Welch of Dawsonville, Georgia.  Altogether, they have eight grandchildren.  Rebekah 18yr, Rachel 16yr, Elijah 16yr, Alesandra 13yr, Paxton 8yr, Charleston 6yr, Moses 4yr, Harrison 3yr.

    Throughout most of his life, Jim had been a busy hardworking family man and all the while has remained a devout Christian and a long-time member of Grayson United Methodist Church.  When he was sixty two, however, on the Wednesday before Easter, he was downsized from the business world, and for a short while began to wonder what he would do with the rest of his life.  And as Alexander Graham Bell once said, "When one door closes another door opens”.  And low and behold, it happened:  It just came out of the blue.  Since he was no longer employed, it was the first time in years that he had the time to go to the Wednesday night church supper.  There, the minister came up to him and told him there was an opening for a mission trip to Mexico.  “Can you go?” the minister asked.   It was a no-brainer. Jim immediately replied with an outspoken and an affirmative, “yes!”   Suddenly, a whole new world opened up to him:

    Since that time, and over the last many years, Jim went on more mission trips, including trips to Mexico, Honduras, South America and the Dominican Republic, where he helped to build homes, churches and taught Bible studies to children and adults.  “My lifetime calling had suddenly become crystal clear,” Jim said.  “I decided to move forward with what I knew deep down all along had been where God wanted me to go:  I would become a minister for Christ!”  I went into intense training with a mentor who was a local pastor, and I studied from what is called the Purple Book.”  Just before completing this intense Purple Book course, however, a time came when Jim faced another let down.  To his dismay, he was told that he was too old and would not be approved as an ordained minister.  But Jim had faith and with the power of God’s calling, he would not be dissuaded.  He forged forward on his own and completed the Purple Book, then audited courses at Emory University.      

    Senior Pastor Phil had been taking notice of Jim’s hard work, his relentless drive, and his significant accomplishments.  The senior pastor approached Jim, and asked if he would join his staff as minister of visitation at Gainesville United Methodist Church.  Like his prayer had been answered, Jim immediately and enthusiastically accepted the call, knowing that he would be doing something that he loved.  And that is what Jim does today and has been doing for the past many years.  Jim says that he visits folks in the hospital and in their homes or wherever the need arises. “And, I love every moment of it!” Jim declares.

    As Jim grew into this ministry, he was asked to officiate at the Celebration of Life services.  At first he was reluctant because he was not certain if he was qualified, since he was not formally ordained.  He asked Dr. Phil Schroeder and Dr. Quinn Hand, who at the time were both professors at Emory University, whether this was acceptable. Both told him that “the people you serve by your sharing God’s love have ordained you.” So, Jim decided, “In one way, you might say, I am ordained.”  With those credentials, Jim has held the hands and shared tears with many as they were ushered into heaven. 

     Jim has the philosophy that - showing even just a little bit of God’s love goes a long way.  As the current Director of Visitation at Gainesville First United Methodist Church, Jim has experienced many great moments, which are way too numerous to enumerate, but the following is just a few of the highlights, which Jim treasures. 

     On the joyous side, Jim has been at births and seen these new born infants grow up and go to college and out into life.  “What a joy it has been for me to see a wild adolescent child, whose parents had once written off, then through love and prayer, go on to grow up and settle down, and become productive, God-loving people.  Jim attributes these successes to the power of God’s love and again emphasizes that - “Just a little love goes a long way?” 

  Jim tells of a very special day when he was at the hospital early one morning with a lady who had to undergo brain surgery. Just before her surgery, a high school student was rushed to the hospital with a cracked skull and emergency surgery was required.   “The only brain surgeon at the hospital at that time was there to perform the brain surgery on my lady,” Jim explains. “With God’s love in her heart, my lady quickly and graciously told the medical personnel to delay her surgery, and let her doctor perform the surgery for the injured teenager.” As she and Jim waited, they prayed together for the young man.  Later, after her surgery and the young man’s surgery were completed, the first thing the lady asked upon her recovery, was, “How is the young man?”  At that point, Jim didn’t know, but nevertheless, the lady’s concern confirmed that prayer and the love of God, brings out the best in all of us.

   Thereupon, just after Jim left the lady’s room, while he was walking down the hall to another area of the hospital, he saw the family of the young man.  They were visibly upset as they gathered around their loved one, who was unconscious and whose head was covered in bandages.  Jim was informed that the young man had not awakened since his early morning surgery.  His father told Jim that they did not go to Jim’s church, nor were they of Jim’s religion, but nevertheless, he asked, “Can or will you pray with us?”     

     Jim replied, “There is one God for all of us, and I will be honored to pray for you and your family.”  As they all stood around the young man’s bed, everyone holding hands, Jim will never forget, just as he finished the prayer, just as the family was thanking him, the young man opened his eyes and smiles and joy enveloped the group.  Prayer had brought the young man through the ordeal.

    “There are many more stories like this, but you get the idea,” Jim said, then added, “at the risk of sounding like a preacher, I must say that we all should listen to God’s Word and obey him in God’s name.” 

    There is no doubt that Jim has found his niche.  He has no retirement plans and intends to keep on as a visitation minister as long as he is physically able to do the job.  (Jim’s doctor says for being almost 75 years old Jim is physically fit and can pass for 50.  With that in mind, Jim he hopes to serve a long time.  

    We of the RJR62 Class are very proud of Jim Reavis for a life well lived and for the great difference he has made and continues to make in the lives of God children.  Thank you, Jim for letting me tell your story.


                           Respectfully submitted,


                              Danny T. Ferguson