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The ‘Community-Spirited’ James Dean Wilcox Passed Away on Saturday; Visitation Tonight at Hampton’s

James Wilcox

By Jesse Wood

Aug. 11, 2012. James Dean Wilcox passed away on Saturday morning, Aug. 11, 2012, at the age of 80. Born in Todd on July 9, 1932, Wilcox was a “community-spirited person,” according to his daughter Tina Kostis.

Aside from three terms on the Watauga County Board of Commissioners, he founded the Foscoe Ruritan Club; was president of the Mountaineer Ruratin Club in Cove Creek; and was involved with numerous organizations, serving on the boards of Northwestern Regional Housing Authority, Regional D Development Cooperation and the Watauga Medical Center. 

In 1992, Wilcox was awarded the Governor’s Award for “Outstanding Volunteer Service” for his volunteer work throughout the High Country and was an active member in the Watauga Baptist Church in Foscoe.  

“He tried to help everyone … He was an all-around nice person,” Kostis said. “He cared about everybody.” 

And his younger brother Bob Wilcox added, “He was a people person.” 

A staunch Republican, Wilcox always wanted to talk politics, his brother said. 

Kostis said that even though he was a Republican, he was bipartisan, willing to work across the aisle to get things done for the greater good of the community. 

“It didn’t matter if you were a Democrat or Republican. When he was in there, they all worked together,” Kostis said. “He was just that type of person.” 

Wilcox married Mary Aldridge on January 26, 1952, and the two celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary this year.  

According to the Boone Docks Wilcox blog, “James loved nothing more than to spend time with his family and friends, and especially loved the time he got to spend with them at the beach. He could often be seen skating with family members, attending sporting events, or chatting with a complete stranger. He also loved riding and showing horses with his son, Mike, and his youngest daughter, Tina.”

Also, he loved to drive his 1962 red Mustang in local parades.

Wilcox ran a skating rink in various places in the High Country, including Skateworld near Vilas for the past 18 years. He enjoyed roller skating until his last knee surgery and even met his wife at the old skating rink above Western Union Bus Terminal on Depot Street. 

Upon graduating from Appalachian High School in 1950, he joined the Air Force, serving as an air traffic control specialist in the Korean War. When Wilcox came back to Boone, following his military service, he worked at the Western Union Bus Terminal for nearly 20 years. After which, he opened Wilcox Freight Company, which is still in service, along with Skateworld. 

James is survived by his wife, Mary, as well as one son and three daughters, Mike Wilcox and wife, Joanna, of Vilas; Sherry Russom and husband, Charles Rose, of Boone; Sandy Wilcox of Vilas; and Tina Kostis and husband, George, of Vilas. James and Mary have six grandsons, Scott Russom of Boone; Garrick Jackson and wife, Amber, of Zionville; Jeremy Russom of Vilas; Jason Jackson and wife, Kendra, of Boone; Savva Kostis and wife, Stephanie, of Boone; and Demetreus Kostis of Vilas. Together, they also have four great-grandchildren, Daniel and Nora Russom, and Gracie and Ellary Jackson. James is also survived by seven brothers and sisters, Opal Dancey of Cleveland, Ohio; Ruth Hicks and husband, Mack, of Boone; Bob Wilcox and wife, Barbara, of Blowing Rock; Junior Wilcox of Boone; Charles “Butch” Wilcox and wife, Phyllis, of Lincolnton; Sue Reece of Trade, Tennessee; Billy Wilcox and wife, Nita, of Vilas along with James’ special nephew, Luke, and many, many extended family members and loved ones. James is preceded in death by his parents, Mr. and Mrs. Arden and Floy Wilcox.

Visitation and Funeral Service Times

The family will receive friends at Hampton’s Funeral Home on Monday evening, August 13, 2012 from 6-8 p.m. The funeral service will be held at Watauga Baptist Church in Foscoe, NC on Tuesday, August 14, 2012 at 2:00 pm. His body will lie in state from 1:00 – 2:00 p.m. Following the funeral, a graveside service with military rites and burial with honors provided by American Legion Post 130 will be at Mount Lawn Cemetery. Donations are appreciated to local charities in the High Country. Online condolences may be sent to the Wilcox family at www.hamptonfuneralnc.com. Hampton Funeral and Cremation Service is in charge of the arrangements.