Friday, December 26, 2014

From: Anita Moss [awmoss@uncc.edu]

The recent reminiscences about our dear Jim have comforted me in the last few days as I have tried to comprehend the enormity of this loss to Jim's family, to our English Department, to his many friends, and especially to our students.  

Several mutual students have contacted me grief-stricken.  Some of you may know that in August, 1973, Jim, Connie Rothwell, and I moved into Denny 201.  The University was growing dramatically, and office space was scarce, and what a delightful circumstance that was.  We were young and idealistic, and we loved our work.  We also had so much fun, mostly due to Jim's droll mimicry and sense of the absurd.  I hope that many of you have experienced Jim's amazingly accurate impersonation of Queen Elizabeth II.  We were known to compose naughty limericks at the expense of some of our senior colleagues.  

Jim was truly a musical being, and he loved the popular music of his youth (and mine).  I especially enjoyed his versions of doo-wop tunes.  He once performed in 'Fifties attire before more than a hundred CMS teachers "Going to the Chapel of Love."  I can picture that performance vividly. 

Jim McGavran lit up every room that he entered and brought life and joy to all fortunate enough to know him.  He was my cherished friend and colleague for forty-one years--not nearly enough. He often greeted me this way:  "Hail to thee, Blithe Spirit, bright sprite of the whirling room."  The "Whirling Room" was Jim's name for Denny 201.  And how hard it is to bid that precious blithe spirit, Jim, a final farewell.  We shall miss his voice and presence painfully in the months to come.

Anita

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