James Edward Eaton, Jr. passed away peacefully Monday, September 25th at 4:50 PM after a difficult, uncomplaining, years-long battle with multiple types of cancer.
Budge, as his hometown local friends and his family knew him, was born and raised in Charlotte and graduated from West Mecklenburg High School in 1966. He was preceded in death by his parents, James Edward Eaton, Sr. and Margy Eaton. Budge leaves behind his faithful wife, Gail Streeter Eaton; 12 adoring children—Scot (Ann), Lisa Lahey (George), Laurie Cisneros (Darin), Brandy Lee (Mark), David (Heather), Jennifer Ellermeier (Mark), James Edward Eaton III (Alisha), Tim (Sarra), Brooke Barragan (Chris), Ashley Schuwer (Paul), Mallory (Andrew), and Gessie; 47 (and counting) delightful grandchildren; one exquisite great-grandchild; and his treasured younger siblings Susan Bott, Tim (Susan), and Shelley Hudson (David).
Budge was a lover of Jesus Christ, Carolina beaches, beach music, hats, burnt popcorn, ice cream eaten out of the container (often with at least one grandkid sitting on the counter and eating it with him), hard work, and his enormous family—especially the
His professional life was spent in many entrepreneurial and creative pursuits, as well as many years as an award-winning salesman and in corporate executive positions.
In recent years, he was the owner of one of Charlotte's historic buildings—the same one where the legendary Studio East recorded albums for many great local and national artists over several decades—and recently renovated it and created a state-of-the-art studio.
Budge loved music and co-founded and performed with one of the original Carolina beach music bands, the Poor Souls, along with his brother Tim while still a teenager.
At Budge's request, his graveside service, to be held Friday morning, will be a small, private assembly limited to his not-small-at-all immediate family. Budge's desire was that his family enjoy a big, noisy party together rather than eulogizing at a somber funeral.
We feel certain that Budge will quickly resume his "projects" (always projects) in the spirit world, meeting each with ingenuity and vision, and anxiously (and now painlessly) engaging in all the learning and serving that he possibly can. We take comfort in the belief that he will remain close to each of us as an angelic, paternal guardian, and will be busily preparing an eternal beach mansion where he will welcome his family members home, one by one.
Our husband and father and grandaddy and brother and friend and counselor is adored immensely and will be sorely missed, but ever fondly remembered every single day, and especially every 4th of July week when many of his family will gather at Sunset Beach, NC, to continue the happy "beach trip" tradition that he loved so much. His solution to just about any problem or trouble was "Let's go to the beach!"