James Thomas Barkley, 93, died on August 29, 2019 at Novant Hospital in Matthews, NC. Jimmy, as he was known by his family, was born on June 3, 1926 in Mecklenburg County. He was the elder of two brothers born to Loretta Lawing and Audrey Barkley.
Jimmy was a member of the Greatest Generation. Coming from humble beginnings, he enlisted in the U.S. Navy at a young age, serving in the Asiatic-Pacific Theater during WWII. Before shipping out, Jimmy married his high school sweetheart, Evelyn Fesperman. After his honorable discharge from the Navy, they established a home and raised four children. They remained together for nearly 60 years until Evelyn passed away in 2003. Both were long-time members of Trinity United Methodist Church (UMC).
Jimmy was preceded in death by his wife Evelyn and his brother, Robert (Bob) Barkley. Survivors include four children: Pat Bolick (Paul), Lacy Barkley, Vicki Peterson (Matt) and Dave Barkley (Lori); his brother, John C. Barkley; eight grandchildren and six great-grand children.
He was an outdoor person who always stayed active. Besides his love for building and repairing anything - from toys to tractors - he had a special place in his heart for children and animals. Jimmy spoiled his children and grandchildren, who enjoyed riding on his tractor and loved watching him feed the wildlife in his backyard.
Jimmy got his General Contractor’s license in the late 60s. After the two older children married and moved out, he and Evelyn built each one a house and in 1979, they built their dream home at Old Bell Rd. He later worked as a real estate broker until his retirement.
During his short stay at Brookdale Assisted Living, he enjoyed listening to piano music and clapped to the old-time hymns. He was liked by everyone, especially the ladies at the dining table who are already missing him. Happy to the very end, Jimmy loved telling war stories about being a gunner on the USS Matar and funny anecdotes about his life as a little boy. He will be remembered by his kindness and great sense of humor.
A family graveside service will be held at 11:00 a.m. on Monday, September, 2, 2019 at Trinity UMC on 6230 Beatties Ford Road, Charlotte, NC 28216.
Memorial contributions can be made to The Humane Society of Charlotte and Trinity UMC Cemetery Fund.