James Francis Nelms
James Francis Nelms
  • May 18, 1927 - May 17, 2017
  • Charlottesville, Virginia

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James (Jim) F. Nelms, 89, passed away on Wednesday, May 17, 2017, just two hours shy of his 90th birthday. He was born in Surgoinsville, TN on May 18, 1927 to John L. Nelms and Ardis Henard Nelms. In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by his wife, Nell Jo Anderson Nelms, to whom he was faithfully married for 62 years.

He is survived by his sister, Martha Nelms Potter, of Kingsport, TN, and his three sons: John (Debbie) of Advance, NC; Jimmy (Julie) of Charlottesville, VA; and Joe David (Annette) of Lindale, TX. He is also survived by his five grandchildren: Jared, Jessica, Grace, Joy and Hope along with several nieces and nephews.

Jim graduated from the University of Tennessee in 1948. He then went on to serve 18 months in the U.S. Navy before graduating from UT Law School in 1951. Upon completion of his law degree Jim served one year as a lawyer for the Federal Trade Commission.

In 1952 Jim married his beloved Jo and started his career with State Farm Insurance as a claims adjuster. He progressed quickly up the ranks from Claims Adjuster to Claim Superintendant in Johnson City, TN to Divisional Claim Superintendant in Murfreesboro, TN to Regional Manager for St. Louis, MO before settling in Charlottesville, VA as Deputy Regional Vice President, where he served for 23 years. In all, Jim’s career with State Farm spanned 40 years before retiring in 1992. During his time with State Farm, he and Jo raised three wonderful sons and had the opportunity to travel extensively with the SF Millionaire’s Club from 1982-1992.

Since retirement Jim enjoyed being a ranger at UVA’s Birdwood Country Club and attending many UVA sporting events throughout the years. Jim also served as a deacon and trustee for First Baptist Church, as a board member for the Rotary Club, the Ronald McDonald House, the Salvation Army, and he was part of the Scottish Rite.

Jim touched many lives over the years. He saw the potential in people and was good at pointing it out. He was intentional with his words and he left a trail of encouragement behind him because of it. He will be truly missed.

A memorial service will be conducted 11 a.m. Saturday, May 27, 2017 at the First Baptist Church on Park Street with Reverend Joel Jenkins officiating and a reception to follow from 12-2 p.m. For those interested, there will be an opportunity to meet with the family before the service from 10-11 a.m. in the sanctuary. A small family interment service will be conducted 2 p.m. Sunday, May 28, 2017 at the Monte Vista Memorial Park in Johnson City, TN.

In lieu of flowers, please send donations to Salvation Army of Charlottesville, VA, 207 Ridge Street, Charlottesville, VA 22902