James Oscar Hathorn, 86, of Newport and formerly of Kinston, passed away on April 30, 2021, and made his final trip to live with his Lord and Savior.
Tribute lovingly writing by his daughter, Rebecca Mooring:
Through all the ups and downs in our lives, the one truth that Sue and I always knew was that our daddy loved us. James Oscar Hathorn danced with us standing on his feet, sent us to the store with instructions to “get something good” which usually included his favorite candy and a root beer, and could tell stories that had everyone laughing. Daddy’s great talents included reading every book known to man, improvising music on his guitar or piano, sticking his finger in the middle of Mama’s pies, and loving his girls. The one skill that he was particularly proud of was remembering everyone’s name. In his time at Harmony Hall, Daddy could introduce us to every employee and resident that he saw; even in his later years when his hearing wasn’t so good and “Robert” might become “Richard”, he never gave up calling everyone by a name, even if it wasn’t quite the one they were used to.
Daddy loved to travel; the greatest of Dad’s journeys was his maneuvering our car from NC down two-lane blacktops, through every small town imaginable, and arriving home in Bassfield MS to see family and lots of friends. Traveling with Dad, though, was an experience in itself; he kept the car in an Artic deepfreeze, so Mama had to take along every coat and sweater we possessed, and rest room breaks coincided with the gas tank’s need to be filled if we were back in the car before the gas cap got replaced. The one exception to that rule was stopping at Stuckey’s; going by a Stuckey’s without stopping was almost blasphemy because Daddy loved their pecan logs better than anything.
Daddy grew up in Bassfield, MS with his sister, Bettye Hathorn Clark, and brother Earl Hathorn; his father, Earl Levon Hathorn operated the grocery store while his mother, Dorothy Gillespie Hathorn kept the house running smoothly. During his school years, Daddy played football, baseball, and basketball and managed to keep some mischief going at the same time. He loved sports all his life. Last year, Sue’s job was reading all the sports scores to him, no matter the team or the sport.
Mary L. Smith and Daddy met in school and were married December 26, 1954. Daddy always wanted girls, and that’s a good thing because he got me in October, 1956 and Sue in February, 1959. Mama, Sue, and I were Daddy’s models in his photography hobby; we treasure the portraits of Mama, photos of friends, family, and the occasional dog.
Daddy never met a stranger; he could talk to anyone and generally did. He used that love of talk to preach and teach as the years went by. Preparing sermons and lectures kept him reading and studying, two of his great loves.
In his later years, Daddy’s love of family grew. Along with me and Sue, Daddy’s family included his son-in-law, Steve, grandchildren Mary Lynne Meyer Ellington and Mark Ellington, Stephen Aaron Brinson, Jill Brinson, and Joanna and Greg DeArros plus his great-grandchildren Jamison, Sadie, and Emerson Ellington, Haley and Harley Brinson, and Mason and Jackson DeArros.
On April 30, 2021, Daddy made his final trip to live with his Lord and Savior. We are eternally grateful to the staff of Croatan Ridge Nursing and Rehabilitation for the love and care Daddy received during his years there. We are especially thankful for Daddy’s roommate, “Mr. Anon” and his family for all the friendship and laughter we’ve shared with them.
The Lord blessed us with the greatest Dad in the world, and we cherish every moment of time we had with him. Our great joy is knowing that one day, we’ll all be together again.
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