Cover photo for James Vernon Abbott, Jr.'s Obituary
James Vernon Abbott, Jr. Profile Photo
1957 Jim 2023

James Vernon Abbott, Jr.

February 18, 1957 — June 6, 2023


“Jim”, James Vernon Abbott Jr., died unexpectedly on Tuesday, June 6, 2023. Jim believed in ministering to others with compassion, kindness, love, and patience. Jim always had a smile on his face and a tenderness in his heart to help whomever was in need. Serving others was a passion and priority for Jim. Born in Burlington, North Carolina on February 18, 1957, Jim’s parents are James “Vernon” Abbott and Shirley Joyner Abbott. Jim loved his Tar Heel State. This November, Jim looked forward to attending his parent’s 70th wedding anniversary.

Jim held a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where he was a lifelong member of Delta Sigma Pi, Lambda Chapter, the UNC Business Fraternity, and the Alumni Association. Go Heels! as Jim would often say!     

Jim believed in feeding the hungry and served as the Manager for Second Harvest Food Bank of Middle Tennessee at their Southern Branch, located in Smyrna. During the Christmas holidays, Jim enjoyed being Second Harvest’s “Santa” and treasured seeing and hearing the delight from children of all ages when they saw Santa appear.

As an Accountant for IBM in the Research Triangle Park, North Carolina, Jim was known as a “Numbers Man”. Jim served as the Treasurer of the IBM Club and could balance the Account Receivable and Payable to mere pennies. Jim enjoyed playing Basketball and Softball for the IBM League while employed there. Other employment included the United Methodist Publishing House where Jim served as a Material Handler. Jim also loved substitute teaching at Apopka High School, Apopka, Florida, especially in the Math and Science Department.

While living in Apopka, Jim worked as a Heavy Equipment Operator for B & B Construction Company, the family business, owned by the late Robert E. Housam and the late Robert E. Housam II.

Everyone experienced joyous fun when Jim was around.  The gleam in his eyes and a slight chuckle revealed an epic prank was on its way. You might even be the recipient of a plethora of one of his Dad jokes or captive to hear one of his favorite quotes from the Andy Griffith Show. Jim’s laughter was contagious and often made you feel at ease immediately. Jim loved to play games of all kinds and you definitely wanted Jim on your team.   

Jim’s love for games, trivia of knowledge on a variety of topics along with his competitive spirit, made him a dangerous adversary when winning became the objective! Jim was often known willing to slide into base if necessary to improve the ball game score.

His serious side always encompassed a helping hand no matter what your need was, the patience and dedication to teach, and the value of stepping back and allowing others to visually learn themselves.

Jim’s mechanical abilities, his exemplary work ethic, his passion for numbers to add whatever figures you gave him, his tenderness and compassion to his children, Angel and James, and many others along his life’s journey included the Single Adults at both Forest Hills Baptist Church in Raleigh, North Carolina and the former College Park Baptist Church in Orlando, Florida. All of these attributes made him an integral part in many people’s lives. 

Jim never desired accolades but the City of Apopka Police Department recognized him for chasing down a purse snatcher. In addition, Jim received a plaque by the American Red Cross for donating over twenty gallons of blood and apheresis. Jim was a ministry advocate for No Room in the Inn at two different churches which provided a warm place to sleep for the city’s homeless. Jim joined his wife as a volunteer for Give Kids the World and Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children in a program called Parent’s Night Out. Volunteers played games, and helped terminally ill children and their siblings with their homework, while their parents experienced a complimentary dinner and deserved time away.

Jim spent countless hours on Youth Church Trips, and Single Adult Mission trips and even traveled to Ethiopia for Water is Life with David Harding Ministries. Jim also loved serving as the Recreation Director for Centrifuge on the campus of Carson-Newman University one summer and served as a church deacon in several different churches. While asking nothing in return, Jim often changed flat tires for motorists stuck on the side of the road and desperate for help. This demonstrates Jim’s character.

Ultimately, Jim had a compassion for those around him. His devotion to his family demonstrated a love they will never forget. Jim’s dedication to pray for his wife, Diane, and her ministry both in the church and Hospice setting will truly be treasured. As the spouse of an ordained minister, Jim was always cherished and loved by those who witnessed his shepherd-like example. Jim believed in truly being the church and rescued many others, feeding them with the love and compassion Jim believed we are all called to do.  

Jim is survived by his wife of forty years, Rev. Diane Housam-Abbott of Hermitage, Tennessee and their son, James Nathaniel Abbott, also of Hermitage. On Tuesday, Jim gained his wings and joined his daughter, the late Angel Mary Abbott, who waited for him at Heaven’s pearly gates! 

Jim’s parents, Vernon and Shirley Abbott of Raleigh, North Carolina, also survive him. His oldest sister, the late Judith (Steve) Abbott Goodman, stood alongside Jim’s daughter, Angel, as they both welcomed him to heaven. Jim loved his nephews, David (Amanda) Goodman of Charlotte, North Carolina and grandniece, Brianna, and Dr. Michael (Dr. Lauren) Raimer-Goodman of Houston, Texas along with his grandniece, Lily, and grandnephew, Jude.

Kim (Don) Abbott Warren, Jim’s younger sister, is from Siler City, North Carolina and Jim also loved their children: Justice (Tessa) Warren and Kaitlyn Warren all of Durham, North Carolina and especially loved to play with his grandnephew, Jules.

Vicki (Russell) Gupton of Louisburg, North Carolina is just one of the many special Aunts and Uncles on both his mother’s and father’s side. Others who predecease Jim are the late Dean Overby, Steve Joyner, Jane Owen, Eunice S. Abbott, and Paul Abbott, all of North Carolina.     

His in-laws are the late Robert and Mary Housam of Plymouth, Florida and his brother-in-law, the late Robert (Deborah) E. Housam II, of Altamonte Springs, Florida. Erin (Milan) Housam Umicevic of Knoxville, Tennessee, became very close to Jim especially after the death of her father, Robert E. Housam II. Michael (Debbie) Kelley of Altamonte Springs, Bob’s stepson, was also close to his Uncle Jim and worked with him in the family business.

Patti Housam Morris, Jim’s sister-in-law of Thonotosassa, Florida along with her daughter, Renee (Jason) Morris also of Thonotosassa grieve Jim’s passing.

Jim was like a brother to his wife’s twin sister, Donna (Tim) Housam Key of Shelbyville, Tennessee and loved to play with their sons: Andrew (Alexa) Key of Murfreesboro, Tennessee, Jonathan Key of Shelbyville and David (Haley) Key of Jackson, Tennessee, along with 2 grandnieces, Ava and Lucy.

As a strong believer in charities, Jim requested that monetary donations or volunteer hours be made to Second Harvest Food Bank of Middle Tennessee, 331 Great Circle Road, Nashville, Tennessee 37228 or to their Web Site at Blood Donations may be made to your local Red Cross or local blood banks in Jim’s honor.

A Celebration of Jim’s life will be held on Saturday, June 24, 2023, 2:00 PM at the Smyrna location for Second Harvest Food Bank of Middle Tennessee located at 1958 Almaville Road with a Reception following.



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Service Schedule

Past Services

Celebration of Life

Saturday, June 24, 2023

2:00 - 4:00pm (Central time)

Second Harvest Food Bank, Smyrna

1958 Almaville Rd, Smyrna, TN 37167

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