Asheville Prime Timers - Special Page
James Burwell Harrison, Jr. passed away on Sunday, May 5, 2019 of complications from a fall. His remains were returned to his birthplace, Gastonia, North Carolina where a funeral service was performed at New Hope Presbyterian Church.
He was graduated from Gastonia High School and the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. He then was graduated with a Master of Divinity degree from Yale Divinity School and was ordained as a Presbyterian Minister. He continued his education with a PH.D in Clinical Psychology from New York University in NYC. He maintained a private practice in New York City before moving to Asheville, where he continued his work in psychology. He served as a psychologist for the State of NC, working for a number of years in geriatric psychology as well as a private practice in Asheville.
Among his many accomplishments, Jim was the executive producer and writer of director Richard Schmiechen's Oscar-nominated documentary Changing Our Minds: The Story of Dr. Evelyn Hooker (1992), which portrays the life and work of the woman who undertook the groundbreaking research that led to the radical discovery that homosexuals were not, by definition, "sick," sending shock waves through the psychiatric community and culminating in a major victory for gay rights.
James, a longtime resident of Asheville and provider of mental health care, even in semi-retirement, kept up a part time practice as a psychologist to help others. He often hosted dinners and parties in his numerous homes over the past 30 years and was a beginning member of Asheville Prime Timers.
Many long time residents of Asheville may remember his home in Montreat and the special events he hosted back then. He was a member of so many different groups and organizations and always a great host and friend. James loved plants and many of you will remember the gardens in his back yard and plant filled home. He often brought cut flowers to a pot luck dinner and always came with a bottle or two of wine. James was so warm and inviting, no one was a stranger to him.
Even in his declining years with hearing and eyesight issues, he supported community events, donated to area non-profits and was always in attendance (when he could remember :) He would often laugh at forgetting to show up. One of the favorite photos was taken at a surprise birthday dinner at El Que Pasa where more of the birthday dessert landed on his face than in his mouth. (see above)
Jim was truly an unsung hero of our community and he will be missed greatly.
A special Celebration of Life for James will be held on Wednesday, June 5 at Kenilworth Presbyterian Church at 123 Kenilworth Rd, Asheville, NC 28803 Time: 6:30-8:00 PM
Everyone is welcome to come and share their
stories about James. Light refreshments will be served afterwards.