Former Johnston County Commissioner James Cash Jr. passed away Monday at the age of 90.
Born October 5, 1927 in Oxford, NC he was the son of James Walter Cash, Sr. and Alma Ragland Cash. He is survived by his wife of 66 years, Ramona Cash.
According to his obituary, James was a gentleman of the highest character. He will be remembered for his wit and cheerful demeanor.
Dedicated and committed, he gave selflessly to his family, his church, his hometown of Clayton, and to the broader Johnston County community.
A gracious and humble public servant, James was blessed with a multitude of close friends and admirers. He was most devoted to his loving wife, Ramona.
He graduated from Oxford High School and attended Massey Business College in Richmond, Va.
James served his country with honor in the United States Navy during World War II and later during the Korean Conflict.
Before a lengthy and productive retirement, he was the owner and operator of the Western Auto store in downtown Clayton for 25 years.
Devout Christians, James and Ramona, joined Clayton First Baptist Church shortly after they moved to town in 1952. James was an ordained Deacon, Trustee and served as church Treasurer for over 40 years. He also served First Baptist and its congregation as an usher and member of numerous church committees. Because of his commitment to public service and desire to be active in his community, James was a steadfast and dependable member of numerous boards and organizations.
He served as a Johnston County Commissioner for 20 years, was a founding member of the Johnston Health Foundation and served for 23 years on the Johnston Health Board of Trustees.
In 1985, he was named the Clayton Chamber of Commerce Citizen of the Year. In 1998, Governor Jim Hunt awarded James North Carolina’s highest civilian honor, the Order of the Long Leaf Pine.
In 2005, James was honored as one of Johnston County’s Living Legends. James was past president of the Clayton Rotary Club and a Paul Harris Fellow, past president of the Clayton Chamber of Commerce, past president of Friends of the Library (Hocutt Ellington Memorial Library in Clayton) and past president of the Johnston County Agriculture Business Council. The list of James’ volunteer service activities and accomplishments goes on and on.
Remembered Fondly By Friends
“I cannot think of a more community minded individual and public servant,” stated Jeff Carver the current chairman of the Johnston County Board of Commissioners. “He was a true southern gentleman. James enjoyed a reputation beyond reproach. With Ramona forever at his side, they made for an impressive dynamic duo with few equals. I never saw either when they didn’t have a smile on their faces and a kind word of encouragement. Johnston County thanks Commissioner Cash for his longstanding leadership and commitment. Ramona, we send our deepest sympathies and thank you for sharing James with all of us.”
Commissioner Cookie Pope said, “James Cash was the quiet giant behind a lot of good things that the citizens of Johnston County will continue to enjoy for many years. He worked hard for the causes that he championed. Serving with him on the Board of Commissioners was enjoyable and a learning experience for me, the freshman. Not one to take himself too seriously, he and wife Ramona were forever telling jokes and playing pranks that brought fun and laughter to those in their company. I am glad that he was a part of my life.”
Commissioner Allen Mims remembered meeting James for the first time. “My wife Lee and I met James and Ramona Cash not long after we moved to Clayton in 1984. After an unsuccessful bid for the NC Senate in 1996, and after James decided to retire from the Board of County Commissioners in 1998, he urged me to run for his seat, saying, “you’ll enjoy county government a lot better than Raleigh, Allen,” and as usual, he was right. During my early years on the board, he was happy to share the wisdom and experience he’d gained during his 20 years of service. The value of this advice and council cannot be understated. Johnston County is a better place because of James Cash.”
“Mr. Cash was a fine man whom I have always held in the highest regard,” Johnston County Manager Rick Hester said. “He was a kind man, and had a great sense of humor. He had a deep love for Johnston County and served 20 years as a county commissioner. He will be greatly missed.”
Former Clerk of Court Will Crocker said, “”When I served as Clerk of Court, he was one of my best friends. James served with me on our jury commission for two terms. He was a great man.”
A memorial service will be held on Thursday, April 5th at 2pm at Clayton First Baptist Church. Dr. Mark White will officiate. A private entombment will take place at Pinecrest Memorial Park prior to the memorial service.
Memorial contributions may be made to Clayton First Baptist Church, 411 North Fayetteville St., Clayton, NC 27520. Arrangements are with McLaurin Funeral Home in Clayton.