James Saxon, Sr. ’50

Jim was born in 1930 to Herman and Katherine Saxon of Sylacauga AL. He then spent his childhood in Bradenton and Miami, FL. As a young teenager he moved to Charlotte NC, then attended Davidson College and the University of South Carolina, graduating in 1950. He wed his beloved first wife, Frances, in 1949, and they went on to have 8 children. After college he went to work with his father in their company, Saxon Vending, a successful regional company headquartered in Charlotte. He was actively involved with his church, Trinity Presbyterian in Charlotte, then felt called to the ministry. He moved his young family to Richmond in 1961 where he obtained a Master of Divinity degree from Union Theological Seminary. He went on to lead a congregation at Ashland Presbyterian Church in Ashland VA.
After leaving the ministry Jim moved his family to Deland FL in 1967 to start a business, Sterling Vending. He sold this business to a national company and moved with his family back to Charlotte in 1973. He was very supportive of his wife Fran as she returned to college and later founded a nonprofit advocacy organization called Woman Reach. In the mid 80’s he became involved in the Senior Olympics, becoming an effective, and hardworking volunteer even before his retirement. He was very proud of completing a marathon in Charlotte at the age of 60 and a half marathon at age 80!
Jim’s passion for sports of all kinds was well known, and he had fond memories of watching his kids play sports either in the backyard or at organized events. He was also an avid golfer and fisherman throughout his life. He was very proud of being one of the first season ticket holders for the Carolina Panthers.
In the late 90’s life turned difficult for him as he lost his wife Fran in 1999 after 49 years of marriage. He turned to playing bridge as a social outlet and not only achieved “Master” ranking, but was blessed by God’s grace with meeting Liz Hannon, whom he married in 2000. They retired to Florida living in Marco Island and then Fernandina Beach. They hosted countless visits from their grown kids and the grandkids, and eventually great grandkids. They remained inseparable for 22 years, until the good Lord called him home. He was never happier than when having his family visit Liz and him in their Florida homes. Being a lifelong animal lover, he so enjoyed it when they brought their dogs which he considered his “granddogs”.
His legacy is twofold, first love and support your family no matter how difficult it may be. And secondly, always respect and befriend other people, no matter their ethnic, social or racial background. Though he rarely spoke about it, as a young minister he was an early and outspoken advocate for desegregation and social justice in the South, a position which ran counter to the opinions of his church and his community in the early to mid 60’s.
Jim is survived by his wife, Liz and eight children, Jim, Jr., Frank, Scott, Suzy, Carol, Andy, Dottie, and David; 11 grandchildren, Jamie, Chris, Amanda, Marie, Kevin, Andrea, Jessi, Adrienne, Melissa, Ashley and Dillon; and 13 great grandchildren. He is also survived by 3 stepchildren, Patrick, Kathleen, and Megan, and 6 step grandkids.
A Celebration of Life service will be held at Osprey Village, Fernandina Beach FL, on Jan. 14, 2023, at 12 noon. Internment will be held in the spring in Charlotte NC. In lieu of flowers donations may be sent to the animal welfare organization of your choice.