December 20th , 2012 10:30 am Leave a comment

James L. Potter


James Logan Potter, 82, of Piney Flats, passed away at his home on Saturday, December 15, 2012.
He was born in Johnson County, Tenn., to the late G. Logan Potter and Nancy Ethel I. Potter.
James was a member of the last graduating class of Watauga Academy, in Old Butler, Tenn., in 1948. This was just before the Watauga Lake was filled in the fall of 1948. According to some of James’ class members, he was known as “the walking math book.”
James attended East Tennessee State University and graduated from the University of Tennessee with a B.S. Degree in Mechanical Engineering. He was invited to join the academic honor society for engineering majors. In addition, James completed 100 graduate hours of study in physics and advanced mathematics. James was a Life Member of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, his tenure having spanned 57 years.
He practiced mechanical engineering, physics and applied mathematics for about 40 years in industry, as well as serving his country both in the U.S. Army during the Korean Conflict and as a civilian with the U.S. Department of Defense. His work was in the development of intercontinental and short range ballistic missiles. Some of the programs on which he worked were the Redstone Missile, the Jupiter, the Pershing XM1103-E3, the SA-5 Saturn Guidance System, the Tarter, the Terrier 542, the SM2 and the Aegus Missiles. James was also involved in real estate investment and management and cattle farming through the years.
His primary interest was the mechanical aspects of his surroundings. He also enjoyed reading, bird watching, camping and water skiing and boating in his younger years.
James was an ideal husband and father. He was loving, true, kind, polite, patient, generous, merciful, thoughtful and lived daily with a spirit and behavior of honor for God, his family, people in general and his beloved America.
A man of honor and integrity, James was exemplary in his Christian walk and was consistently involved in church work from an early age until his health failed. He was blessed with God’s gifts of the Spirit and reflected love, joy, peace, goodness, patience, faithfulness, gentleness, tolerance and temperance daily. His words were measured and his daily behavior impeccable.
James accepted Christ as a young boy and remained true for as long as he lived. Beginning as a child he served in most capacities at church serving water to the pastor, ringing the church bell, helping with kindling and coal for the heating stoves, janitor, teacher on many levels, trustee and deacon.
In addition to his parents, James was pre-deceased by his only brother, Linell Potter, and brother-in-law, Dr. Robert Miller.
James is survived by his wife, Shirley, sons, John and Joe, granddaughters, Amanda, Madeline and Rebekah Potter, two sisters, Mary Elsie Miller of Valencia, Calif., and her three sons, Steve, Robert and Richard Miller and their families of California, and Rebecca DePonti and husband Pier of Johnson City, Tenn.; one niece, Anne Potter Tuttle of Butler, Tenn.; nephews, William “Buck” Potter of Winston-Salem, N.C., and Dr. Warren DePonti and family of Lexington, Ky.; his sister-in-law, Mary Kate Potter of Butler, Tenn.; and several cousins, great-nephews and great-nieces.
The family will receive friends on Friday, December 21, from 5 to 7 p.m. at Mountain View Baptist Church in Johnson City. The family will also receive friends on Saturday, December 22, from 12:30 to 1:30 p.m. at the family’s ancestral home church, Sugar Grove Baptist Church in Butler, Tenn. The funeral service will be at 1:30 p.m. with Rev. James Cambron and Rev. Keith Malone officiating. Interment will be in the Sugar Grove Cemetery following the service. Active pallbearers, who are requested to be at the church at 1:30 p.m., are Joe Potter, Ashley Gaudet, Todd Owens, Jack Pitts, Jamie Mascaro and Claude Luttrell. Honorary pallbearers are Paul Comstock, Hugh Sullivan, Bob Smith, Bob Leonard, Glenn Smith, Bob McInturf, Don Lloyd, Bill Colley, Eddie Owens, Galen Freeman and Mike McKinney. Military Honors will be provided by the American Legion. Condolences to the Potter family may be e-mailed to
Memorial Funeral Chapel is in charge of arrangements.


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