James L. Dodd, Jr. was born November 29, 1943 and crossed from this life into his eternal home with Jesus on Saturday, August 27, 2022. James was much loved by his family, which includes his wife, Becky; daughter, Jamie Christian and her husband Cy; daughter, Jennifer Taylor and her husband, Brock; granddaughter, Kelsi Carlton; granddaughter, MacKenzie Vann and her husband Curt and grandson Alex Reid; great-grandchildren, Bryleigh and Thatcher Carlton, Lydeea Hulsey, Jaxton James, Bryant and Colby Vann and a host of nieces, nephews and cousins.
James was a long-time member and deacon of Hamilton Church of Christ. He loved the Lord with all of his heart and everything he did was to glorify Him. He was the most kind-hearted, giving and honorable person you would ever have the good fortune to meet.
James grew up in Lynn, where he met his bride of 60 years. They lived in Texas, Georgia and then Tuscumbia before settling in Hamilton.
He managed the local KFC for 40 years, moving his family to Hamilton in October, 1974 when he opened the restaurant. Known as the "Big Chick" around town, James was generous with his time, energy, money and chicken, serving his community in countless ways, whether it was catering a church function, purchasing an ad for the football program, delivering Thanksgiving turkeys or Christmas baskets to those less fortunate or taking the leftover chicken at closing time to the police department. He's had so many employees over the years, we couldn't even guess the number, but they all say he was the best, most patient, funny boss who bent over backwards to help them in any way he could. He cared a great deal about all of his employees. Most were high schoolers that he considered his kids. He gave a lot of talks about work ethic and always doing the right thing, no matter the consequences.
James retired in October, 2014 and hated the idea of it, but once he got to spend more time with his precious great-grandkids, he warmed up to it and began to enjoy his newfound freedom. Many days you'd find him on the floor of the playroom in their home playing with Barbies and baby dolls or getting a full makeover, including makeup, hair and polished nails. He was up for anything with the little ones.
After his retirement, James had some major health problems. In October, 2015, he fell and had to have emergency surgery to repair two brain bleeds. That put him out of commission for a while. He recovered from that only to be diagnosed with cancer in August, 2017. He persevered through treatments for almost five years when he was told that nothing was working and they were out of options. Although extremely sad at the thought of leaving his family, he took it in stride and stated he knew it would come to that at some point. He was ready to move into the next life, something he had spent his life preparing for and looking forward to. He was ready to see his precious Taylor, his parents, his siblings and so many friends who had gone before him.
James was preceded in death and welcomed into heaven by his great-grandson, Taylor Charlie James Carlton; his parents, Luther and Annie Bell Dodd; his siblings, J.M., Garnett, Lathen and Gene Dodd; a nephew, Ronald Dodd; his father-in-law and mother-in-law, Ben and Estelle Barton and a host of other relatives and friends. He will be forever loved and missed.
Visitation will be from 4-7 p.m. Friday, September 2, 2022, at Hamilton Church of Christ. His funeral will be at 1 p.m. Saturday, September 3, 2022 at Hamilton Church of Christ, with Bro. Ted Burleson officiating and interment at Lynn Cemetery. Marion County Funeral Home will direct.
In lieu of flowers, in memory of James Dodd, make donations to Maywood Christian Camp, 700 Maywood Camp Road, Hamilton, Alabama 35570 or St Jude Children Research Hospital, 501 St. Jude Place, Memphis, Tennessee 38105.
See complete story in the Northwest Alabamian.