Cover photo for James Lunsford's Obituary
James Lunsford Profile Photo
1942 James 2024

James Lunsford

December 31, 1942 — January 8, 2024



James Lee Lunsford, 81, of Murphy, NC, passed away on January 8, 2024.  He was born on December 31, 1942 to Loy Lunsford and Irene Thomasson Lunsford. With the exception of three years in the Army and a couple of years living in Andrews, Jim spent his entire life living on the land in Peachtree that his grandparents, Lawson and Dorcas Lunsford settled over a hundred years ago.  Jim loved the outdoors–from hunting to fishing to gardening, he enjoyed it all.  And he loved being able to do all of those things on his own land.  If you were fortunate enough to be a neighbor or a friend of Jim’s, you could expect to receive gifts of venison, fish and tomatoes.

In 1962, Jim joined the Army and served two tours of duty before being honorably discharged in 1965. His first tour of duty was in the Congo in Africa, where he delivered humanitarian aid to remote villagers and helped evacuate people to safer regions. His second overseas tour was to Vietnam in 1965.  He was proud to be a member of the 7th Cavalry, 1st Cavalry Division (Airmobile).  He was a member of the Cherokee County VFW.

Retiring after over thirty years of work with Southern Railway, Jim missed the friends he had made along the way, but he was happy to spend his days gardening and staying busy at home.

Jim was preceded in death by his father (who taught him the value of honesty and hard work), his mother (who taught him to cook great cornbread, to love fishing and instilled in him a strong faith) and his wife, Iris, (who shared with him a love for family and friends).

Jim is survived by his wife of eight years, Kay Beacham Lunsford,  who came into his life when he needed her and brought love, joy and lots of adventures to his last years.  He is also survived by a host of other family and friends who loved him and will miss him dearly.  His older sister and childhood playmate, Naomi Hale, who will miss their daily phone conversations.  His baby sister, Kathy Fuerst, who pestered him as a child, but only because she wanted to be just like him.  He leaves behind a son Jeremy, who spent many hours by his side in his final months. He will also be greatly missed by his stepdaughter, Kelli Rogers. Grandchildren, Crystal, Jeremy, Luke, Konnor, Kennadi and seven great grandchildren will miss him dearly.  Jim also had five nieces, Kelly, Leah, Rebekah, Alix and Ariel and eleven great nieces and nephews who are better people because of their Uncle Jim.

There is not enough room on this page to list the names of friends and extended family who will miss Jim.  Some were like his own brothers–fishing and hunting buddies.  They, and everyone who knew him were entertained by his jokes, pranks and humorous stories.  He provided the entertainment for family gatherings from the time he was a small child until his last Christmas a few weeks ago.

Some very special people in Jim’s life will be pallbearers: Mike Griggs, Grady Ford, Danny Saluda, Mike Calloway, Jeremy Rayburn, Jr and Luke Rayburn.  Honorary pallbearers are Freddy Carson, Dennis Curtis, Larry Curtis and Rick Stillwell.

Family will receive friends on Thursday, January 11th, 2024, from 5:00pm-7:00pm.

Funeral services will be held at Peachtree Memorial Baptist Church in Murphy, NC, where Jim was a lifelong member.  The service will be held on January 12, 2024 at 11:00am with Rev. Noah Crowe and Rev. Chester Jones officiating. Interment will follow at Peachtree Memorial Baptist Church Cemetery.

Memorial contributions can be made to the Leukemia Research Foundation at  , or to the charity of your choice.

You may send condolences to the family and sign the guest register at

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of James Lunsford, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services


Thursday, January 11, 2024

5:00 - 7:00 pm (Eastern time)

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Funeral Service

Friday, January 12, 2024

11:00am - 12:00 pm (Eastern time)

Peachtree Memorial Baptist Church

1650 NC Highway 141, Murphy, NC 28906

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Friday, January 12, 2024

12:00 - 1:00 pm (Eastern time)

Peachtree Memorial Baptist Cemetery, Murphy, N. C. 28906

481 Upper Peachtree Road, Murphy, NC 28906

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