Dr. James Andrew Harrell, Sr., age 94, passed away Monday, March 6, 2017 at Joan & Howard Woltz Hospice Home. Dr. Harrell was born July 14, 1922 in Surry County to Roy Brannoch and Mattie Reid Doughton Harrell. He married Isabel Jane Gibbs Harrell in 1945.
Dr. James A. Harrell, Sr. is one of the most respected and decorated dentists in North Carolina. Harrell’s love of dentistry began with his father, Dr. Roy B. Harrell, a dentist in their hometown of Elkin for 60 years. After graduating from Carolina in 1944, Harrell transferred to the Medical College of Virginia where he finished first in his dental class. He and Isabel then opened his own practice in Elkin.
As a respected leader in his profession he has served as the president of the North Carolina Dental Society, National President of the American College of Dentists, Academy of General Dentistry, and Academy of Dentistry International. He also served as the Vice-President of the American Dental Association. He received the Distinguished Service Award from the Dental Foundation and School of Dentistry. He also received the John C. Brauer Award for a lifetime of service to dentistry from the Dental Alumni Association. The Dental Foundation has honored him by establishing the Dr. James A, Harrell, Sr. Leadership and Citizenship Award. It is given to a dental student who exemplifies Dr. Harrell’s leadership. He was recognized as the North Carolina Dental Society’s Dentist of the Year in 1984.
In his community Dr. Harrell has served three terms as mayor of Elkin and has been three terms as a city commissioner. He has headed several major public service projects including building a new airport, fire station, library, and water/sewer treatment plants. He served as President of Kiwanis Club, United Fund, and YMCA. He was a Director for North Carolina Blue Cross and Blue Shield, United Savings and Loan, Yadkin Valley Bank and Trust, Hugh Chatham Memorial Hospital and Hugh Chatham Memorial Hospital Foundation.
He has been active in Boy Scouts of America. He received his Eagle Scout award while serving in the first scout troop in Elkin that was formed by his father Dr. R.B. Harrell. He served as a Scout Master, and Chairman of Scout Committee. He received the Distinguished Eagle Scout Award in 1955.
After Graduating from the University of North Carolina in 1944 Dr. Harrell has a lifetime service to the University. He was “tar Heel 100”, Director of General Alumni Association, Chairman of the Dental Foundation of North Carolina, and President of the UNC General alumni Association. His leadership and dedicational led to his receiving the William Richardson Davie Award.
The First United Methodist Church has always been the center of commitment to his Lord. He served as a Sunday school teacher for 60 years. His honors were Life Member-United Methodist Men, Fellow-Society of John Wesley, Life Member -Junaluska Associations and Distinguished Service Award-W.N.C. Methodist Communications.He was Certified Lay Speaker, Chairman of Council of Laity, and Member World Methodist Church Council.
In addition to his parents he was preceded in death by his wife of 70 years Isabel Jane Gibbs Harrell; sisters, Dorothy Harrell Reames and Mary Ellen Bullard.
Survivors include: sons, Dr. James A. Harrell, Jr. and wife Barbara of Elkin, Dr. Gavin Gibbs Harrell and wife Margie of State Road, Dr. Stephen W. Harrell and wife Terry of State Road, a daughter, Deborah Doughton Kirkman of Hendersonville, nine grandchildren, Jim Harrell III, Matthew Harrell, Christopher Harrell, Christa Sheek, Nathan Harrell, Judith Collins, Whitney Sutphin, Katherine Harrell, Elizabeth Harrell Lawrence, twelvegreat grandchildren, Jim Harrell IV, Harper Isabel Harrell, Christopher Hudson Harrell, Jr., Hudson W. Harrell, Maddie Sheek, Samuel Sheek, Jackson Sheet, Jack Harrell Collins, Rivers Sutphin, Charlotte Lewis Harrell, Elizabeth Gibbs Harrell and Margaret Ivy Harrell.
A celebration of life will be held Saturday, March 11, 2017 at 1:00 p.m. at Elkin First United Methodist Church.