James “Jim” Willard Gatherer, III

by Lynn McMillen
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James “Jim” Willard Gatherer, III, passed away on Friday, February 23, 2024. He is survived by his loving wife of 40 years, Margaret (Purdy) Gatherer; their children, James W. Gatherer, IV, and Amy Crutcher and husband, Nick; sisters, Gail Grimes and husband, Dickson, Lisa Gatherer, and Madi Gatherer and her partner, Chris Stallings; brother-in-law, Phillip Purdy and wife, Lynn; and many nieces and nephews. Jim was predeceased by his parents, Rosemary (Kalfas) Gatherer and James Willard Gatherer, Jr.

Jim was born on July 11, 1959, in Berwyn, Illinois and was raised in Decatur, Georgia. Jim attended Columbia High School and graduated in 1977. He was an accomplished musician in the band and interested in varied pursuits including fencing, drama, and the Tolkien Society. Jim graduated from Southern Technical Institute and earned a master’s degree from the University of Alabama, Huntsville.

Jim married his best friend and love of his life, Margaret “Midge” Purdy on July 30, 1983, in Kalamazoo, Michigan at the Kalamazoo First United Methodist Church. A dedicated band father, Jim never missed a Grissom High School halftime show or concert and enjoyed seeing Amy and Jimmy march for Auburn University and play for the AU Basketball Pep Band. He was an enthusiastic member of the YMCA Indian Princesses and Indian Guides with Amy and Jimmy attending campouts, gatherings, and making Pinewood Derby cars. Jim loved taking his family on long road trips whether driving to Kalamazoo to visit family, driving to Auburn, AL to see their children in college, or taking long leisurely rides in his convertible.

A member of Latham Church in Huntsville, Jim was active in the praise band, Sunday School, and social activities. He was an avid biker and outdoorsman and loved going on long hikes. Jim was the ultimate do-it-yourself-man and had no problem taking anything apart to fix things; everything from his trumpet to automobile engines.

Jim had a 38-year career with Leonardo DRS Technologies as Chief Engineer with responsibilities as an electrical engineer, product architect, and program manager. In 2023, Jim received the Ignite Respect Leadership Award from DRS.

A visitation to receive family and friends will be held on Friday, March 1, 2024, at Laughlin Service Funeral Home at 2320 Bob Wallace Ave, SW, Huntsville, AL 35805 from 4-6pm. The Celebration of Life Ceremony will be held at Latham Church, 109 Weatherly Road SE, Huntsville, AL 35803 on Saturday, March 2, 2024, at 1pm.

In remembrance of Jim, the family suggests donations to the Land Trust of North Alabama or the American Heart Association.

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