As a matter of fact, James’ and Chris’ first undertaking as interns was the distinctly unglamorous job of spreading pine straw in the Alabama heat at Bobby’s new Lake Martin cabin. This was done, not with complaint, but with James’ ever-present jovial gusto. He had previously worked at a local nursery and getting his hands dirty was not something at which he balked. After this literal “trial by fire”, his talents were better put to use by designing and drawing landscape plans for a number of our first built projects. His lovely handiwork still grows and blossoms at these homes to this day.
We had the joy of his company for a few years before he moved to Nashville to pursue his horticultural career. Over the years, we kept up with James and his progress as a budding Landscape Architect and he would stop in to visit us whenever his trails led him back through Montgomery. His wicked humor and beautiful smile were always a welcome sight – an old friend that had set full sail returning to port but for a while.
A few years ago James was diagnosed with ALS also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. He bore this debilitating illness with undaunted courage and carried it bravely through the rest of his life. Undeterred and with a new fire, he used his plight as a path for continued education concerning this insidious disease. His spirited fight was seemingly unstoppable.
Unfortunately, he lost his battle a few weeks ago.
Rest well, dear friend. An empty chair has been left at our large table.
Greg Tankersley for McAlpine Tankersley
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