James “Jim” McClure DeYoung, 80, went home to be with his Lord and Saviour on Tuesday, September 8, 2020. He was predeceased by his parents, James McClure and Sallie Ballenger DeYoung. He leaves behind his wife of over 50 yrs, Jerry Holcombe DeYoung, his daughters, Elizabeth (Warren) Poteat and Leighton (Chester) Woodfin and grandchildren, Davis Woodfin, Mackenzie Wenz, Trey Poteat, Sarah Beth Woodfin, and Sally Poteat.
Jim was a graduate of Greenville Senior High School. He worked for Shaw’s Pharmacy as a teenager then purchased Rex Collins Drug Sundries in 1965. He worked long, hard hours for 41 years, building what remains a fixture in Greenville, Northgate Soda Shop. Over the years, he took out the grocery items, greeting cards, cosmetics and Valentine candy and added sandwiches and ice cream to the menu. Jim’s pimento cheeseburger has been featured numerous times in local publications and his orangeade and lemonade is legendary. You could also find him in the wee hours of the morning putting Boston Butts (or even a whole hog) on his custom made grill. Years later, Jim (and later his sons-in-law) took his BBQ on the road to local festivals and contests. Jim and his daughter, Leighton (and her husband of a few weeks) even catered their wedding reception. Jim and his wife reminded the girls that child labor laws did not apply to your own children; the girls started working in the restaurant before they could drive. They could be found walking to the shop or catching a ride with one of the locals or even a Greenville City Police Officer. In fact, if one of the girls were sick and needed to get home from school, it was not unheard of that a local officer coming in to grab a bite to eat would go to the school to retrieve them. As each grandchild was born and made their first trip to the Soda Shop (at only a week or so old), Jim insisted that he feed them their first bite of ice cream. Yes, you got that. They were only weeks old but he would say that little bit wouldn’t hurt them.
Jim sold his beloved Soda Shop in 2006. His family never thought he would ever part with his shop, but he knew the long hours were taking a toll on his body. It was time to turn the grill over to someone else who would love it the way he did. He continued to visit the soda shop daily for coffee, breakfast and to shoot the breeze with the staff and other customers. Northgate Soda Shop remains a cornerstone in the community. Kids who grew up in the Soda Shop with Jim (and he would call your parents if you got out of line) now bring their kids (and even grandkids) to eat their favorite sandwiches and drinks that will take you back in time, malts, ice cream sodas and cherry Pepsi. Jim was committed to serving Pepsi. He said the local pepsi dealer supported him as a struggling young businessman and loyalty permeated his personal and professional life. He had a passion for his home town. collecting pictures and memorabilia of Greenville and enjoyed sharing stories about who was in the pictures and what was going on during that time. Many of these are still on display at the soda shop.
Jim was a lifelong member of Earle Street Baptist Church. He was baptized and attended kindergarten there. He shared his passion for food and cooking in the church kitchen as well as serving meals in the community.
Jim loved his family, his church and his hometown, Greenville. He spent his 80 years living, worshipping and working never more than three miles from his beloved Northgate community.
During those years, in addition to running a thriving business, he served as Deputy Coroner, State Constable and as a Sergeant with the Police Reserve Unit for the City of Greenville. He was known to many as "The Mayor of North Main”.
Jim was a quiet and unassuming man of few words. He had no interest in what you had, who you were, or what you could do for him. As an only child, Soda Shop customers and employees were friends or family and his home always open to anyone alone on a holiday.
Jim’s family and friends will celebrate his life on Sunday, September 20th (the day after his 81st birthday) at 2 p.m. at Earle Street Baptist Church in Greenville. In lieu of flowers, donations in his name can be made to Earle Street Baptist Church Missions Programs.
The family covets your prayer and invites friends to share stories of Jim as they grieve the loss of The Man, The Myth, The Legend.
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