George H. Highsmith Jr. died peacefully at home on Oct. 8, 2016. He was born May 4, 1918, the oldest son of George H. Highsmith and Isla Ward Highsmith.
He is survived by his beloved wife of 65 years, Catherine Highsmith; three children, Martha Highsmith, Jane Highsmith, and Al Highsmith and his wife Janet; three grandchildren, Georgia Farrior and husband Nate, Harley Blanton and husband Duane, and Alisa Fussell and husband John-Mark; two nieces, Ann Lindsey Sult and husband Jim of Prescott, Arizona, and Virginia Lindsey Cole of Laramie, Wyoming; and friend Emily Baker who was like a daughter to him. He was blessed by five great-grandchildren who gave him great joy: Windsor Middleton Farrior, George Fisher Blanton, Nathan John-Ward Farrior, Isla Stephen Blanton, and Hattie B. Farrior; and four step-great-grandchildren, Noah Blanton, Eli Blanton, Adam Blanton, and Ella Blanton. In addition to his parents, he was predeceased by his sister, Jane Highsmith Lindsey, his brother, Charles Ward Highsmith, and his dear friend, George Wells.
George loved his family, his farm and his church. He lived in Pender County his entire life with the exception of his service to his country in World War II. He was a staff sergeant in General Patton’s Army and was awarded a Bronze Star for heroic action, a good conduct medal, and a combat infantry badge. He received four Battle Stars and was recommended for a battlefield commission. He was awarded a Presidential Unit Citation as platoon sergeant. He led a company of heavy machine guns in combat and was acting company commander of M Company. He remained close to the men in his unit throughout his life.
He was active in the community for his whole life. He served as president and treasurer of the Atkinson Hunting Club for 38 years. He was Pender Memorial Hospital, Black River Health Services Board, Tru-Blue Cooperative Board, and Pender County Schools Advisory Board. was a charter member of the Atkinson Ruritan Club.
George was life-long member of Caswell Presbyterian Church. He served the church as treasurer for 21 years, and was a deacon and elder, serving as an officer for over 50 years. He taught the Men’s Bible Class for over 60 years, beginning in 1946. He was instrumental in gaining approval for the first lay person, a woman, to serve as minister of the church and officiate at Communion. He received the Outstanding Older Adult Award from the Synod of the Mid-Atlantic in 2001.
He lived his faith every day. He regularly visited members of the community and loved to share the bounty of his farm with friends and neighbors. He believed in tithing and was generous to the church and to neighbors in need. He had many friends and was admired, respected and loved. He was a role model for his children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren and many others.
The family will receive friends at 10 a.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 11, 2016 at Caswell Presbyterian Church, with service at 11 a.m. in the church sanctuary. C.R.E. Richard Wurtzel and C.R.E. Randa Scott will conduct the service. Burial will follow in Rockfish Church Cemetery.
The Highsmith family requests that, in lieu of flowers, those wishing to make contributions direct them to Caswell Presbyterian Church, Ministerial Travel Fund, in care of the Clerk of Session, P.O. Box 931, Burgaw, NC, 28425.