James (Jim) Musgrave passed away on January 8, 2021 in the home of his daughter, Jill (Billy) Andrews. James was born on January 17, 1932 to Charles and Wilma (Gaither) Musgrave in Fairfield, IL. Jim’s parents, his stepmother Mildred (Borah) Musgrave, his first wife, Carole Ann (Mack) and second wife Vera (Desch) also preceded him in death.
James is survived by his children, James (Jibber) (Sherial) Musgrave, Jill (Billy) Andrews, Mariann (Brian) Brownson and Gina Musgrave, all of Fairfield, and Julie (Scott) Moore from Columbia, South Carolina. Two sisters, Janet (Bill) Kent of Fairfield and Janie (Jim) Garrison of Florida. Thirteen grandchildren, five great grandchildren, three nephews and one niece also survive.
Jim’s grandfather owned Gaither’s Store in rural Wayne County and Jim would share fond memories of riding on the back of his grandpa Gaither’s huckster wagon as a child. Jim had several tragic events in his life, having lost his mother at the age of four and his first wife to a train/car accident when she was only 29 years old, leaving him with three young children. One of his first jobs was at the Strand Theater. There he ran the projection room and would deliver the movie reels to the theater next in line. He told funny stories about times the film would get stuck and burn and would have to splice it together all the while listening to an angry theater crowd. With his usual wit, he said “now that is pressure”. He served as an aviation machinist in the Navy from 1952 until 1955 and was on the USS Bennington aircraft carrier in 1954 when an explosion killed over l00 men. Jim was a quiet spoken man with dry sense of humor who loved automobiles, drag racing, staying physically fit and golfing. Jim’s love of automobiles started at a very young age. His grandfather, who raised him, W.G. Musgrave, was the owner of Musgrave Ford Sales in Fairfield. Family members laughed when he would use the make and model of his cars as a reference to remember the year of life events. As a young man, Jim worked at Airtex Products in the engineering department before starting a rebuilt fuel pump business in Cisne. Later on, he became a partner with Gibby Andrews in the first Wayne County Speed Shop located near the Fairfield Drag Strip on the south highway. He held many AHRA and NHRA speed records as the driver of various race cars owned with Mike Sullivan under the name of Musgrave & Sullivan (later on David Hutchens joined them). He retired as a partner in the Wayne County Speed Shop in 1995. Jim was fortunate to have been able to drag race until he was 80 years old and still continued to be on the “pit crew” for his son-in-law Billy Andrews (along with Harlow Scott, a lifelong drag racing friend) until 2019. Jim took up golf after he retired and played most every day until he was 87. He engineered his own golf clubs and would regrip those of other golfers. Being physically fit was also a lifelong passion Jim’s. He continued to lift weights, walk and attend the local gym 3 days a week until he was 87 years old. Jim was an inspiration to all that knew him.
Graveside services for James (Jim) Musgrave will be held at 1:30 p.m. Monday, January 11, 2021 at Maple Hill Cemetery in Fairfield, Illinois with military rites provided by the Anthony Wayne American Legion Post 176 and the Wayne Memorial Post 4535 VFW. Family and friends are asked to go directly to the cemetery. Please observe social distancing. Fond memories and expressions of sympathy may be left for the family at www.nalesfuneralhome.com.
Nale’s Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.
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