Jim Ricketts, 62, Of Dayton, Died Thursday, Jan. 5, 2017, At His Residence

Jim & Crystle

Jim & Crystle

Jim was a very devoted man of God. He lived to sing about the one he loved and hoped and prayed that just one more soul would be saved. Jim was a lifelong resident of Rhea County and a member of Sale Creek Church of God. He was well known throughout the area for his gospel singing ministry, sharing the gospel through songs. He also loved to farm and woodwork. He won numerous awards for his singing talent. Jim had never met a stranger and was loved by many around the area. Jim will truly be missed, but his legacy will live on. Jim would always sing a song that says “I’m A Winner Either Way” and he truly was just that

He was preceded in death by his wife, Annette Hodge Ricketts in 2012; his mother, Oma Ellen Rogers; and adopted parents, Ted and Alina Rogers.

Survivors include his two sisters, Nancy (Ronnie) Smith, of Pikeville, Tenn., and Connie (Donald) Heath, of Hampton, Va.; his singing partner and best friend for seven years, Crystal (Lance) Elam, of East Ridge, Tenn.; and several nieces and nephews.

Funeral services will be held at 2 p.m. on Sunday Jan. 8, 2017, at Sale Creek Church Of God with Rev. Mack Louallen and Rev. Jimmy Jewell. Burial will be at Kiuka-Rogers Cemetery

The family will receive friends after 2 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 7, 2017, at Coulter-Garrison Funeral Home, 1670 Market St. • Dayton TN.

Visit www.coultergarrisonfuneralhome.com to share condolences.

Arrangements by Coulter-Garrison Funeral Home Inc., of Dayton.

Source:  http://www.rheaheraldnews.com/obituaries/article_ee67b5da-d394-11e6-b2dc-d719b6c3d59f.html

January 4th, 2017 – by Shane Foley – Community North Hamilton

Local gospel singer Jim Ricketts is a household name to many congregations in Hamilton County. The Dalton resident, who hasjim-ricketts-w-guitar performed for decades, estimates he sings at roughly 200 shows and services every year, even at the age of 62. His partnership with fellow gospel vocalist Crystle Elam is going into its seventh year of continued success after winning Best Traditional Gospel Duo of the Year by the North American Country Music Association in 2012.

Unfortunately, time has a way of catching up to even the most vibrant spirits.

Ricketts spent much of December in meetings with doctors and specialists after being diagnosed with an aggressive form of leukemia. He even spent his 62nd birthday on Dec. 8 in the hospital having tests performed.

“Not exactly the best place to spend a birthday,” Ricketts laughed.

He’s worked to keep high spirits in the face of a tough prognosis. While Ricketts said he’s a firm believer in the healing power of faith, he’s had to deal with the fact that he might not be around too much longer.

“I think I can be healed,” Ricketts said. “But if not, then from the doctors’ records, they’re saying I have about two months.”

More than anything, Ricketts said he would like to give a few more performances before his health declines too much. He and Elam had to cancel their December events because of his many doctor’s appointments.

“As far as singing, I don’t think there would be any problems,” Ricketts said in reference to his health. “We’ll see how I feel near the end of January.”

His ministry typically takes the month of January off to give the singers some time off to relax and learn new material. It also gives them time to attend their home churches — Sale Creek Church of God, in Ricketts’ case — since they are often away from them on Sundays.

After his years of singing at dozens of churches, events and congregations throughout East Tennessee, the outpouring of support Ricketts has gotten in light of his prognosis shouldn’t come as a surprise to him, but he said he’s humbled by the people he meets who wish him well. A recent morning trip to Walmart resulted in no less than a dozen people hugging him and informing him they were praying for his health and recovery, he said.

That support, said Ricketts, means more to him than anything. People have offered to help in many ways. Some have asked him if they could donate to help with his medical bills. A contractor even asked Ricketts if he wanted his house winterized for free.

“These people just have such big hearts,” said Ricketts. “I couldn’t ask for a better support system.”

Of course, it’s still very difficult for everyone involved. Elam said she was “devastated” by the news.

“I consider him my best friend, and it’s awful to know this has happened to him, especially so unexpectedly,” she said.

Elam credits Ricketts with helping her grow in her performances and her ministry. Singing gospel was a lifelong dream for her, and he helped make it a reality. The pair have put out several albums together since their partnership started in 2010.

As she considers how to honor Ricketts and their ministry moving forward, she said she wants to do for someone else what Ricketts did for her.

“It would be a way to live out his legacy to be able to help people,” said Elam. “He’s such a giving person, and I’d like to find people who need help like I did seven years ago.”

To contact Ricketts or Elam, visit jimcrystle.webs.com/contact-us.

Source:  http://www.timesfreepress.com/news/community/story/2017/jan/04/local-gospel-legend-jim-ricketts-battles-leuk/405225/

Email Shane Foley at sfoley@timesfreepress.com

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