On May 5, 2020, Jimmy Alton Cartee, age 85, ascended the stairway to heaven where he joined St. Peter at the pearly gates. He was met by his mother and father, Blanche Beasley Cartee and Kermit Eugene Cartee and his brother Kermit Eugene Cartee Jr. who had gone before him.
In route to meet his Lord and Savior, he was greeted along the way with handshakes and hugs from George Jones, Tammy Wynette, Patsy Cline, Little Jimmy Dickens, Dottie West, Marty Robbins, Merle Haggard, Ralph Stanley, Jean Shepard, Don Williams, and many others, all of whom he had referred to over the years as “My Friend”.
He served as a medic with the United States Army and was stationed in Landstuhl, Germany.
Jimmy’s time on this earth was filled with many years of hard work and success, side by side with his wife of over 64 years. He was named Bulloch County Outstanding Young Farmer in 1966 at the age of 33. His farming career was very diversified and he became one of Georgia’s largest farmers and operated over 6,000 acres of land. He produced crops of corn, cotton, peanuts, rye, soybeans, tobacco and wheat. He raised cattle and swine. Along with his farming operation, he was also a Dekalb Corn seed dealer, chemical salesman, owned and operated a large trucking company, transporting commodities to the Georgia Ports Authority for himself and other area farmers.
His name and interviews of his farming practices and procedures for successful crops were spread throughout agricultural magazines such as Progressive Farmer, Dupont Magazine, Farm Futures, Soybean Digest, Farm Journal and more. He was the first farmer in the area to “no till” the land and many were skeptical of the practice at the time, but today, this is the norm for most land preparation procedures.
He was featured in several national agricultural commercial and training videos for herbicides and other chemicals, with the film production being in his own fields of crops. In 1976, he became a spokesperson for Elanco Chemical’s herbicide, Surflan. When asked why he preferred this product over others, he responded, “It’s got stayin’ power” and this quote appeared on every can sold, giving Jimmy Cartee, Bulloch County, Ga, the credit for the slogan used. Elanco refers to that same quote today when advocating this product.
He served on several local, state and national agricultural advisory boards, and was a constant reference for advice for the U.S. Department of Agriculture. He hosted and was featured in several farms tours across Georgia during his friend, Lindsay Thomas’ tenure as a U.S. Congressman. His opinion and thoughts regarding farming and the future of farming were well respected by all in the agricultural industry.
Jimmy, along with the Bulloch County Young Farmers Association, brought the first tractor pull competition in the state, to the Kiwanis Fair Grounds in Statesboro, in the late 1970s. He competed in the modified mini-tractor class and out of field class and was known as “The Farmin’ Fool”. In 2006 he traveled to Pine Tops, North Carolina to attend his first National Tractor Pull.
In 1986, his idea of farming made a complete 180 degree turn, thinking outside the box, as he repurposed his family farm cow pasture into greener grasses for something other than feeding bovine. Farming was taking a financial spiral downward for all farmers and his ever creative 51 year old mind led him to using the pasture land to develop the 18 hole public golf course, Meadow Lakes Golf Club. He built the course using his own tractors, farm equipment and farm employees. Jimmy had farmed all his adult life and knew nothing about the world of golf, not even the proper lingo. Up until a few months prior to Meadow Lakes Golf Club opening in November 1986, he had never held a golf club in his hands, which he incorrectly referred to as a “golf bat”. He went on to develop over 300 home sites on and around the golf course where so many people live today and enjoy the luxury of country living and call him neighbor.
In 2013, the original Meadow Lakes Golf Club was purchased by Georgia Southern University and serves as their home course. The beautification and additional developments of the course by GSU, is only second to Jimmy’s love of his original family land. He and his family are proud to have the Cartee family name forever associated with Georgia Southern University.
During his years of retirement, he and Mary Nell spent their time in Myrtle Beach where they enjoyed attending the Carolina Opry and quickly became friends of all the performers.
He loved his church and his family, both immediate and distant. He had many friends and made each one feel special. He loved sporty cars and pontoon boat crusing. His flower gardens could rival the likes of award winning landscapes around the world. He’s now abiding in the place where flowers bloom all year long and the boat rides are long and often.
To sum Jimmy Cartee up in a few words; “ He was a visionary! No matter what it was, he saw it, he built it, he developed it, and he succeeded in the project which originated in the magical mind of a humble Bulloch County Farmer”.
He is survived by his wife of 64 years, Mary Nell Deal Cartee, his daughter, Terri Bland (Mark) of Metter and their son, Jordan Bland; his son, Caleb Cartee (Pam) of Del Ray, W. Virginia and his daughters, Tifany, Cayla and Catlyn Cartee; his son, Jamey Cartee (Dawn) and his son, Jimmy Alton (Al) Cartee, Jr. and his son, Josh and daughter, Patsy Cartee, and is survived by several great-grandchildren. He is also survived by his sister, Jo Ann Cox, a sister-in-law, Marie Cartee Williams and several nieces and nephews.
The family will receive visitors at Joiner-Anderson Funeral Home in Statesboro on Friday from 5:00pm until 8:00pm. All social distancing guidelines will be observed.
Graveside services and burial will be on Saturday, May 9, 2020, at 2:00 pm at Bulloch Memorial Gardens with Elder Buck Grantham officiating. Live streaming of the service will be available. Services are streamed using Facebook Live through a private group. Only members of the group will be able to view the service. In order to view the service, log into Facebook on your phone or computer and join the group “Joiner-Anderson Live Stream” at:https://www.facebook.com/groups/jafhlive/
Acting pallbearers will be Jordan Bland, Josh Cartee, Brian Cartee, Richard Cooper, Timmy Rushing, Percell Tremble and Tracy Waters.
The family requests that memorial contributions made to Ogeechee Area Hospice P.O. Box 531 Statesboro, Georgia 30458 or Middleground Baptist Church 7198 Harville Road Statesboro, Georgia 30458.
Friends may sign the online register book at www.joineranderson.com.
Joiner-Anderson Funeral Home & Crematory of Statesboro is in charge of the arrangements.