Jim McCurdy
 “A Country and Western Music Man” 
   

Jim McCurdy was born on December 16, 1925 in Baring. He was the son of Horace and Martha (Preston) McCurdy. Even though he was named after his father, he was known by his grandfather’s name, Jim. When Jim was twelve years old he was given a Lone Ranger guitar for Christmas and Bobby Moffitt of Woodland taught Jim the G, D and A-7 chords. Not long thereafter Bobby observed that Jim was a better guitar picker that he was! We can add that the Lone Ranger guitar was from Sears Roebuck and cost $7.00.

Jim went into the Army during WWII and served in the Philippines and Japan with the 1st Cavalry. He returned to Woodland and was employed by St. Croix Paper and Georgia-Pacific.

Dot’s favorite picture of Jim;                 Jim & Dot;                                  Jim in Nova Scotia                 

He married Dorothy R. Matthews on November 9. 1947. They lived in Woodland and moved to Alexander in 1983. Their home was at 197 Davis Road, by Pleasant Lake. Jim had a special corner in the house with his easy chair and within reach his guitar, his Dobro, his banjo, his mandolin and his fiddle with an eagle carved on the back. After each meal Jim would sit here and play a bit on each of his instruments.

He enjoyed playing music with his friends at peoples’ homes, local benefits and nursing homes. He and his ‘Kitchen Picken Gang’ often played at community events here in Alexander. A few years back Jim played at the Breakneck Mountain Bluegrass Festival in Crawford with Joe Kennedy.
 

On March 3, 1981 Jim had a kitchen party and a cassette tape was made. We have copied the 90 minutes of the music. The four men were Jim on guitar, banjo and violin, Joe Kennedy played the mouth organ and sang while Everett Dean and David Sullivan played guitars and sang. It is pretty amazing that the 32 year-old tape still has the sounds of these men having fun making music.

** Click here to hear some selections of their music. **

In January 1995 Jim was asked by Fred Wallace to get a group together and play at Fred’s installation as Master of Lewey’s Island Masonic Lodge # 138 in Princeton. It was a great evening and Fred thinks that Cecil Moreside, Jim Moffitt and Jeff Gagner played along with Jim. It is interesting to note that a James R. McCurdy became a charter member of Lewey’s Island Lodge on August 27, 1866. That man was a Civil War veteran and a blacksmith. Was he an ancestor of Jim?

One activity at their home by Pleasant Lake that Dot remembers fondly was a ceremony by the Washington County Veterans Memorial Honor Guard. This was the ceremony usually performed at veterans’ funerals and included the explanation of the folding of the flag before presentation to the family. Jim Moffitt played the bagpipe at the close of the ceremony.