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Dr. James J. PikeMarch 30, 1924 ~ July 8, 2017 (age 93)
Dr. James “Jimmy” Johnson Pike son of Edwin Weber Pike and Ruby Lee Johnson Pike was born March 30, 1924 in Columbia, SC. Having fulfilled a long and rewarding life, Jimmy passed away peacefully at his home early Saturday morning.
After graduating from Columbia High School and attending one year at the University of South Carolina he cut his academic career short to serve his country. A U.S. Air Force veteran, Jimmy served in World War II where he flew 24 missions and won several medals including the Air Medal, the European Theatre Medal and the Good Conduct Medal. In 1945 he returned to the University of South Carolina where he graduated and went on to earn is Doctor of Optometry from the Illinois College of Optometry in 1953.
After graduation from optometry school “Doc” Pike returned to Columbia in 1953 to practice optometry where he developed a wonderful relationship with patients for over fifty years. He not only contributed to the well being of his patients but also to his profession, serving on local, state and regional levels as President of the Richland County Optometric Association, President of the South Carolina Optometric Association and on the Southern Council Board of Trustees. He was one of the very first SCOA members to recommend optometric participation in the Vocational Rehabilitation Program.
Jimmy was a devout member of the YMCA for over 40 years, serving on its board for many of those years. As its President the Y carried out the Capital Fund drive in the 1980’s which raised over $600,000 to completely refurbish the Columbia facility. He was also active as a Columbia Jaycee, helped charter the Columbia Downtown Optimist Club; he was a board member for Richland County Department of Social Services for 10 years and the master of ceremonies for Optimist Club oratorical contests and the YMCA Christmas Party for underprivileged children for many years.
Jimmy was involved in sports throughout his life. The “Diminutive Jimmy Pike”, often the smallest player on the court excelled in basketball in high school as forward on the Class A State Basketball Championship team for Columbia High and later as a member of the freshman basketball team at the University of South Carolina. He was passionate about his golf game and enjoyed nothing more than his weekly rounds with “the group” with whom he stayed close even after his golfing days were over. Jimmy remained a loyal Gamecock for 93 years and took every opportunity presented to attend a game, his last being at the age of 91.
Jimmy was foremost a family man. He cherished time spent with his beloved wife, son, brothers, sisters, cousins, nieces and nephews. Those who remain will cherish the wonderful memories of their times spent with “Uncle Jimmy” often filled with jokes, laughter and humorous stories. He was predeceased by his parents, his wife Rachael Kennerly Pike, son Kenneth Weber Pike, brother, Edwin Weber Pike, Jr. and sisters, Rubilee Knight and Mary Eloise Patterson.
Funeral services for for Jimmy Pike will be held Wednesday, July 12, 2017 at 2:00 p.m. at Woodridge Memorial Park, Lexington. Visitation will follow the service. Memorials in Jimmy Pike’s name can be made to St. Paul’s Church, 304 E. Camperdown Way, Greenville, SC 29601, the Columbia YMCA, 1447 Hampton Street, Columbia, SC 29201, and Boysfarm, Post Office Box 713, Newberry, SC 29108.