Martinsville High School Alumni
|Class of 1954
|Tribute to Jim Painter from Moir Hill - 51|
Merle B. Duffy (1954)
|TO FAYE, FAMILY, AND ALL JIM’S FRIENDS:|
All of you knew this man “Coach Painter” and all the accomplishments he attained in his life. This is just a short version of how he came to be the great baseball coach, father, husband, and friend you know.
First, let me say how good God is!! My youngest brother died just a day into his life – his name was Jimmy. So God gave me Jim on the first day of school at Joseph Martin Elementary School in 1942 to take his place. This was the beginning of a friendship that everyone longs for, but only a few get.
From that first day thru all of elementary school we were inseparable. We both had a “passion” for baseball and other sports that cemented our relationship. Doing well in school was a common desire we both had. For Jim it seemed so easy, and being second to him was my role in our education experience.
I have to mention the play we were both in during our 3rd Grade year – “Pinocchio”. I was the wooden boy and Jim was “Jiminy the Cricket”. It was about this time our relationship became a “trio” when J. R. Martin came on the scene. J.R. was the “Fonz” of Martinsville and he protected us no matter the situation.
Summers were spent playing baseball against our rivals, “Northside”, every day and practicing every chance we got. Playing baseball in high school opened the door for both of us to have the good fortune in playing semi-pro ball with some of the local legends of baseball -- Randy Hundley’s, of the Cubs, father; Mel Cartwright, and W. K. Putney, just to name a few. Playing for “Snow Creek” gave both of us the opportunity to learn about pride in a small community and the togetherness that comes from poor, simple, honest people.
Jim and I shared writing for our school paper on the sports section. This may have led to the only time we got into trouble. After a rained out game we took the score book and made up a game where Jim hit a grand slam homerun to win the game. After leaving the book on the Sports Director’s desk, the headline the next day read, “Painter’s grand slam beats D.T.I”. What followed is another story in itself!
So graduation came and we decided to join the Air Force on the buddy system. After basic training at Lackland Air Force Base, we experienced something that was very uncomfortable to both of us. We were separated for the first time in 13 years. Again, let me tell you how good God is!
I found out that after Tech School I would be going to Japan. Jim, by being one of the sharpest weathermen in this field, got to choose where he could go. He chose Japan. By God’s grace we got to travel from Roanoke to San Francisco by train and then by plane to Japan.
Jim stationed in Tokyo, while I went to Southern Japan on the island of Kuyshu-Ashyia. We both did well on our base teams and got to compete against each other for two years. In 1956 I was selected to try out for the Olympic baseball team going to Melbourne, Australia. I didn’t make the team, but they let me stay in Tokyo until the team returned. So I spent some time with Jim until they came back.
My roommate in Ashyia was a young man from Louisiana who had never played baseball. I encouraged him to go to practice with me one day, and the rest is history. John Stanford began his baseball career. Jim’s team won the Far East Championship in ’57 and they could pick any two players in the Far East to help their team.
Again let me say how good God is!! They picked John as their pitcher and me as their 2nd baseman. So off to New Mexico we three went with the “F.E.A.F. Tornadoes”. We did not win the worldwide championship, but we did come in second.
This leads us to our last phase of our developmental years. John, Jim, and Moir all decided to go to MTSU together to play college baseball. The rest is history where John and Jim are concerned. You all know their story. A lot of you were part of their history-making success.
On a very personal note I want it to be known how much I loved Jim and John. I cherish the many, many memories we have. I could be apart from them for years, and when we did talk or unite, it was like we had never been away from each other.
God has a team in Heaven and I’m sure Jim and John are two of His most beloved coaches. My request, Lord, is that you save a position for me with them as a player when you unite us again.
Rest in peace, Jim, and know your family, friends, former players, and myself are so proud of you and what you have done here on earth.
Til we meet again,
Moir – Jr.