Suwannee Democrat

Features

January 22, 2013

Jim Senterfitt Jr.: A life, a legacy, a leader

Live Oak — James “Jim” Henry Senterfitt Jr. passed away in Lake City on Jan. 19 at Haven Hospice leaving a loving wife, Voncile of 34 years, family and friends behind to cherish his memory.

Senterfitt, 90, was born in Holt to James and Cora Senterfitt. He attended and graduated from Waldon High School in Defuniak Springs.

Following high school, Senterfitt joined the military and served in World War II with the 46th Seabee Battalion in the South Pacific. Following his discharge from the military, Senterfitt enrolled at the University of Florida in Gainesville where he later obtained a Bachelor and Master of Agriculture degree.

Senterfitt served 30 years with the USDA Soil Conservation Service during which he was bestowed numerous awards, including the Distinguished Service Award, Award of Merit-Resource Conservation and the Florida Association of Conservation District Award. In 2008, Senterfitt was inducted into the NACD Southeast Region Conservation Hall of Fame.

He was very active in the Kiwanis Club in Live Oak and was a member for over 66 years. Kiwanis historian Brant Helvenston reported that Senterfitt was one of the longest tenured Kiwanians in the state of Florida. In 1975-76 and 1981-82, he was the recipient of the Roy Hunter Award. He also served as lieutenant governor of the Kiwanis Club Florida District Division 4.

Local resident John Tull not only saw Senterfitt as a fellow Kiwanian, but as a leader.

“I knew Jim through the Kiwanis club. He was my sponsor back in the early 80s when he first got me to join,” Tull said. “Since then, he’s been a guide and a mentor to me for the past 30 years. I’ve learned from him how to be a good Kiwanian because of his leadership.”

Danny Hales Jr. said Senterfitt will “surely be missed.”

“Family, religion, Kiwanis and the (Florida) Gators, that was his interest. That’s what he would tell you all about. He was a good guy. He was the type of person that would do anything for anybody. If you needed help, he would be glad to help,” Hales said.

“I will always remember Jim as a dear friend and fellow Kiwanian,” stated Monja Slater. “He strived to make us all better Kiwanis Club members and to know the club bylaws.”

Senterfitt attended the First Baptist Church in Live Oak where he served as a prayer warrior.

Funeral services were held on Monday at the First Baptist Church in Live Oak at 11 a.m. with interment at Orange Hill Cemetery in Williston.

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