James (Jim) C. Metz passed away unexpectedly on the evening of June 19th, 2020 in Warren, OH. Jim was born on January 3rd, 1954 in Weston, West Virginia to Francis and Evelyn Metz. He was the fifth of six children. The Metz family later moved to Garrettsville, OH where Jim grew up and graduated from James A. Garfield High school. Jim was a three letter athlete in high school and was the star quarterback for the Garfield G-Men.
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While growing up in Garrettsville, OH Jim developed a fervent love for bluegrass and folk music. At the age of 5 he learned to play the guitar, by the age of 12 he was playing the banjo alongside his lifelong friend, Grammy award-winning musician Jerry Douglas. He styled his playing around the legendary Earl Scruggs. But Jim's musical talent was not just limited to the guitar and banjo. Any stringed instrument placed in his hands found its voice with ease. Jim had a beautiful tenor singing voice and could match pitch and harmony with anyone. All of this, despite never learning to read music. It was a gift of the ear. Because of this gift, Jim was able to share a stage with some of the finest bluegrass musicians in the world. He found his own success with his bands West Virginia Travelers, Mountain Therapy, Beaver Creek Band, Clear Fork, Church Street Blues, and Border Ride. The latter being composed of his life long friends Nelson Boosel, Darla Evans, and Scott and Cathy Pearson.
At age 18, Jim followed in the footsteps of his father and began working at the Ohio Turnpike Commission in the maintenance department. 32 years later he retired as an assistant foreman at the Canfield, OH post. In retirement he continued to enjoy working outside with his hands, fixing things, mowing grass, and was always willing to lend a hand to help.
Jim was an avid fan of the Cleveland Cavaliers, the Cleveland Browns, the Cleveland Indians, The Ohio State Buckeyes and the Pittsburgh Penguins. He also enjoyed watching Liverpool soccer matches with his son.
His love of sports and his love of music paled in comparison to the love he had for his wife Carolyn. Married on November 17th, 1984 they spent 35 wonderful and happy years together. When Jim was diagnosed with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, also known as ALS or Lou Gehrigs Disease, in January of 2017, Carolyn was by his side as a full time caregiver and partner. Despite this awful diagnosis, Jim met it head on with a strong will, continuing to fight and advocate on the behalf of others. Even taking part in a clinical trial for new treatments for ALS at the Cleveland Clinic. He was extremely grateful for the wonderful care he received in Cleveland and with his home care team at Geisinger.
Preceding him in death were his parents, his twin sister Janet, and his older sister Beverly.
Jim leaves behind four children: James Brian (Kimberly) Metz of Madison, AL, Jennifer Metz of Newport, TN, Joshua Metz of Warren, OH and Rebecca Metz of Warren, OH. He also leaves behind four grandchildren: Dylan, Raechel Jenna, Lucy, and Jedi. He most recently became a great grandfather on June 11th , 2020 to great grandson Gryffin James. Nothing made Jim prouder or happier than spending time with his wife, children, and grandchildren. Jim also leaves behind his great friend and brother-in-law Cecil Gore and his great niece Gwen Leslie.
His life was large and his legacy and influence far reaching,and he will be surely missed by many friends, family, colleagues. Jim found the words of the great Bill Shankley to be most pertinent: “He made the people happy.”