Car dealer remembered as great friend, citizen

JOHNSTON, S.C. -- Longtime Johnston Ford dealership owner James H. "Jimmy" Satcher died Saturday at 76 after an extended illness.

He inherited the dealership from his father, James Satcher Sr., who founded it in the 1940s.

"When my dad took over, he did this his whole life -- for over 50 years," said Satcher's son, David. "He never had another job."

During that time, Jim Satcher Ford became famous throughout the Augusta area and beyond.

"When the Internet came along, he sold cars all over," said the younger Satcher. "He had regular customers in Florida, North Carolina and Tennessee."

He described his father as a man whose passion was work.

"He left a strong work ethic, passed on to his six children," he said.

That hard work paid off, not only in sales but also in awards, including several Ford's President's Awards, the Daimler Chrysler Motors 25-year Award, the Distinguished Achievement Award in 1994 and the Five-Star Award for Excellence in 1997. In 1971, Satcher received a commendation from Henry Ford II for his efforts in a new marketing program.

A mainstay in the Johnston, S.C., community, Satcher was involved in many organizations, including the boards of First Citizens Bank; Johnston United Methodist Church, where he was a member; and Southeast Advertising for Chrysler Motor Co. He was also a member of Ridge Fishing Club, the Gamecock Club and Kadosh Masonic Lodge No. 154.

"There is a lot I could say about Jimmy Satcher," Johnston Mayor Andy Livingston said. "I grew up with his children. As long as I've been alive, there's been a Jim Satcher Ford. He has meant a lot to the town."

Livingston said Satcher gave him the opportunity to come back home and work when he offered him a job as office manager.

"I had finished college and worked in other places, and being a homebody, I wanted to come home," he said. "It meant a lot to me. It allowed me to do some things I wanted to do with my life."

Friends described Satcher as a good man who loved his family, was a faithful friend and loyal Gamecock fan, and made an impact on the Augusta area.

His best friend, Aaron "A.C." Reynolds of Aiken, became acquainted with Satcher when he bought a car from him around 1962. Thereafter, he took friends to buy cars from Satcher Ford.

"We went fishing and we went to ball games and races together," he said. "Jim had a key to my front door. That's what good friends we were. You're lucky if you have one good friend. I was lucky enough to have five. Jim was No. 2. My mother was No. 1."

Over the years, Reynolds said, he made a hunting club with the Satcher family in Edgefield County, where he came to relax and get away.

"For 10 years, Jim called me every day. We discussed business, private affairs. He knew that what he told me would never go anywhere," he said.

Choking up, he added, "He will be missed."

Graveside services will be held at 11 a.m. today at Mount of Olives Cemetery in Johnston.

James H. Satcher: Owner of Johnston Ford ran the dealership for more than 50 years and was an active part of the community.