James Allen “Jim” Justiss, age 85 of Cherryville passed away Saturday, July 8, 2023 at Wendover Hospice. He was born November 12, 1937 in Coweta County to the late Leon and Lily Payton Justiss.
As a teenager, he achieved the ranks of Eagle Scout and God and Country award. This was a proud time and he said the award goes with you throughout your life.
He attended Berry College, in Rome, GA, as a work student. He met the love of his life, Martha, in Rome, GA, they were married and together until his death. His first job was in Atlanta with a company that filed tariffs for the trucking companies. In 1963, he was promoted to weighing and inspection manager for the state of Florida. They moved to Jacksonville and travelled the state working with shippers and trucking companies. He said Carolina stood out above other trucking companies when he had an opportunity to apply for and join Carolina as a sales representative in 1966. His job covered a large sales area but also included port operations of ocean carriers, consolidators, and forwarders. This later resulted in several trips to Puerto Rico to develop this market. He said he now “had salt in his shoes.” John “Buck” Fraley, President and CEO, asked him to move to Cherryville headquarters and develop an International Division. He moved in 1974.
The first 4 years involved developing Carolina’s trucking services to and from ocean carriers, consolidators, and freight forwarders. He also established sales agents in Canada and Mexico. In early 1980 a major development of future ocean services was launched. Carolina became the first US Trucking Company to provide door to door service to an offshore market in Puerto Rico. This was a very large market for the US with the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico. A one carrier concept of land and ocean services on one freight bill door to door. Jim said this had never been available and it greatly simplified shipping. He said in less than a year, Carolina became the number one service in the market. The leadership continued and accelerated. They had their own employees and warehouse. Jim said opening of other world markets followed soon, 130 countries. Approximate order, other Caribbean Islands, West Indies (via Puerto Rico), Dominican Republic, Jamaica, Central and South America, UK, Ireland, Europe, (included some transshipments to Africa over Rotterdam), Asia, Australia, New Zealand, transshipments to various Pacific Islands (via Singapore, Australia, and New Zealand ports), South Africa, and Israel. He said this required extensive travel, setting up networks of agents around the world, different languages (thankfully most spoke English); and each country had its own laws, customs, and marketing to learn.
In 1982, Jim was promoted to an officer of Carolina, VP of International. He also served as President of International NVOCC (Non-Vessel Operating Common Carrier) Association, Washington, DC. In 1994, the demise of Carolina became apparent. Carolina’s holding company, Carolina Freight Corporation decided to spin off the International Division into a separate company. It was named CaroTrans International. Jim was named President of the new company with world headquarters in Cherryville. Many overseas agents learned where Cherryville was located by visiting the offices for planning and to learn more about the company. He said CaroTrans continued to operate in Cherryville for 3 or 4 years after the demise of Carolina. Finally, the owners decided to move the headquarters to Chicago or New Jersey. Jim said he was not prepared to make that move. He did not believe many or any of the wonderful employees in Cherryville would transfer. It was time to retire at 59, earlier than planned.
Jim said what they accomplished with Carolina International and CaroTrans for the community, employment opportunities, and recognition, credit goes to the support of many Carolina managers and the wonderful team of professional employees in Cherryville headquarters of Carolina Int’l and CaroTrans. Also the various port operations personnel. He said as a note, CaroTrans is still in business, headquartered in NJ.
It was time to catch up on his fishing and travelling by car with his wife, Martha. They covered parts of 49 states (sorry Alaska). They did it again a few years later with their grandchildren, covering 35 to 40 states and part of Canada and Mexico by van. What great memories. The grandchildren still talk about the places they visited. He was a devoted grandfather and truly lived for moments spent with the grandchildren. Jim was a longtime member of St. John’s Lutheran Church and served on church council. He delivered meals on wheels in Cherryville starting in 2008. Jim said that was a very worthwhile and rewarding service.
In addition to his parents he was preceded in death by his daughter, Lesia Gay Mull; son, Jonathan Lane Justiss; and sisters, Carolyn Robertson, Joyce Robertson, and Mildred Rainwater.
Survivors include his wife, Martha Justiss; son, Roger Lee Justiss; grandchildren, John Michael Mull, James Matthew Mull, Timothy Allen Justiss, Christopher Lane Justiss and wife, Ivy; and great granddaughter, Isabella Justiss.
A memorial service will be held Wednesday, July 12, 2023 at 2:00 PM at St. John’s Lutheran Church with Pastor G. Scott Homesley officiating. The family will receive friends Wednesday, from 1:00 to 1:45 PM prior to the service in the church sanctuary.
A burial service will be held at a later date in Grantville, GA.
Memorials may be made to St. John’s Lutheran Church, PO Box 100, Cherryville, NC 28021.
Condolences may be made to www.carpenterporter.com