In memoriam: Missionary emeritus James “Jim” McAtee, 1938-2023

James “Jim” McAtee, 1938-2023
IMB Photo

James “Jim” McAtee, an International Mission Board missionary emeritus who shared the gospel in Indonesia and Burma, died June 15, 2022, in Mint Hill, North Carolina. He was 84.

Jim was born August 31, 1938, in Jackson, Mississippi, to the late Joe Fred McAtee and Mildred Nelson McAtee. He graduated from Central High School, Jackson, Mississippi, and received the Bachelor of Science from Millsap College, Jackson, Mississippi, and Master of Theology from Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary.

Jim married Carolyn Mahaffey on June 3, 1960. They celebrated their 63rd wedding anniversary before he passed. After graduating from college, Jim served in the US Air Force in Ogden, Utah, and then worked at Boeing Aircraft while living there.

In 1971, the Foreign Mission Board (now, International Mission Board) appointed Jim and Carolyn missionaries to Indonesia. They served as church planters there. He was also the chaplain/evangelist at Kediri Baptist Hospital on the island of Java for 14 years. For the next three years, he served in that same capacity at Immanuel Hospital on the island of Sumatra.

In 1988, many missionaries had to leave Indonesia, and the McAtees joined others to form an itinerant teaching team who traveled all over Southeast Asia for seven years teaching lay pastors how to serve their church. He then changed his focus and began new work in Burma after the country opened to foreigners again. Jim and Carolyn served a total of 32 years as missionaries overseas.

After retiring in 2002 they began serving again in 2008 as volunteers at Glorieta Conference Center in Glorieta, New Mexico, until they moved to Bothell, Washington in 2017 where they enjoyed being a part of Meadowbrook Church, Redmond, Washington. Jim was honored in 2022 to receive the Distinguished Alumni Award from Gateway Seminary.

Jim is survived by his wife, Carolyn; two children, Julie Milam (Phillip), Spanaway, Washington, and Cliff McAtee (Krista), Mint Hill, North Carolina; five grandchildren and two great grandchildren.

Memorial services were held July 14 at Hickory Ridge Baptist Church, Florence, Mississippi, and July 29 at Arlington Baptist Church, Mint Hill, North Carolina.

Donations in his memory may be made to the Lottie Moon Offering, IMB, 3806 Monument Avenue, Richmond, VA 23230, or online at Generosity Resource Center – IMB Generosity.

Read an obituary here.