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Grand Rivers, KY — James Luke McGee, 19, passed away on August 2, 2019, in Grand Rivers.
James Luke was born on November 10, 1999, in Paducah to Laura and Dykie McGee. James Luke weighed 4 pounds, 15 ounces, arriving just shy of 35 weeks with his twin sister, Anna Grace.
Kind, witty, humble, gentle, and brilliant were the words most often spoken when one was describing James Luke. James Luke attended Community Christian Academy kindergarten through ninth grade, finishing high school at Paducah Tilghman to be with Anna Grace. He was loved and admired at both schools.
A 2018 honor graduate of Paducah Tilghman High School, James Luke finished in the top 2% of his class. He earned the prestigious designation of National Merit Commended Student, an honor received by the top 5% of high scoring high school juniors in the nation. In addition, he was named an AP Scholar with Distinction, indicating college readiness at the highest level.
He was the recipient of his graduating class’ United States Marine Corps Academic Excellence Award, selected unanimously by Paducah Tilghman’s faculty and staff. James Luke was also named Paducah Tilghman’s Outstanding Spanish Student. During his senior year in high school, James Luke was named a Paducah Bank Teen of the Week, noted for his belief that learning requires the ability to set aside one's own perspective in order to truly understand the views of another. James Luke embodied this belief, engaging in activities that allowed him to have a positive impact at his school and in his community.
James Luke was a member of Teen Court, the Interact Club, and a long-time volunteer at Baptist Health Paducah’s gift shop. He was a member of the National Honor Society; an integral member of Paducah Tilghman’s Future Problem Solving Team, advancing to the Kentucky Governor’s Cup State Competition his senior year; and a 6 year member of the Varsity Tennis Team — 4 years at Community Christian Academy and 3 years at Tilghman. A true scholar athlete, James Luke was awarded the Sportsmanship Award his sophomore year and was named a Wendy’s High School Heisman School Honoree as a senior, a national recognition of outstanding achievement in the classroom, in the community, and on the playing field.
While at Tilghman, James Luke was noticed early on by colleges and universities for his commitment to academic excellence. He was named a Centre College Fellow during his junior year, an honor reserved for the nation’s brightest, most involved young people. He was subsequently invited to be a Centre Summer Scholar after his junior year, and ultimately matriculated at Centre College as a Faculty Scholar following high school graduation. James Luke recently received Centre College’s Highest Freshman GPA Award and the John W. Redd Freshman English Award. James Luke spoke of attending law school in keeping with a long-standing family tradition.
James Luke enjoyed staying abreast of local and national politics and following the top tennis athletes in the world, knowing current statistics of the top tennis competitors. He loved walks and sunsets; he noticed nature and beauty. He loved listening to the church choir, and he ate an apple every day. He loved chocolate donuts with sprinkles and Christmas music. James Luke was on a mission to watch all of the classic movies this summer.
He always had strong faith in God. He turned to his faith to help with anxiety. He never caused a single day’s disappointment. James Luke never got in trouble. James Luke loved his family and his twin sister and was beloved beyond measure by them in return.
James Luke is survived by twin sister, Anna Grace; parents Laura and Dykie McGee; paternal grandparents Bill and Vickie McGee of Paducah; maternal grandparents Bunny and Richard Browder of Athens, TN, and Virginia and James Luke Shelton of Orlando, FL; and first cousins Emily and Will McGee of Marshall County.
Visitation will be held Tuesday, August, 6 from four until eight at First Baptist Church (FBC), Paducah, KY. Funeral services will be held Wednesday, August, 7 at 11:00 am at FBC with Pastor Charles Moore officiating.
Family and close friends are invited to the burial in Smithland, KY, immediately following the service.
Memorials may be made to Community Christian Academy, 110 Lebanon Church Road, Paducah, KY 42003 or the Paducah Tilghman Tennis Team Paducah Tornado Tennis, 242 Wallace Lane, Paducah, Ky. 42001.
Smith Funeral Chapel is in charge of arrangements.
Online condolences may be left at www.smithfc.com