Raymond Ray Community Service Award

Carroll County Chamber honors
Fothergill for community service

By Helen E. McKinney
Contributing Writer

CARROLLTON, Ky. (October 2004) – Jim Fothergill’s life has been anything but mundane. A strong sense of civic duty has kept him involved in the Carrollton community in one way or another for most of his life.

Jim Fothergill accepts award

Photo by Don Ward

Jim Fothergill accepts his award
at the Aug. 10 chamber dinner.

In August, he was honored with the Raymond Ray Community Service Award, presented by the Carroll County Chamber of Commerce. This award was formerly presented as a Community Service Award, but the name was changed three years ago to honor the late Raymond Ray, an extremely active chamber member.
“Ray was a very active member of the Chamber of Commerce,” said Robin Caldwell, executive director for the Carrollton/Carroll County Tourism & Convention Commission. It is generally given to an individual who has gone “above and beyond the call of duty; someone who has given of their time as a volunteer to make a difference.”
Fothergill began life modestly enough on Jan. 20, 1930. He was the third child of Luther and Kathryn Ragan Jett Fothergill. He was reared in a family that had ties to the agricultural industry of Carroll County, and he learned to appreciate the land and its development, whether rural or industrial.
Fothergill said he has seen great changes, economically and industrially, in the county over the years. One major event was the demolition of tobacco warehouses Brite Lite Nos. 1 and 2 in February 2004. “The tobacco situation has changed so drastically,” said Fothergill. “There used to be eight warehouses, where now there is only one.”
Since the early 1960s, Fothergill has felt that Carrollton needed more industry. He served for 19 years on the Carroll County Community Development Corp. and held the roles of vice president, secretary and board member.
“Through his involvement in numerous volunteer organizations, he has had a tremendous impact on his county,” said Rhonda Crutcher, administrative assistant for the Chamber and CCCDC. Fothergill has served on the boards of both organizations, which made him a good liaison to have, said Crutcher, because the Chamber and the CCCDC work so closely together.
Former CCCDC director Joey Graves said that Fothergill “taught me a lot. He is a well-rounded individual when it comes to politics and economic development.”
It was Graves who nominated Fothergill in 2002 for a Northern Kentucky Area Development District award. The district assists Northern Kentucky Communities in effectively entering the 21st century. All of Fothergill’s economic efforts were done on a volunteer basis, said Graves. “It went above and beyond what any normal citizen would do.”
Fothergill has been an active businessman in the community for more than 50 years. He graduated from the University of Kentucky in 1951 with a major in mathematics and a minor in physiology. While there, he met his future wife, Eleanor Rachael Gash. The couple married on Dec. 21, 1952, while he was on leave from the U.S. Air Force.
Although he received a teaching degree in mathematics, Fothergill decided that was not the direction his life would take. He began working with his father, Luther, in 1953. In 1928, Luther and Paul Williams had formed Williams and Fothergill Insurance Agency, which became known as Fothergill Insurance and Real Estate, when father and son partnered together.
He had entered the Air Force as a 2nd lieutenant after his college graduation. He was stationed for one year in Mississippi, then Alaska. While stationed at an outpost base on the Yukon River, Fothergill became interested in photography. The base had a dark room, and Fothergill learned to experiment with film.
Fothergill’s fascination with photography has remained with him until this day. Upon entering the Carroll County Fair this year for the first time, he won six Blue Ribbons out of the nine categories he entered. “You always see him out with a camera,” said Crutcher.
For years, Fothergill has been a commercial photographer on the side, always interested in snapping shots of local sports events for the county school system. “I was the unofficial school photographer,” he said. His wife taught health and physical education at Carroll County High School for 27 years.
A former UK cheerleader, she served as cheerleader sponsor for 20 years and pep club sponsor for 11 years. Eleanor loved and contributed to her students’ welfare as much as her husband loved and gave back to the community.
So intense was his love of photography that when Fothergill built the couples’ home 36 years ago, he “built the house around a darkroom,” he said. Fothergill has boxes of photos stored away, which he is “gradually getting back into archiving,” he said. He may retire from the real estate business in the not too distant future, to devote more time to his hobby.
“I always appreciate it when someone hangs my work,” Fothergill said.

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