Jim Mathis, Jr., Gville Olympics organizer, former head of NGCF dies

One of the key players in bringing part of the 1996 Summer Olympics to Gainesville died Monday.

Jim Mathis, Jr., who was 77, and his late father, James Mathis, Sr., started early on trying to find a way to bring part of the Atlanta games to Gainesville. At first, they focused on equestrian events but when that didn’t work out, they looked to Lake Lanier, which was eventually chosen for the flatwater canoe/kayak/rowing competition at the site on Clarks Bridge Road now known at Lake Lanier Olympic Park.

Aside from his work in helping secure at part of the Olympics, Mathis, a U.S. Army veteran, followed in the footsteps of his father and went into banking. Eventually, he became head of the North Georgia Community Foundation (NGCF) North Georgia Community Foundation in Gainesville, Georgia (ngcf.org) from which he retired several years ago.

His successor at NGCF, President & CEO Michelle Prater said in an email Monday “Jim was an incredible man, and I am grateful that I had the opportunity to work with him when I came onboard. He meant so much to so many and he truly left his mark on our hearts and on this organization. The work we do today at NGCF is possible because of the legacy that Jim built here.”