James L. McClain, 86, passed away July 22 in Port St. Lucie, Florida, where he and wife Carolyn had lived in retirement. He was a well-known Knoxville business owner in North and West Knoxville.
Mr. McClain graduated from Central High School and the University of Tennessee with a degree in horticulture. He opened Jim McClain Nursery on Clinton Highway in 1957 and eventually expanded to include Jim McClain Landscaping, Nursery and Garden Center and a wholesale nursery on Lovell Road.
According to his obituary, he was a pioneer and a trendsetter in commercial landscape design, introducing the first color beds at the McDonald’s drive-ins. He won various local, state and national awards for landscape design. He served as president of Tennessee Nurserymen’s Association and was inducted into its Hall of Fame in 2009. He was an avid golfer and belonged to Beaver Brook Golf & Country Club, where he served as president; Fox Den Golf & Country Club; and Santa Lucia Golf & Yacht Club.
Jim and Carolyn would have celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary on July 24. They had two children: Tina Wesson-Brewer and Joe McClain and their families. A Celebration of Life service, conducted by the Rev. James G. McCluskey, will be held at noon Tuesday, Aug. 6, at Wallace Memorial Baptist Church, 701 Merchants Dr. The family invites everyone to stay for lunch and visitation following the service.