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James, Allen (A.J.)

by WayneTimes.com
June 29, 2022

ROCK HILL, SC/PALMYRA:  Hems was born in Rochester, NY on November 21, 1997, to Murray Hems and Jean Allen-Woods. The youngest of four children, he was undoubtedly the baby and frequently caught grief from his older siblings because of it. After beating cancer at the age of 17, A.J. graduated from Palmyra-Macedon High School in 2016 and went on to attend Roberts Wesleyan College in Rochester, NY, for two years.  In 2018 A.J., after having been cleared by oncologist, made the decision to transfer to Tusculum College, in Greeneville, TN, where he played lacrosse for the Pioneers and graduated in 2020 with a Bachelor Degree with a major in Accounting and minor in Criminal Justice.

Known as “the glue” of his family, A.J. had the uncanny ability to reach people in a positive way; helping others and serving his community as a Deputy of the York County Sheriff’s Office came natural to him. This was a profession he held with the utmost integrity.  A.J. was an avid outdoorsman enjoying fishing, hiking, hunting, horseback riding, and was learning to rope. He followed in his grandfather’s abilities and was a self-taught craftsman known for his handcrafted duck calls, leather work of all types. His woodworking focused on rustic decor items and small furniture items.  Although A.J. had a strong attachment to his family, he couldn’t shake his desire to wake up amongst the Tennessee mountains. In March 2022, A.J. returned to Tennessee, living in a simple yet welcoming town of Crossville. A.J. loved music, especially Country and Blue Grass. He learned guitar and found peace playing his not so perfect yet beautiful tunes. His favorite weekly event was karaoke at The Hangout with friends just before his passing. He would snap chat friends with his little songs throughout the day and always expressed how much music made him feel happy. At the time of his passing, A.J. was working with his college friend, Chase Eichner, as a contractor establishing a new business of their own d/b/a Ike Construction. His family is comforted in knowing, if only for a few months, he was living his dream and finding the happiness he knew was waiting for him in Tennessee.

A.J. is survived by his cherished mother, Jean (Bill Woods) and father, Murray (Shiellee Adams); his brother, Andrew Hems (Kayla Cox) of Rock Hill, SC; his sisters, Megan Hems (Jeremy McNamara) of Deansboro, NY, and Courtney Hems of Laurens, SC; five bonus-brothers and four bonus-sisters; his grandmother, Sandra Allen of Ontario, NY; his nephews, Greyson Cox, Noah Furfaro and Cayson Cook; his nieces, Caroline Cox, Abigail Hems and Emmy McNamara; his lifelong friend, Thomas Knapp of Walworth, NY; loving aunts, uncles, cousins, friends and his adopted, rescue lab, Oliver. He was predeceased by his grandfather, Thomas Allen of Ontario, NY, his grandmother, Doris Hems of Rochester, NY, and his grandfather, Raymond Hems, of Fairport, NY.

A casual, comfortable remembrance of life will be held at 10:00 am, Saturday, July 9, 2022 at The Living Water Chapel located at Westminster Park, 4000 India Hook Road, Rock Hill, SC 29732 with Pastor Randy Bedford officiating. In lieu of flowers, the family requests memorials be made in remembrance of A.J. to either Make-A-Wish Foundation, https://wish.org or Wayne County Children’s Cancer Fund of Sodus, NY. 

Condolences may be made to the Hems family at www.greenefuneralhome.net.

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