James Kimberly “Kym” Shurbutt
February 23, 1953 – October 1, 2021
Myrtle Beach, Maryland – Born February 23, 1953 in Spartanburg, South Carolina, James Kimberly “Kym” Shurbutt 68, of Myrtle Beach, died on Friday October 1, 2021 in Charleston.
Kym was the second of four children of Margaret (Laurens) Shurbutt and the late Marion Edward Shurbutt. He attended Roebuck Elementary School and Roebuck Junior High and graduated from Dorman High School in 1972. He attended Spartanburg Methodist College and later the Southwest Guitar Conservatory in San Antonio, Texas. Raised in the Methodist faith, Kym was a member of the former Cornelius Methodist Church in Roebuck, near Spartanburg.
A musician and natural artist, Kym began performing professionally at local clubs around Spartanburg and Greenville County. He was an important part of the Spartanburg music scene, first with the band Sagebrush and later as lead singer of Lightwood, which gained regional fame. While performing in small venues, he occasionally had the opportunity to join and perform with the Marshall Tucker Band, establishing a long-standing friendship that culminated in his performance with them when they performed a concert at the Calvin Gilmore Theater in 2019.
In 1986, Kym auditioned for The Carolina Opry in Surfside Beach, but the positions were all filled. However, it kept coming back and owner Calvin Gilmore finally said, “We have nothing for you, but you can use the sound and maybe something will open.” Kym took it. Just days before opening night, Calvin scheduled a dress rehearsal and convinced Hee Haw’s chief writers to come over and review the comedy. In a twist of fate, the artist hired to be “Bogie” fell violently ill with the flu; on a hunch, Calvin put Kym at the service. With only superficial familiarity with the script, Kym rose to the challenge and played Bogie. The rest, as they say, is history. Calvin and the Hee Haw writers (who loved the show and didn’t think they needed to contribute anything) agreed Kym had it, and they were right. His comedic timing, good looks, charisma and irrepressible sense of fun made audiences love him from the opening night. For over 35 years, Kym brought Bogie to life and made hundreds of thousands of locals and visitors laugh.
When not performing, Kym enjoyed spending time in Spartanburg with his family and longtime “gatherer and fisherman” buddies. They would take guitars and reels and hang out wherever they could find a good spot. As Kym said, it was his way of “coming home”. Kym was also an avid reader, with a particular interest in history, autobiography, and other epic novels. His collection included the writings of Hemingway, JRR Tolkien, George RR Martin, Ken Follet, and The Diaries of Lewis and Clark, to name a few.
Kym was known to be the guy who “never lost a friend” but whether you’re family, a friend, or just someone who took to the stage after the show to get his autograph, the heat, Kym’s genuine joy and passion for life was still on display.
Kym’s greatest pride was his son Cody and his family. Grandson Caden was often seen next to Kym or even on his shoulders, chanting every word when Kym joined a local restaurant concert.
Kym was predeceased by his father, Marion Shurbutt, his nephew Kai Shurbutt, his sister-in-law Kristy Meadows and his life partner of 20 years, Cynthia Talotta. He is survived by his mother, Margaret Shurbutt, of Spartanburg; her son Cody Shurbutt (Sheena) and grandson Caden, of Myrtle Beach; Brother David Shurbutt, of Asheville, North Carolina; Sister Suzanne Shurbutt-Boisvert, of St. Petersburg, Florida; Sister Cynthia Shurbutt-Meadows, of Boiling Springs, South Carolina; niece Lauren Boisvert, of St. Petersburg, Florida; and her beloved cat Kippy, of the house.
Kym’s family would like to especially thank Thom Hegman, Kym’s 2016 bone marrow transplant donor. Thom’s generous gift of life helped Kym recover from rare blood cancer and gave him five more years with the people he loved.
A Celebration of Life is scheduled for October 23, 2021 at 1 p.m. at the Carolina Opry Theater in Myrtle Beach, SC.
The family are planning a smaller private memorial in their hometown of Spartanburg later in November.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made in Kym’s name at https://bethematch.org/.

Published by The Sun News on October 17, 2021.

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