Sergeant Major James Alston, Jr., 85, departed this life on Saturday, July 10. A Celebration of Life with Military Rites was conducted at 11 a.m. Saturday, July 17, in the chapel of Boyd & Royster Funeral Services of Warrenton by Apostle Mark Dickens of Holy Ghost Power of Deliverance and Restoration Ministries in Whitakers.

SGM Alston was born Sept. 4, 1935, the son of Sallie Bet and James Alston, Sr., in Norlina. He was an honor roll student in the Warren County public schools and earned a bachelor’s degree at North Carolina A&T State University.

James joined the United States Army in 1958. Traveling around the world and practicing dental surgery, he was station at Fort Bragg, Fort Benning, Ga., West Point, Va., Ft. Clayton, Panama, Hawaii and Korea. He climbed the ranks and left the Army in 1988 as a Sergeant Major.

James went from protecting his country to serving his community. Working for Kittrell Job Corps Center, the mission was the educate, train and motivate young men for successful careers. James served as a driving instructor for years and remained with Kittrell Job Corps until retirement.

In retirement, he enjoyed gardening, taking people out to eat, telling stories about his travels, American history and his Native American culture, listening to music, talking to his buddies and cooking rotisserie chickens.

In addition to his parents, James was preceded in death by his brother, John Earl Alston; sisters, Victoria and Marie Hunter; nieces, Sallie Laverne Alston Keasley, Dianne Marie Alston Neal and Priscilla Holman; and nephew, Charles Alston.

Survivors include nephews, John Earl Alston, Jr., James Alston, Edward Alston, Jerome Alston, Jimmie Lee Alston, Brian Henderson, Ricky Hunter (Vicky) and Gregory Hunter, Sr.; nieces, Barbara Ann Buchanan, Mary Carolyn Harris, Patricia “Shug” Shaw (Davis), Benita Henderson and Shirley Hunter; his brother-in-law, Benjamin Henderson; more than 100 great-nieces and great-nephews, and a host of friends.

Online condolences may be made at boydsfuneralserviceinc.com.