Birth Date: 02/03/1918
Deceased Date: 08/30/2017
SMITHFIELD: James Louis Talton, 99, died August 30, 2017 at SECU Hospice House in Smithfield, NC, having suffered a stroke on August 26. Following a private burial, a memorial service will be held in the sanctuary of First Baptist Church on September 2, 2017 at 11:00 a.m., 202 South Fourth Street, Smithfield, NC. Visitation will follow in the fellowship hall of First Baptist Church.
Mr. Talton was born February 3, 1918, the son of Thomas Jethro Talton and Lillie Higgins Tallton. His mother, half-sister Ellena Talton Fleming and Uncle Robert Higgins raised him to understand the values of developing a work ethic and of education. With the encouragement and support of Robert P. Holding, Sr., he graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, with a Bachelor of Science degree in Commerce in 1939. He returned to Smithfield to work in several departments at First Citizens Bank, including the auditing and loans departments, where he maintained an office even after retirement at the age of 70. In the late 1940s, Mr. Talton left the bank for 20 years to work at Austin-Ogburn Cotton Company as a cotton classer and bookkeeper.
Mr. Talton devoted his life to his family, church, the local community, UNC-CH, and country. He was a Southern gentleman and the epitome of integrity and honesty. He never forgot his humble upbringing and those who were responsible for his opportunities. He was compassionate, kind, and a consummate problem solver. He will be missed greatly, but his legacy will live.
Mr. Talton was a member of First Baptist Church of Smithfield his entire life. He served as a deacon for many years, a Sunday School teacher and treasurer. He continued to sign checks for the church until August 23, 2017 and always felt he “needed the church more than the church needed him.” He married the love of his life, Mary Elizabeth Woodard, in April of 1943. During World War II, he served in the army as Seymour Johnson in the accounting department. He was a member of the Smithfield Kiwanis Club (50 years), an active participant for education at Smithfield High School and Johnston Community College and a UNC Ram Club member for over 75 years.
He was predeceased in 2008 by his wife of 65 years, Mary Woodard Talton. He is survived by his daughters, Mary Lillie Wilkins (husband Charles P. Wilkins) and Rebecca T. Kalsbeek (husband William D. Kalsbeek); his two grandchildren, Sarah Kalsbeek With (Reverend David Leland With) and Brian James Kalsbeek (Melia Johnson Kalsbeek); three great grandchildren, Olivia Talton With, Isaac James Kalsbeek, and Ian Frank Kalsbeek; his two step grandchildren, Christi Wilkins Lushbaugh (Devin L. Lughbaugh) and Charles P. Wilkins, Jr. (Lindsay S. Wilkins); two step great grandchildren, Zoe Lindsay Lushbaugh and Sienna Elise Wilkins; and nephew, Oliver Fleming.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to First Baptist Church, 202 South Fourth Street, Smithfield, NC 27577; SECU Hospice House, 426 Hospital Road, Smithfield, NC 27577; or the charity of one’s choice.