James Edward Walton, Jr. of Gilbert, SC left his family and friends on March 17, 2023 to be forever with his Lord and Savior. James was born on December 17, 1942 in Petersburg, VA, the son of the late James Edward Walton Sr. and Winifred Fick Walton. He is survived by his wife of 55 years, Becky Jackson Walton, his son James Edward Walton III (Sharon) of Orange, TX and Molly Walton Hopper (Dave) of Leesville, SC; three grandchildren, Jocelyn Rebecca Hopper, Desiree Russell (Tyson), and Carlin Renshaw (Sherry); six great grandchildren, Brody and Gavin Renshaw, and Max, Oliver, Bear, and Ruby Kate Russell. James has one brother, Jerry Prince Walton (Sally) of Monticello, FL, and two sisters Joan Jones (Vic) of Sumter, SC and Priscilla Hodge (C.P.) of Greenville, SC, a brother- and sister-in-law, Bill and Nina Knowles of Lexington, SC, numerous aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, and cousins.
James was a graduate of Thomas Dale High School in Chester, VA. He earned a BS from Clemson University, an AS from Midlands Tech, and a MBA from the University of South Carolina, but he was most proud of his BA from East Tennessee State University where at the age of 76 he studied his beloved bluegrass music. “Jimmy James” as he was known by his friends and family was one of the true innovators of bluegrass music performing with the Fort Hill String Band in the 60s, Tillers Ferry Bluegrass Band in the 70s and 80s, and in recent years with Bluegrass Remedy.
In addition to his music, James was an avid watercolorist and fly-fisherman and enjoyed his Montana fishing trips. His career as owner/operator in an educational and business technology sales and installation company carried him far and wide making friends along the way. He never met a stranger and made friends wherever he went and would give the shirt off his back to help a friend in need. He will be missed dearly by all who knew him.
James served his country in the USAF and was honorably discharged with the rank of Captain in August of 1971. As a management engineer, he performed crew studies on MedEvac aerial flights from Vietnam. That said James bucked the system to the limit sporting fashionable granny glasses and sideburns just a little above too long for regulation.
Jimmy James was the ultimate entertainer, the life of the party. He could charm a Nile crocodile with a word and a smile. But more than that, James was a god-fearing man with the attributes described in Psalm 112. What a blessing he has been to all of us. He woke up every morning with a mission to do something for someone with no expectation of receiving anything in return. And before he went to bed at night, he was on his knees thanking God for his blessings and praying for His blessings on others. We absolutely know where he is. He’s having a reunion with his family and friends who have gone before him, but, most importantly, he’s in the arms of our Father in Heaven. Jimmy James is probably strumming his mandolin now with the best of them.
A private family inurnment will be held at the Fort Jackson National Cemetery in Columbia, SC. Fulfilling his wishes, a Celebration of Life will be held at a later date to be announced. In lieu of flowers, the family requests memorials to be sent to Agape Hospice of Lexington https://www.hpcfoundation.org/ or the charity of choice.
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