Thursday, 5 June 2014

Personal Letter and Funeral Services for James Alan Shelton

Here are some details regarding the services for a good friend and colleague James Alan Shelton. Since the notice of his death was posted here this week, I feel an update on James Alan's funeral and memory is warranted.

James Alan had many friends and fans throughout the European continent, and I was informed this morning that many of you have written or posted your thoughts online to James' family. You should know that James was aware of, and in some cases overwhelmed by, those cards and letters he received from Europe with best wishes and thanks.

James Alan Shelton single-handedly revived the cross-picking guitar style of his hero and best friend, George Shuffler. A style instantly recognized, and familiar to Stanley Brothers music fans. Of course, his guitar work with Ralph Stanley and his own solo recordings will be James' musical legacy. However to those who knew him away from the music will surely remember the softspoken 'Gentle Giant' whom was a friend for life, starting the moment he first shook your hand. The entertainment business -- the world -- could use more folks like James Alan Shelton.

The following was sent by James Alan's wife, Greta, to John Lawless for publishing on BluegrassToday.com. It is Greta's personal message to all those who knew and supported James during the short 6-week period since he became aware of his illness.

There is an online page in James Alan's obituary to send your own comments to James' family. Please feel free to do so as it will surely offer comfort to those James left behind:   James Alan's obituary

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from Greta Shelton:
  I want to thank everyone for the outpouring of love, concern and prayers that we have experienced over the past 6 weeks. James’ diagnosis of stage IV pancreatic cancer was a devastating blow, but we faced it together determined to give it a good fight. Unfortunately the cancer progressed so quickly and caused huge problems with his blood.  Due to low platelet counts and blood clots he was never able to start chemotherapy. In the end, a blood clot is what took his life. From the beginning, he faced the situation with amazing courage and strength, but it was to be a short-lived fight. So many people reached out to him and he felt all the prayers on a daily basis. James was constantly amazed at the amount of love he received from friends and fans.
I’ve lost my best friend, but I have some consolation in knowing that during his life he got to live out his dream.  He spent 20 years working for his musical hero, Ralph Stanley. Being a Clinch Mountain Boy was something he dreamed about as a boy and it took him to places he never imagined. He admired George Shuffler’s guitar playing for years and another dream came true—they became fast friends and loved each other dearly. James had the honor of playing at George’s funeral just a short time ago. We would have never dreamed that he would be gone just a short time later too. But it makes me smile a little to know that there’s some great cross-pickin’ going on in heaven today.
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Funeral arrangements: Services will be held at Arrowood Funeral Home of Church Hill
Saturday, June 7, 2014
Calling hours are from 5:00 to 8:00 P.M. Friday at Johnson – Arrowood Funeral Home and anytime at the residence, or the home of his father, J. Fred Shelton. 
Funeral services will be conducted 11:00 A.M. Saturday in the funeral home chapel with Rev. Odell Beauchamp and Rev. Bill Porter officiating. Music will be provided by close friends. 
Graveside services will be conducted following the service Saturday at Church Hill Memory Gardens.
Pallbearers will be Audey Ratliff, Steve Patton, Tommy Freeman, Jerry Keys, Dan Moneyhun and Nathan Aquino.
Honorary bearers will be Ralph Stanley and the Clinch Mountain Boys, Phil Overbey, Adam Steffey, Barry Bales, Steve Sparkman, Herbie Shuffler, Eric Shuffler, and Eddie Stubbs. 

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to: 
Bridge Home No Kill Animal Rescue
613 Foothills Road
Kingsport, TN  37663 
or... 
American Cancer Society
508 Princeton Road
Johnson City, TN  37601