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John Thomas James, 83, devoted father, grandfather and mentor to many, departed this life on Thursday, October 5, 2017 at Peak Resource Center in Gastonia, North Carolina.  He was born in Columbia, South Carolina the son of the late Ed and Sarah Bagley James.  He was preceded in death by his brother, Henry James.

             John was a dedicated member of multiple organizations including: Life Time member of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, National Association of Black Veterans, Lions Club, NAACP, George Washington Carver Consistory #172, The Order of the Eastern Star, and Mentors Inspiring Males for Success.

Anyone who met him immediately knew how passionate he was about education. He attended South Carolina State University on a basketball scholarship, graduating with a bachelor’s and master’s degree and pursued doctoral courses at New York University. John proudly served the United States Army from 1957- 1960 as a military policeman. He spent the bulk of his career as an educator, serving in a variety of roles throughout Gaston County, first as community director of the Boys and Girls Club (formerly Boys Club). Many remember John as the “go-to” counselor at Gaston College while also supporting students to continue their education at a four year institutions. In his “retirement” years he served as an elementary school principal, civic leader and developed a furniture business to keep himself busy.

He is survived by his loving wife of fifty-eight years, Willie Mae Jackson James; his son Tyrone James (Lisa); two grandchildren, Tori Kendrick (Ryan) and Dr. Desmond Patton; two sisters, Edna Lawton and Dale Laverne Scott; a host of nieces, nephews, other relatives, and friends.


St. John Baptist Church
1282 Bradford Height Road
Gastonia, N.C.  28054

Monday, October 9, 2017 @ 1:00 P.M


BURIAL:  Private

John James
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  • Saturday, October 07, 2017
    Our staff will continue to keep your family in our prayers. We thank you for allowing us to serve your family.
    ~ Costner Funeral Home
  • Sunday, October 08, 2017
    So very for your loss. I know how difficult death can be to have to deal. God through his word the bible, helps us to that He will do away with pain and death. (Revelation 21:4)
    ~ Lisa L
  • Sunday, October 08, 2017
    My thoughts and prayers are with you during this difficult time of loss.
    ~ De Yarda Darby   GASTONIA, NC
  • Monday, October 09, 2017
    My thoughts and prayer are with you. Mr. James and I worked together at Gaston College and he was a very dear friend.
    ~ Lucinda Lynch   High Shoals, NC
  • Wednesday, October 11, 2017
    My condolences to you the family. I remember Mr. James from the old Boys Club where my dad worked. He was always a loving caring person. Truly he shall be missed.
    ~ LaTara Tribble   Mount Holly, NC
  • Wednesday, October 11, 2017
    Mr. James will be missed very much in the community by the many families that he touched and inspired to continue their education. To know him was always an opportunity to grow. The Sims Family
    ~ Sims Family   Gastonia, NC