Longtime Edgecombe commissioner dies at 82

Jonathan Felton.jpg

Jonathan Felton


Special to the Telegram

Saturday, February 23, 2019

Jonathan Kerr Felton Sr., 82, who served Edgecombe County residents for nearly 50 years, first as a member of the Edgecombe Community College Board of Trustees and then as a member of the Edgecombe County Board of Commissioners, died Thursday at Vidant Edgecombe Hospital.

By order of county board Chairman Leonard Wiggins, flags at all county buildings will be flown at half-staff to honor Felton.

A Celebration of Life service with Masonic Rites will be held at 1 p.m. today at First Christian Church (DOC) at 200 West Green St. in Macclesfield with the Rev. Melissa Acres officiating. Visitation will follow in the fellowship hall.

Edgecombe County Manager Eric Evans said Felton's death "is certainly a blow to the county ... it's hard to describe what it means to the county. He was on the board 22 years and provided stability."

Evans said he would "miss him personally, as he was one of my strongest supporters and I moved up through the ranks and then to become county manager.”

He added that the Kingsboro Industrial Park, soon to be home to Triangle Tire and Corning, is "the result of the long-term vision of Mr. Felton and Mr. Wiggins and some others when they began planting the seeds out there over 20 years ago. It took a while for it to come to fruition, but what a vision they had."

Former ECC President Deborah Lamm sung similar praises.

"Jon Felton was a long-term member of the board of trustees, serving as vice chairman for most of his 29-year tenure,” she said. "He was committed to the mission of the college and he worked to make the time our students spent was the best two-year experience they could have.

"His dedication and commitment to education will be his legacy."

A native of Macclesfield, Felton served his country as a member of the U.S. Air Force before returning home to graduate from East Carolina University — then East Carolina Teachers College — with a bachelor’s degree in business administration. While at East Carolina, he was a member of the Delta Sigma Pi Fraternity and played on the Pirates golf team.

Felton served on the ECC Board of Trustees for 47 years, acting as chairman for several years before stepping down. He was elected to the Edgecombe County Board of Commissioners in 1996, serving as vice chairman, a position he held at the time of his death, for many of those years.

Felton was an active member of the Concord Lodge No. 58 AF&AM for 50 years and was a member of the Scottish Rite. In 2018, he was awarded the Order of the Long Leaf Pine by Gov. Roy Cooper for his dedication and service to the people of the state of North Carolina.

He was a devout Christian and a member of the First Christian Church (DOC) of Macclesfield, where he served as an elder, several terms as chairman of the church board and enjoyed singing in the choir.

A passionate East Carolina Pirates football fan, he was a member of the East Carolina Pirate Club for over four decades including induction into the Van Sant Society. He was a charter member of Maccripine Country Club in Pinetops, a proud member of the one o'clock crowd and an avid golfer who recorded nine holes-in-one.

Felton is survived by his wife of 64 years, Elizabeth Forbes Felton, four children: Debbie Felton Lynn and husband James Michael Lynn of Tarboro, Kathy Forbes Felton and partner Vernon L. Moore Jr. of Chester, Va., Jonathan Kerr Felton Jr. and wife Marcia Mohesky Felton of Raleigh and Alfonso Forbes Felton II and wife Sharon Graham Felton of Raleigh. He is also survived by eight granddaughters, 11 great-grandchildren and numerous nieces and nephews.