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July 28, 2014

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Originally published: 2012-12-19 08:07:42
Last modified: 2012-12-19 08:07:42

James Owen Tolbert

Mr. James Owen Tolbert, age 65, of Sumpter Cabin Creek Road, Blowing Rock, passed away Friday morning, Dec. 14, 2012, at Watauga Medical Center.

Born March 21, 1947, in Watauga County, he was a son of the late Langston Owen and Irene Hartley Tolbert. Owen retired from the Blowing Rock Police Department as Chief of Police in 2006 after 24 years of service. He was a United State Air Force veteran and a member of Bailey's Camp Baptist Church. Owen was a loving husband, father and grandfather.

He is survived by his wife; Judi Payne Tolbert; one daughter, Michelle Tolbert Helton and husband, Iain, of Blowing Rock; a daughter-in-law, Melanie Tolbert of Macon, Ga.; three grandchildren, Graham Helton, Parker Tolbert and Megan Helton; one brother, Donald Tolbert and wife, Janice, of Blowing Rock; four sisters, Dorothy Price of Blowing Rock, Louise Hood of Richmond, Va., Mary "Polly" Dacus of Leominster, Mass., Shirley Edmisten and husband, Baxter, of Blowing Rock; three sisters-in-law, Verleen Greene of Lenoir, Jean Clontz of Boone and Joyce Payne of Mt. Airy; three brothers-in-law, Claude Harmon of Lexington, Arlan Ford of Lenoir and H. T. Rogers of Boone; and a host of beloved nieces, nephews and friends.

He was preceded in death by his dad and mom, Langston Owen and Irene Hartley Tolbert; a beloved son, James Owen Tolbert II; one brother, Edward "Buddy" Tolbert; two sisters, Mozelle Ford and Edna Harmon; and four brothers-in-law; Marvin Hood, Kermit Dacus, Byron Clontz and Charlie Price.

Funeral services for Mr. James Owen Tolbert were conducted 2 p.m. Tuesday at the First Baptist Church of Blowing Rock. The Rev. David Lunceford, the Rev. Max West and the Rev. Gordon Noble officiated. Burial followed at Woodlawn Cemetery in Blowing Rock. The family received friends 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tuesday at the First Baptist Church.

The family respectfully requests no food. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to a scholarship fund for the grandchildren, in care of High Country Bank, 149 Jefferson Road, Boone, NC 28607, or to High Country Health Care system Hospice, 400 Shadowline Drive, Suite 100-B, Boone, NC 28607.

The family wishes a heartfelt thanks to the staff and "Earth Angels" at the Cancer Center and Town of Blowing Rock.

Online condolences may be shared with the Tolbert family at

Austin & Barnes Funeral Home is serving the Tolbert family.

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