Alton Leroy Whitehead, age 99, of Scotland Neck, passed away on Monday, May 18, 2020 at his home in Scotland Neck.
He was the son of the late Roland I. and Pauline Beverly Whitehead of Hobgood. Alton attended school in Hobgood and by the age of 17 was in demand with local town leagues as a left-handed baseball pitcher. He moved to semi-pro baseball with the Canadian-American League and then the famous barnstorming team, House of David. At the start of World War II, Alton volunteered for service. He experienced heavy warfare in the US Navy’s European Theater from 1941-1945. He was a LST #1 gunner and a landing craft pilot participating in invasions of Anzio, Italy, and southern France. He received a commendation from France for his participation in the D-Day liberation.
After World War II, Alton owned and operated Triangle Service Station and, later, Modern Dry Cleaners until its closing in 1972. Thereafter and until his death, he bought, sold, and managed rental properties.
As a former Jr. Order member, he was instrumental in planning the Scotland Neck Horse Shows. He was a past board member of the Coastal Plains Horse Show Circuit. He was a member of the American Legion, the Veterans of Foreign Wars, and he participated in the Flight of Heroes to Washington, D.C. In his later years, he proudly wore a World War II Veteran’s cap and was humbled when approached by strangers thanking him for his service.
Alton believed the secret to longevity lies in treating people fairly – so there is less stress in your life. He believed, and his gravestone reads, “An honest man is the noblest work of God.”
In addition to his parents, Alton was preceded in death by his wife of 45 years, Dorothy Woodard Whitehead, and his sisters, Ernestine W. Robertson and Ruth W. Smith.
He is survived by his four children, Beverly W. Whitehurst and husband Murray L. “Sonny“ Whitehurst of Rocky Mount, Dorothy W. Harris of Scotland Neck, Al Whitehead and wife Becky of Scotland Neck, and Bill Whitehead and partner Sue Clegg of Rocky Mount. Alton leaves five grandchildren and three great-grandchildren. He is also survived by his sister, Billie W. Johnson of Oak City.
Due to the circumstances with COVID-19 restrictions from the CDC and NC Board of Funeral Service, family and friends are welcome to come pay their respects and sign the guest book for Alton on Tuesday, May 19, 2020, from 11:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m. at Letchworth-Sykes Funeral Service in Scotland Neck.
A celebration of life graveside service will be held at 2:00 p.m. on Wednesday, May 20, 2020 at Sunnyside Cemetery in Scotland Neck, with Rev. Paul Spradley officiating. The family will receive friends following the service at the cemetery.
Flowers are welcome or memorial contributions may be made to the First Baptist Church of Scotland Neck, 1015 Church Street, Scotland Neck, NC 27874 or online by clicking here, or to Animal Crackers of Rocky Mount, Promoting Responsible Pet Ownership, P.O. Box 8860, Rocky Mount, NC 27804 or online by clicking here.
Letchworth-Sykes Funeral Service in Scotland Neck is handling the arrangements for the Whitehead family and online condolences may be directed to the family by visiting letchworthsykesfs.com.