Funeral arrangements have been set for James Alston, known as “Mr. Sonny,” who was a beloved Northwoods Elementary School crossing guard until he died last month.
Alston’s funeral is scheduled Saturday, Jan. 9, at 11 a.m. at Grace Bible Fellowship, 9043 Chapel Hill Road, Cary, according to Alston’s son, Tyrone Dunston. The church is less than a half-mile from the school where he helped students cross the street for 10 years.
Alston was rushed to WakeMed in Cary on Dec. 10 after having a stroke. He was recovering when he had a second stroke on Dec. 15. Doctors performed emergency surgery the following day at WakeMed on New Bern Avenue, but Alston’s condition continued to worsen until he died on Dec. 20. He was 68.
His brief hospitalization generated much community support, from hundreds of handwritten cards and Facebook comments to $11,800 in donations from more than 300 people on a GoFundMe page.
The fund was established to help Alston’s family pay for medical bills and other expenses. The donations will go toward remaining medical expenses and funeral costs.
“He will be so, so missed,” Raleigh resident Lauryn DuPree wrote on Facebook. “I thought he was just ‘our’ jewel at Northwoods, but this has showed that he really was a beacon for the whole community. The best thing we can all do to remember him is to live our lives as Sonny would – extending kindness and joy to everyone.”
Alston’s family asks that memorial contributions be sent to Bob’s Buddies, a foundation to help kids with pediatric brain tumors, according to the Northwoods Elementary School PTA.
Kathryn Trogdon: 919-460-2608; @KTrogdon