Word of thanks from Greta Shelton

James Alan Shelton’s wife Greta has sent along these words of gratitude for all the support she and James received while he was being treated for cancer, and a bit of detail about his ultimately fatal battle with this unyielding disease.

James and Greta SheltonI want to thank everyone for the outpouring of love, concern and prayers that we have experienced over the past 6 weeks. James’ diagnosis of stage IV pancreatic cancer was a devastating blow, but we faced it together determined to give it a good fight. Unfortunately the cancer progressed so quickly and caused huge problems with his blood.  Due to low platelet counts and blood clots he was never able to start chemotherapy. In the end, a blood clot is what took his life. From the beginning, he faced the situation with amazing courage and strength, but it was to be a short-lived fight. So many people reached out to him and he felt all the prayers on a daily basis. James was constantly amazed at the amount of love he received from friends and fans.

I’ve lost my best friend, but I have some consolation in knowing that during his life he got to live out his dream.  He spent 20 years working for his musical hero, Ralph Stanley. Being a Clinch Mountain Boy was something he dreamed about as a boy and it took him to places he never imagined. He admired George Shuffler’s guitar playing for years and another dream came true—they became fast friends and loved each other dearly. James had the honor of playing at George’s funeral just a short time ago. We would have never dreamed that he would be gone just a short time later too. But it makes me smile a little to know that there’s some great cross-pickin’ going on in heaven today.


An announcement was made today about funeral arrangements. Services will be held at Arrowood Funeral Home of Church Hill on Saturday, June 7.

From the family’s obituary:

Calling hours are from 5:00 to 8:00 P.M. Friday at Johnson – Arrowood Funeral Home and anytime at the residence, or the home of his father, J. Fred Shelton. Funeral services will be conducted 11:00 A.M. Saturday in the funeral home chapel with Rev. Odell Beauchamp and Rev. Bill Porter officiating. Music will be provided by close friends. Graveside services will be conducted following the service Saturday at Church Hill Memory Gardens. Pallbearers will be Audey Ratliff, Steve Patton, Tommy Freeman, Jerry Keys, Dan Moneyhun and Nathan Aquino. Honorary bearers will be Ralph Stanley and the Clinch Mountain Boys, Phil Overbey, Adam Steffey, Barry Bales, Steve Sparkman, Herbie Shuffler, Eric Shuffler, and Eddie Stubbs. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to The Bridge Home No Kill Animal Rescue 613 Foothills Rd., Kingsport, TN, 37663 or the American Cancer Society, 508 Princeton Rd, Johnson City, TN 37601.