ALTON JR., JOSEPH W., a lifelong resident of Annapolis, passed away peacefully in his sleep on Friday, March 29. Born on January 18, 1919 in Eastport where he resided for almost 70 years, Alton was 94. The son of Joseph W. Alton, Sr. and Edith Rebecca Bowen, Alton graduated from Annapolis High School in 1937. Shortly after graduation, he went to work for his father as deputy sheriff of Anne Arundel County. During World War II, Alton worked at Trumpy Boat Yard and was responsible for helping construct PT boats during the war effort. After his father's passing in 1949, Alton took over as sheriff and served in that capacity for more than 12 years. In 1963, he was elected to the Maryland State Senate and was the first Republican in Maryland state history to publicly decry for civil rights and equality from the Senate floor. He served in the Senate until 1965 when he resigned to become the first county executive of Anne Arundel County. Alton served in that post for almost a decade and is responsible for drafting the county's first charter of government. After retiring from public service, Alton spent many years managing real estate investments and acting as a political consultant, and most importantly, spending time with his family. In his adult years, Alton was passionate about running, building and construction, motorcycles and landscaping. At the age of 62, he trained and succeeded to run a six minute mile simply to ensure "that he could." He was one of the most generous, compassionate and dedicated individuals, always willing to help a family member, friend or stranger in need. He simply did not believe in can't but instead worked in every facet of his life to create possibility and believed that if you work hard enough, you can accomplish anything. He is preceded in death by his beloved parents, Joseph Sr. and Edith Rebecca, and his treasured son Joseph W. Alton, III, as well as his first wife and mother of his children Frances Graham, and four siblings; Olivia Hill, Norman Alton, Frances Bouler and Anna Hall. He is survived by his most devoted daughter, Marsha J. Alton of Annapolis; and sibling Mary Smith of Ajo, Az. who will turn 100 years young in 16 months. In addition he is survived by four adoring grandchildren; Bryan Levy, Joseph W. Alton IV, Molly Alton Mullins, and Aimee Alton Gomberg as well as nine absolutely perfect great grandchildren who hope to follow in their beloved great grandfather's footsteps. At Alton's request, there will be no public viewing or funeral. He asked before his death that everyone remember him fondly and happily without tears. In lieu of flowers, contributions can be made in his name to the Bowen Foundation for Autism, care of Molly Alton Mullins, 801 Parkwood Avenue, Annapolis, Md., 21403.
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Published in The Capital on Mar. 31, 2013