NEW BERN - James Robert Squires Sr., a retired civil service manager, avid hunter and civic and community leader, died Monday April 15, at the Service League of Greenville Inpatient Hospice in Greenville, N.C., after a yearlong bout with stomach cancer.
Squires, 77, who resided in New Bern, N.C. in recent years, was a native and longtime resident of the Florence community in Pamlico County, N.C.
Squires was a 1954 graduate of Pamlico Training School and retired from the Naval Air Depot at Cherry Point in 1995, where he rose to the rank of branch supervisor, becoming the first African-American to run a branch division (aircraft painting) at a military base in the United States.
In addition to achieving numerous service awards, Squires also helped the base diversify its civil service ranks.
Upon retirement, Squires devoted his life to caring for the sick, elderly, and shut-in. He was a member of the Zion Hill United Church of Christ in Whortonsville, N.C., where he also was a standout baseball player in his early years. He was a member of the Pamlico County Booster Club, raised registered hunting dogs and was a longtime member of the Idalia Hunting Club. He was a stalwart leader in many local and regional organizations and a trusted advisor and mentor to many who knew him.
Although Squires did not attend college, he was proud that he and his wife, Elitrous Ollison Squires, were able to send all eight of their children to college.
Squires and Mrs. Squires, a native of Mesic, N.C., were married for 57 years.
In addition to his wife, survivors include four sons, David R. Squires (Renee) of Pineville, N.C., Timothy J. Squires of Atlanta, Ga., Stuart M. Squires (Wilshawnda) of Fayetteville, N.C., and Gene D. Squires of New Bern, N.C.; three daughters, Demetris K. Thornton (Leon Stanley) of Fayetteville, N.C., Elitrous Faye Squires of Greenville, N.C., and Kimberly M. Squires of Fayetteville, N.C.; five brothers, Clarence A. Squires (Nancy) and Thomas L. Squires (Mildred) of the Florence Community, Gene D. Squires (Alma) of Durham, N.C., Melvin Gibbs Squires (Barbara) of Florence, S.C., and Alfred Jarvis (Beverly) of Augusta, Ga.; five sisters, Edna Lucille Midgette of Portsmouth, Va., Anne Canty (Fred) of Cambria Heights, N.Y., Nicia Squires of Queens Village, N.Y., Lillie Wright (Alphonso) of Hamden, Conn., and Norma Bowks (Marc) of Hubert, N.C.; two sisters-in-law, Altrice Tatum of Mesic, N.C. and Carolyn Aguyapong (Kofi) of Silver Springs, M.D.; one brother-in-law, Ben Ollison ( Patricia) of Jamaica, N.Y.; 10 grandchildren, Nikkia Squires of Durham, N.C., Echo Fairley (John) of Cameron, N.C., Leon D. Thornton of Fayetteville, N.C., Timothy J. Squires II of Hempstead, N.Y., Jamilah and Jamaal Squires of Pineville, N.C., Jalen, Kaelan, and Layla Squires of Fayetteville, N.C., and Jordan Squires-Wright of Fayetteville, N.C.; three great-grandchildren; and one maternal aunt, Nicia T. Hill of Pamlico, N.C. He is also survived by a host of nieces, nephews, cousins, and friends.
He was preceded in death by his eldest son, James Robert Squires Jr.; his parents, Clarence and Lillie Beatrice Squires; two infant children and two great-grandchildren.
Burial will follow in the Jones Family Cemetery in the Florence Community. Family and guests will return to Mount Olive Missionary Baptist Church for repass.