Cover photo for James "Jim" Lewis Ralston's Obituary
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1923 James "Jim" 2024

James "Jim" Lewis Ralston

April 3, 1923 — March 4, 2024



James “Jim” Lewis Ralston, age 100, of McDowell, passed away Monday, March 4, 2024 surrounded by family at his home.

He was born near McDowell on April 3, 1923, the first child of the late Frank Tyler and Caroline Wilhelmina (Hess) Ralston.

In 1932 the family moved to McDowell. Mr. Ralston graduated from McDowell High School, which his mother helped to establish. He would serve his country during World War II with the 95th Medical Gas Treatment Battalion. After his service in the European Theatre, he returned to his home in Highland County, where he went on to own and operate a custom corn planting/chopping business, found work in local sawmills, and eventually purchased and operated his own mill. Additionally, Jim had been employed with the Virginia Department of Transportation and retired after more than 20 years of service. However, among his multiple vocations, none were more reflective of the person Jim was than being the dedicated farmer. Jim had great pride in his Shorthorn cattle, commercial Horned Dorset sheep, and particularly in the fact that he established a successful breeder operation with the Virginia Poultry Growers Cooperative at a late stage in his life.  

He was a member of the McDowell United Methodist Church, long-time member and past president of the Stonewall Ruritan Club in McDowell, member of the Virginia Farm Bureau, and was the last surviving WWII veteran in Highland County.  Jim will be remembered locally as an honest and hardworking man, who loved his Shorthorn cattle and Horned Dorset sheep, IH tractors, working on the farm, and above all else, his family.  

In addition to his parents, he was predeceased by his brothers, Frank T. Jr., Walter “Dutch”, and Robert “Benny” Ralston; and sister, Dorothy (Ralston) Lam.

He is survived by his wife, to whom he was joined in marriage on April 21, 1972, Judith Anne Wilson Ralston; and his twin daughters, Lee A. and Margaret A. Ralston. In addition, he is survived by grandsons, Dean L. and Johnathan K. Shaner; great-grandson, Grayson M. Estes; numerous nieces and nephews; sister-in-law, Joyce B. Ralston; as well as special friends, Michael McCray, James and Harry Sponaugle, Michelle Hoggard, Sharina Olson, and Darren Grant.

A Celebration of Life will be held 2 p.m., Saturday, April 6, 2024 at the Stonewall Ruritan Club building with Rev. Steve McMillion and Rev. Andre Crummett officiating. The family will receive friends at the Ruritan Club following the service during a time of fellowship with light refreshments.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made to McKendree Church, c/o Sandy Botkin, 215 Doe Hill Road, McDowell, Va. 24458 or to the Stonewall Ruritan Club, 67 Bullpasture River Rd., McDowell, VA 24458.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of James "Jim" Lewis Ralston, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services

Celebration of Life

Saturday, April 6, 2024

Starts at 2:00 pm (Eastern time)

Stonewall Ruritan Club Building

67 Bullpasture River Rd, McDowell, VA 24458

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