Carroll James Colston, 83, of Salem, Va., died peacefully in his sleep on Tuesday, July 2, 2013 at the Salem Health and Rehabilitation Center. Beloved by all who knew him, Jim was a man of great charm, wit, and graciousness, with a creative toast for any occasion.
He was preceded in death by his parents, Garold and Ethel Bliss Colston; and his brothers, Lowell G. Colston and Craig G. Colston.
He is survived by his wife of 56 years, Johanna Colston; his son, Chris Colston, and his wife, Melanie; his grandchildren, Kevin and Danielle Colston; his son, Steve Colston; and several nieces and nephews.
Although Jim earned his living as sales manager for WROV radio, he made his mark as a high school sports broadcaster. Under his professional name, Jim Carroll, he called approximately 1,300 games for three different stations (WROV, WJLM, WGMN) in his 41-year career.
He was inducted into the Virginia Sports Hall of Fame in 2007 and the Virginia High School Hall of Fame in 1999.
In 1993, the City of Roanoke presented him with a key to the City and proclaimed September 10 as “Jim Carroll Day.” On April 11, 2005, the County of Roanoke also recognized him with his own day.
He was on the committee to form the Sandlot Super Bowl, which is now called the Jim Carroll Regional Sandlot Super Bowl.
Jim was born in Selma, Iowa, on July 18, 1929, to Garold and Ethel Colston. He served in the Army from 1951-53, where he was program director with the Armed Forces Radio Service in Korea. After his honorable discharge, he enrolled at the University of Iowa, graduating in 1955 with a B.A. degree in Speech. In 1953, he met the lovely Johanna Heidke in Estherville, Iowa. They were married on August 5, 1956.
In 1957 the couple moved to Phoenix, where Jim worked as an overnight disc jockey for KOOL radio. From there he moved his family to Olean, N.Y., where his first son was born in 1958. From 1959-61 he managed WRNY in Rome, N.Y., where his second son was born in 1960. In 1961, the Colston family settled in Roanoke, Va., where Jim became an integral part of the community.
As sales manager and sports director for WROV radio, Jim served as president of numerous organizations, including the Roanoke Valley Sports Club, the Sales and Marketing Executives of the Roanoke Valley, Roanoke Valley Bowling League, and Hidden Valley Country Club. Jim also served as the master of ceremonies for countless Roanoke Valley sports events through the years, involving both high schools and little leagues.
He broadcast the 1971 Group AAA state football championship game in Victory Stadium between T.C. Williams and Andrew Lewis. The game was later documented in the 2000 film “Remember The Titans.” In addition to his high school football and basketball broadcasts, He also served as voice of the semipro football team, the Roanoke Buckskins, and the Radford Highlanders (1981-84).
In his free time, Jim was an avid golfer, card player, and fan of the Chicago Cubs and Iowa Hawkeyes. He was a member of Covenant Presbyterian Church, where he was a former deacon.
Jim’s memorial service is scheduled for 2 p.m. on Saturday, July 6, 2013, at Covenant Presbyterian Church, 1831 Deyerle Road, Southwest, Roanoke Virginia. Bob and Dusty Fiedler will preside. A reception will follow.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests that friends make donations in Jim’s name to Covenant Presbyterian Church or the charity of your choice. Online condolences may be sent to www.oakeys.com.