James Alfred Cortez Spann was born in Iredell County on March 30, 1936 to the late James David and Bessie Franklin Spann. He passed away at his home in Statesville, North Carolina on Monday, March 25, 2019.
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Cortez, as he was fondly known to family and friends was a 1954 graduate of Morningside High School. He also attended North Carolina A&T University for one year. While there he was a member of the ROTC and earned the position of Captain of the Freshman Rifle Team. When he left A&T he enlisted in the United States Army and served three years in Alaska as an armored vehicle mechanic. He was also an expert marksman and bugler for his unit, 23rd Battle Group Rifle Team. He was honorably discharged on December 1, 1958. Cortez was an active member of the Mt. Pleasant AME Zion Church where he served as treasurer, caretaker of the church’s church building and grounds and was a part of the construction committee for the completion of the parking lot and bathrooms. He was retired from Hoechst -Celanese Inc. of Salisbury, NC as a Senior Master Mechanic.
Cortez loved his community and began his service early as a Star Scout. He went on to be actively involved in the Morningside Alumni Association where he served a term as President. He was a charter member of the Panache and the Socialistic Gents clubs as well as charter member of IMPACT, Inc. of Statesville. He is a member of the Statesville Branch of the N.A.A.C.P and “unofficial” community historian of “The Hill”.
Cortez was formerly married to Claretha Sturghill Spann. He leaves to cherish his memory three children, daughter Pamela (Leonard) Green of Woodbridge, VA; two sons Cortez Allen Spann of Dumfries, VA and Trace (Dona) Maurice Clark of Ackworth, GA. Six grandchildren Courtney (Branden) Williams of Houston , TX; Kierra Martin of Norfolk, VA; Imani Spann of Fredericksburg, VA; Mia Daniels of Statesville, Kayla Pierre-Paul of Ackworth, GA; Trace Clark of Ackworth, GA; Starr (Antoine) Green-Person of Norfolk, VA and Steve (Shantel) Zeigler of Baltimore, MD; two great grands Olivia and Shyla of Baltimore. His sister Jacqueline S. Click of Statesville, niece Anaya Morrison Brown, nephew Norman Morrison, Jr. and a host of great nieces, nephews, cousins , church family, many other relatives and his dear and special friend Roy Lee Adams.