James ‘Little Brother’ Topping

James Roger Topping, the Hyde County Commissioner representing Swan Quarter, died June 29.

He was the husband of Goldie Rickard Topping.

Details as to filling his remaining commissioner term will be announced later.

Known as “Little Brother,” James was born Feb. 20, 1952, and was a son of the late James Delama and Marjorie Sadler Topping.

He was a member of the St. Mary Disciple Church of Christ in Swan Quarter and was a graduate of Mattamuskeet High School.

While still in high school, James began his working career as the first African American guide for Mattamuskeet Lake.

He was employed in the maintenance department for Hyde County Schools for 17 years. He worked part time for the Winterville Police Department in Winterville.

He worked alongside his parents in the family business, Topping’s Lakeside Restaurant and Motel, in the early 1980s to the mid-1990s. He continued the business started by his father, James Topping and Sons General Contractor, until his health declined.

He ended his working career at Hyde County Corrections in Swan Quarter when he retired in 2015.

In 1987, James was appointed to the Hyde County Board of Commissioners as the first African American to hold that position, which he held for 18 months.

In 2018, he was elected to the Swan Quarter commissioner seat.

It was in his nature to help people, and serving on the Board of Commissioners is where he hoped he could help the people of Hyde County the most.

He was an active member of the Hyde County Transit Board, and the Hyde County JCPC Board. He was a member of New Branch Masonic Lodge #785 Swan Quarter, NC. He was a member of the Arabic Order of the Mystic Shrine, Rofelt Pasha Temple No. 175, a member of Holy Royal Arch Masons, and Bright Star of East Chapter No. 74.

“Little Brother,” as he was so well known, loved people. He brought joy to his family and many friends who loved him. He loved to hunt, fish, play cards, talk, joke and laugh with people he had just met. He met no strangers.

In addition to his wife, James is survived by two sons, James Antonio “Boo-Boo” Topping (Rhonda) of Swan Quarter and Gyno R. Topping (Marlene) of Greenville; a daughter, Victoria Mackey Davis (Donavan) of Charlotte.

Three sisters, Mary Topping Gibbs (Wallace), Brenda Topping Murray and Dorene Topping Holloway (Floyd), all of Swan Quarter.

Two aunts: Emma Sadler Blount (Jerome) of Newport News Va., and Florence “Bobbie” Topping of Washington, Beaufort County.

Two uncles: Samuel Sadler of Dallas, Texas, and Clifford Topping (Marie) of Swan Quarter; three nephews: James B. Murray, Wallace “BumBee” Gibbs Jr., both of Greenville, and Phillip “Andy” Holloway (Alishia) of Swan Quarter; a niece, Marjorie Gibbs Bond (Roy) of Elizabeth City; eight grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.

Four incredibly special friends, Richard Spencer of Engelhard; Cecil “CJ” Hardee of Greenville; Maxwell Selby, Jr. of Fairfield and Mark Carawan of Swan Quarter.

A funeral service will be held at 11 a.m., Saturday, July 4, in the Ponzer Community Building.

Friends may visit with the family Friday afternoon from 3 to 5 p.m. at Bryan Funeral Service, Swan Quarter.

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