C.J. Belch in an undated photo provided by Maitland Funeral Home.

Longtime Ocracoke homeowner Cecil James (C.J.) Belch, Jr., 91, of Mackeys, Washington County, died on Jan. 31, 2022.

He was the husband of Sarah Sivills Ellis Belch.

Born in Bertie County on April 18, 1930, he was a son of the late Cecil James and Clarine Powell Belch Sr.

The Belch family moved to Mackeys in 1948 where they owned a commercial fishing business, Welaka Fish and Produce Company.

Belch graduated from Roper High School in 1949 and attended Campbell College, Chowan College and NC State for short periods of time. He was a sergeant in the N.C. National Guard from 1950 to1960 and during that time he served in the military police in Germany for one year.

After his military service, he returned to Mackeys where he worked as an insurance agent and real estate broker and was active in the community before retiring in 1995.

C.J. enjoyed deer hunting, fishing, boat building, carving and reading history, and Ocracoke. In his words: “Thank you, Ocracoke, for 35 wonderful years at 31 Pintail Drive with my family.”

In addition to his wife, he is survived by sisters Betty Lou Belch Watters and Pat Belch Terry.

 He is survived also by his children Laura Belch Brown of Jacksonville, NC, and Jennifer Belch Hooper and of Lake Toxaway, NC; also, a stepson, Michael Ellis Sr. of Greer, S.C. and stepdaughter, Audrey Elizabeth Ellis Pyon of Redondo Beach, CA; and several grandchildren.

A celebration of life will be held at 1 p.m. Saturday, April 16, at Mackeys Ferry Marina, Mackeys.

Arrangements are by Maitland Funeral Home, Plymouth.

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