Alvin J. Wall, a former freelance writer with the News and Courier and retired vice president and controller of West End Dairy of Charleston, died Friday. He was 86.

Born March 19, 1926, in Marion, N.C., he was the son of William H. and Fannie R. Wall. He graduated from the University of South Carolina and was in the Navy Armed Guard during World War II.

Wall was an instructor with the Dale Carnegie Organization and wrote for such publications as Guideposts, Communications Briefings and Bluegrass Unlimited. He was also a guest columnist for the business section of the News and Courier and The Evening Post, sharing his knowledge as a motivational speaker.

Wall played the bass fiddle and guitar in bluegrass, country music and Western bands for more than 60 years. He performed on his first radio show when he was 14 and was the frontman to a western swing band at age 16. In 2001, he received the Jean Harris Folk Heritage Award, presented by the S.C. General Assembly to advocates of traditional community arts.

He is survived by his wife, Helen H. Wall, daughter Brenda Roughton and son-in-law Bob Perkins, daughter Karen Buice and son-in-law Ricky Buice, son Stan Wall, five grandchildren and one great-grandson.

A service will be held at 3 p.m. Monday at Fort Johnson Baptist Church on James Island.

Arrangements are being handled by James A. McAlister Funeral Home of Charleston.