E. Benton Johnston ’57

E. Ben Johnston, 80, of Greenville, devoted husband for 59 years of Joann Carter Johnston, went to be with his Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, on Thursday, February 16, 2017.

He was born in White Oak, Georgia to the late Rev. John Patterson Johnston and Ruth Prince Siler Johnston.

He graduated from Davidson College and worked for many years as a managing editor of several small-town newspapers in Illinois, Arizona and California before settling down in Memphis, Tennessee to work for The Commercial Appeal for ten years.

In 1980 he moved to Greenville to be the editor of the ARP Magazine for the Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church, where he retired.

He was a devoted husband, father and grandfather who was passionate about sharing the Gospel of his Savior. He could go inside a Chick-Fil-A to order a meal and come back to the car an hour later and recite the life story of the employee who served him, pray for their upcoming surgery, and remember them forthe rest of his life. He was a member of Devenger Road Presbyterian Church.

He leaves three children: two daughters, Vickie (James) Stewart and Candy Jacobs, both of Greenville; a son, Terry (Mayhoward) Johnston of Roanoke, Virginia; eleven grandchildren and two great-grandchildr en.

There will be a memorial ser vice today, Sunday, at 3:00 pm at Devenger Road Presbyterian Church, 1200 Devenger Road, Greer, SC. Private interment will be held Monday at Coddle Creek ARP Church in North Carolina.

Memorials may be made to World Witness ARP, 918 South Pleasantburg Dr. or St Jude Children’s Hospital.

Visit the Mackey Mortuary online guest registry at www.mackeymortuary.com

Charles Thomas Knighton ’72

Charles Thomas Knighton, 66, of Richmond, Va., died on Wednesday, February 15, 2017. He was the son of Alton L. Knighton and Beverly Wilkinson Knighton, both of whom predeceased him.

Charlie was a graduate of Davidson College, did graduate work at William & Mary and earned a master’s degree from Virginia Tech. The great bulk of his working years were spent as an employee of the Commonwealth of Virginia.

Charlie is survived by his brother, Alton L. Knighton Jr., and his wife, Susan K. Knighton, of Roanoke, Va.; by his nephew, Alton L. Knighton III, his wife, Joy G. Knighton, and their sons, John Knighton and Graham Knighton, all of Richmond, Va.; and by his nephew, Jefferson C. Knighton, of Richmond, Va.

A service in celebration of Charlie’s life will be held at 10:30 a.m. on Tuesday, February 21, 2017 at Second Presbyterian Church in Richmond, Va., with Dr. Alexander W. Evans officiating.

A reception will follow at the Church. In lieu of flowers, the family would suggest a memorial to Second Presbyterian Church (5 North 5th Street, Richmond, VA 23219), Davidson College (405 North Main Street, Davidson, NC 28036) or Virginia Historical Society (428 North Boulevard, Richmond, VA 23220).

Herbert Meza ’49

Rev. Dr. Herbert Meza, 94, joined the Church Triumphant on Thursday, February 9, 2017.  After more than 50 years in the ministry of the Presbyterian Church (USA), he will be an excellent addition to that heavenly congregation.

Herb was born in Ybor City, Tampa, Florida, on October 26, 1922, the son of a Spanish father and a Cuban mother. He became a Christian under the tutelage of the Ybor City Mission, headed by Dr. Walter Passigllia, a ministry of the St. Johns Presbyterian Church.

He joined the Marine Corp at 17 years of age, with the consent of his mother, served in the Pacific in WW ll, receiving two Purple Hearts. He made a commitment to seeking peace after hand to hand combat with a Japanese soldier and remained dedicated to that pursuit throughout his life.

After the war, he attended Davidson College and Union Theological Seminary under the GI bill. He served as a missionary to Portugal for five years, returned to the states, and served churches in Texas, Washington, DC, then to Jacksonville to the Fort Caroline Presbyterian Church in 1980.

While serving as a pastor in Houston, TX, in 1960, he invited and chaired a meeting of the Houston Ministerial Association for Sen. John F. Kennedy to allay fears about a Catholic president. It was consequential in Kennedy’s election.

In 1983, Herb won the Presbyterian Peace Seeker Award, which resulted in an audience with Pope John Paul ll to discuss the possibility of USA/USSR communications during the Cold War.

After retiring in 1991, he served as interim pastor in nine various churches until 1999. One of Herb’s enduring qualities was his love of travel and adventure. His wife, Franzle, often said that he was on an adventure or planning one! Herb and Fran traveled to about 70 countries and islands in their 34 years of marriage. Herb peacefully embarked on his great final adventure with eager anticipation.

Herb is preceded in death by his mother and father, Michael and Dulce; and his brother Ed.

He is survived by his wife, Fran; son, Scott Meza(Anny); grandchildren, Jenna and Zach; son, Mark Meza (Kathryn); grandsons, Daniel and Benjamin; son, Chris Meza; and daughter, Cecelia Meza; step-daughter, Karen Parker (Rusty); grandson, Jeff Parker; granddaughter, Jordan Flanagan (Ethan); great grandchildren, Lottie and Luke Flanagan; stepson, Kenneth Collier (Caroline); granddaughter, Amanda Moseley (Ryan); and grandson, Robb Collier.

The family would like to thank our primary doctor, Dr. Jose Garmendia, and Community Hospice for all their dedicated care.

A Service of Witness to the Resurrection will be held at Geneva Presbyterian, 1755 State Road 13, St. Johns, FL 32259 on Wednesday, February 15 at 11 AM.A reception will follow in the Fellowship Hall.

In lieu of flowers please make a contribution to a charity of one’s choice . Arrangements are under the care and direction of Hardage-Giddens Funeral Home of Mandarin, 11801 San Jose Blvd. Jacksonville, FL 32223, www.hgmandarin.com, 904-288-0025.

Published in the Florida Times-Union on Feb. 12, 2017

Claudia Watkins Belk

Claudia Erwin Watkins Belk, retired district court judge and wife of the late Charlotte Mayor and business leader John M. Belk, died February 8, 2017 at Sharon Towers in Charlotte.

Claudia was a loving and devoted daughter, wife, aunt, mother and grandmother with a strong and caring spirit who made a positive difference in her family and community through her many extraordinary endeavors and achievements. She enjoyed life to the fullest and brought much happiness to her family and wide circle of friends.

Claudia was born on July 10, 1937 in Durham, NC, daughter of the late Claudia Powe Watkins and Warren Byers Watkins, who was a tobacco wholesaler. Following graduation from Durham High School, she earned a Bachelor’s degree in sociology from Hollins College (now Hollins University) in Roanoke, VA, and was one of only two women to receive her Juris Doctor degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1963.

Claudia moved to Charlotte immediately after law school and became a trailblazer for women in the legal profession. She established her own private law practice and served for three years as assistant clerk of Mecklenburg County Superior Court before her election in 1968 to a four-year term as district court judge for the 26th Judicial District.

Claudia’s life was changed forever when she met John Belk in 1968 at a reception hosted by the Democratic Women in Charlotte, just before John began his first campaign to become Mayor of Charlotte. The two fell in love (John often referred to her as his “Sweet ole girl”) and the two “hizzoners” were married February 20, 1971 at St. Phillip’s Episcopal Church in Durham, NC. The headline of a tongue-in-cheek local newspaper article read, “John Belk Gets Life Sentence” with a summons from his wife-to-be “committing him to the institution of matrimony for the rest of his natural life.”

In the years ahead, Claudia and John became one of Charlotte’s most respected and influential couples, and Claudia was dedicated to supporting John in his role as Mayor and as top executive of the Belk department store organization, which he led for more than 50 years and which became the nation’s largest privately owned department store companies, and one of the most successful of its type.

Claudia was also dedicated to her home and family, nurturing their daughter Mary Claudia “MC” Belk Pilon through her formative years, and enjoying hobbies that included needlepoint, cooking and growing roses. She was also committed to making her community a better place.

Claudia served on the board of directors of the John M. Belk Endowment, the Novant Health Foundation Presbyterian Medical Center, the NC Zoo Society, The Belk Foundation and on the boards of trustees of Hollins University, Queens University and Charlotte Country Day School.

In 2007, Hollins University established the Claudia Watkins Belk International Scholars Endowment in her honor and through her efforts the John M. Belk Educational Endowment made a major donation to the school’s “Campaign for Women Who Are Going Places” fundraising campaign. In 2014, the John M. Belk family gave a gift to Novant Health Foundation Presbyterian Medical Center to support the construction of the John M. and Claudia W. Belk Heart and Vascular Institute.

Claudia also provided support and leadership to numerous other charitable and community organizations, including the Central Piedmont Community College Foundation, the Alexander Children’s Center, the North Carolina Nature Conservancy, the Duke Mansion, the Arts and Writing Foundation, United Family Services and the Daughters of the American Revolution.

In 2000, Central Piedmont Community College dedicated its public safety division building in Huntersville as the “Claudia Watkins Belk Center for Justice.” Early in her law career, she was honored as one of Charlotte’s Outstanding Career Women in the field of law and government and as one of the nation’s Outstanding Young Career Women.

She is survived by a daughter, Mary Claudia “MC” Belk Pilon, and her husband Jeffrey Neal Pilon; three grandchildren, James Montgomery Pilon, John Michael Pilon and Katherine Belk Pilon; sisters-in-law, Mary Helen Watkins, Sarah Belk Gambrell and Katherine Belk Cook; brother-in-law, Irwin Belk; Watkins nieces and nephews, Mary Elfreth Watkins, Susan Watkins and F.H. Ahlborn, Suzy and Warren Watkins, III and Palmer Shelburne Watkins; and Belk nieces and nephews, Katie and Walker Morris, Sarah and Tim Belk, Nina and McKay Belk, Kim and Johnny Belk, Sally Belk Gambrell, Donna and Tommy Belk, Cecelia and Paul Belk, Connie Belk, Pam and Jay Belk, Mary Belk and John Melton, Margaret and Paul Tierney, Georgia and Bill Belk, Irene and Dean Miltimore, Marilyn and Edward Wallis, Beth and Carl Belk, and Diane and Henry Belk.

Claudia was predeceased by her husband, John M. Belk; her parents; and two brothers, Warren Byers Watkins, Jr. and Edward Powe Watkins.

Claudia was a devoted member and elder at Myers Park Presbyterian Church, 2501 Oxford Place in Charlotte, where a funeral service and celebration of her life will be held Saturday, February 11, 2017 at 10 a.m. The family will greet friends following in Oxford Hall. Burial will be private.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests that memorial donations be made to the HopeWay Foundation, 1717 Sharon Road West, Charlotte, NC 28210. The funeral arrangements are being handled by Harry & Bryant.

Published in Charlotte Observer from Feb. 9 to Feb. 11, 2017




Merrill Lee Gattis ’46

Mr. Gattis, 92, died February 8, 2017, at home after a brief illness. He was a second generation Charlotte native, born November 3, 1924, the younger son of Minnie Smith Gattis and Louie S. Gattis

He was a graduate of Central High School and attended Davidson College. Merrill was an accomplished musician, and while a student at Central, he was invited to play violin with the Charlotte Symphony Orchestra

Mr. Gattis was never happier than when he was in, on or near the water. He enlisted in the U.S. Navy and served on the USS Artemis in the South Pacific during World War II.

He started one of Charlotte’s only Sea Scout troops while a member of Mouzon Methodist Church. A competitive sailor, Merrill belonged to the Lake Norman Yacht Club (Highlander class) and the South Carolina Yacht Club in Hilton Head Island, S.C.

He enjoyed skippering chartered boats in the Caribbean and river barges in England and France. Mr. Gattis was a member of Myers Park United Methodist Church. He served on the board of the Metrolina Association for the Blind and was a dedicated literacy volunteer at the YMCA.

In 1950, Mr. Gattis began a distinguished career in retail furniture at the helm of Colony Furniture & Interiors. Under his leadership for six decades, Colony was known for fine home furnishings and decor throughout the Southeast.

At the store’s closing in 2015, loyal customers traveled from D.C., Florida, Virginia, and North and South Carolina to offer well wishes (and shed a few tears) for the loss of the iconic Charlotte retailer.

Mr. Gattis is survived by his wife, Gail H. Maynard Gattis; his daughter, Linda Gattis Shull (Graeme); and his son, Merrill Lee Gattis, Jr., all of Charlotte. In addition to his parents, Mr. Gattis was predeceased by his brother, Louie S. Gattis, Jr., and his wife, Franklyn Love Gattis.

A memorial service will be held at 2:00 p.m. on Tuesday, February 14, 2017 at Myers Park United Methodist Church.

The family will receive friends from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. on Monday, February 13, 2017 at Harry & Bryant, 500 Providence Rd., Charlotte. Interment will be private.

The family thanks especially Dr. Reza Nazemzadeh, Hospice & Palliative Care of Charlotte, and Compassionate Care of Charlotte for their kindness and care of Mr. Gattis.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to Hospice & Palliative Care of Charlotte or Myers Park United Methodist Church. Condolences may be offered at www.HarryandBryantFuneralHome.com.

Copyright (c) 2017 The Charlotte Observer

Charles LaRue Kirby ’50

The Rev. Dr. Charles LaRue “Chuck” Kirby died on February 5, 2017 after a long struggle with dementia. Even as illness clouded his mind, this retired Presbyterian pastor’s deep faith and good cheer prevailed.

He was a happy man who loved the Lord, his wife Charlotte, and his family. Could there be a sweeter legacy? He was 89 years old. He was born on December 17, 1927, in Fort Pierce, FL, the fourth of James Alfred and Emma Jerman Kirby’s seven children.

In 1944, he was on a music scholarship to a Queens-Davidson Music Camp. While there, he needed surgery which was performed by Dr. Thomas D. Sparrow. They became great friends, and then family as Dr. Sparrow adopted Chuck as his foster son. Chuck graduated from Central High School, and Davidson College, where he heard God’s call. He graduated from Union Theological Seminary in Richmond, VA, and was ordained by the Presbyterian Church in Oct. 1953.

So began ministry for a man who loved every facet of the pastor’s life. Chuck connected with youth, had a gift for saying the right thing to people during hard times, and hungered to learn more about the Bible. He always performed beautiful weddings, his voice so tender and personal.

Chuck’s first call to lead four small churches in Sampson County changed his life. While serving a congregation near Tomahawk, NC, he was smitten by one of the congregants, Charlotte Murphy, a senior at the Woman’s College of the University of North Carolina. They were married in 1955, a union whose love was captured in a letter Chuck wrote his wife on Christmas Day 1963: “My Darling Charlotte, Christ has put many blessings on me in my few years. You I prize and rejoice in the most.” Charlotte, of course, has saved the letter in a special box.

Two years after they were married, they spent a year in Scotland with their one-year-old son, Tom, while Chuck studied at the University of Edinburgh. Upon returning to the states, Chuck was called to First Presbyterian Church in Morehead City, NC where he served for eleven years. While there, he received the Distinguished Service Award from the Jaycees for his work with the Migrant Ministry and served as Moderator of Wilmington Presbytery. While in Morehead City, the Kirbys’ two daughters, Anne and Frances were born.

In 1970, Chuck received a call to Caldwell Memorial Presbyterian Church in Charlotte. While serving there, he earned his Doctor of Ministry Degree from McCormick Seminary in Chicago, and served as Moderator of Mecklenburg Presbytery.

While serving Caldwell Memorial, the Kirbys did a 2-month exchange with Greenock Presbyterian Church of Scotland which is just outside of Glasgow. Dr. Kirby also served McGee Presbyterian Church, and was an interim pastor at Benton Heights Presbyterian Church in Monroe, NC. He retired from active pastoral work in the late 1990’s.

Such sweet memories: The annual week at the beach with all of the family at Wild Dunes; Saturday morning tennis games with his buddies at Charlotte Country Club; Sunday morning worship with congregants; getting down on all fours to play with the grandkids. All they had to do was ask and Chuck was happy to oblige.

No life is free of pain. Chuck and Charlotte lost their middle child, Anne Kirby Barnhardt of Greensboro, to breast cancer in 2012. She was 46 years old. Anne inherited her dad’s joyful disposition. Her brother, Tom, used to say that the party never started until Anne arrived.

Dr. Kirby is survived by his wife, Charlotte; son, Tom and wife Cynthia of Charlotte; son-in-law, Jimmy Barnhardt of Greensboro; daughter, Frances and husband Ashland Vaughn of Evergreen, CO. He also is survived by his much loved and enjoyed grandchildren: Laura K. Lemons and husband Greg of Charlotte; Quinn K. Branecky and husband Paul of Charlotte; April Kirby of Great Falls, MT; Jack Barnhardt and Lizzie Barnhardt of Greensboro; Kelsey Vaughn and Nora Jane Vaughn of Evergreen, CO; and great-grandchildren, Mylah and Calvin Lemons of Charlotte, and Evan and Collin Branecky of Charlotte.

A service to celebrate Dr. Kirby’s life will be on February 11, 2017 at 2:00 PM at Myers Park Presbyterian Church, 2501 Oxford Place in Charlotte. Visitation follows. Interment will be on February 10, 2017 at 1:00 at the Clinton City Cemetery in Clinton, NC.

A gift in his memory can be made to the Thomas D. Sparrow athletic scholarship at Davidson College, PO Box 7170, Davidson, NC 28035.

The family offers its deepest thanks to the staff of Sharon Towers, and Hospice & Palliative Care who showed so much love and care to Chuck and Charlotte. Also, thanks to David Lowery, Jim Lawton, and Allan Seidman for their assistance, and to Rev. Dr. Tony Tucker, and David Barnhardt for their frequent visits.

Robertson Funeral and Cremation Service is taking care of the family. Online condolences can be shared at www.throbertson.com.

Published in Charlotte Observer on Feb. 8, 2017


Theodore B. “Ted” Sumner, Jr. ’50

Theodore B. (Ted) Sumner Jr., a 33-year banking veteran and former Vice Chairman of First Union Corporation, died January 28, 2017 in his home. He was 88.

Mr. Sumner was born in Asheville, N.C. on July 9, 1928. The son of Lovie Winn and Theodore Sumner, he graduated from Georgia Military Academy and then Davidson College in 1950.

Mr. Sumner served in the Korean War in the First Calvary Division from 1951-53 as a second lieutenant. In 1953, he joined Union National Bank and began his steady rise through the managerial ranks. When the bank began to merge, he served as city executive in Hendersonville and Gastonia, senior vice president in Asheville and executive vice president in Greensboro.

He also served as president of the Greensboro Chamber of Commerce. Mr. Sumner was appointed regional executive in 1969, and three years later was named statewide officer in charge of all branch offices.

In 1973, Mr. Sumner became chairman of First Union National Bank and ten years later was named vice chairman of First Union Corporation where he served until his retirement in 1986. Mr. Sumner helped lead the bank’s interstate expansion and organized banking and political support for the Southeastern Regional Banking Compact, a key step in what was eventually to become nationwide branch banking.

Mr. Sumner’s extensive professional, civic, charitable and church endeavors included serving as president of the North Carolina Bankers Association and as a member of the American Bankers Association and the Association of Reserve City Bankers.

He was dean of the North Carolina Banking Institute at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and served on the NC Economic Development Board under Governor Jim Hunt.

Mr. Sumner was the board chairman of Chauncey Group International, Ltd., and served as a director of First Union Corporation, Parkdale Mills, Dana Corporation, the Heinemann Medical Research Center, Duke Comprehensive Cancer Center and the Methodist Foundation of Western North Carolina. Mr. Sumner was a member of Quail Hollow Club and The Country Club of North Carolina.

Five years after his bank retirement Mr. Sumner capitalized on his keen interest in international business affairs by founding Madison Financial Group. He chaired the firm as it worked with financial institutions along the eastern seaboard and in Canada, Poland, the Ukraine and Latvia.

Mr. Sumner’s work included partnering with Lech Walesa to organize a bank in Poland and helping modernize the infrastructure, procedures and technology of a Kiev bank after the Cold War ended.

A longtime member of Myers Park United Methodist Church in Charlotte, Mr. Sumner served as chairman of the administrative board. He was also active in the Western North Carolina conference serving as chairman of the council on finance and administration, chairman of the board of pensions, and chairman of the Methodist Foundation for western North Carolina.

At the general church level, Mr. Sumner was a member of the general council of finance and administration, and served as a delegate to the annual conference of western North Carolina and the general conference.

The family would like to acknowledge the special care he received by the nurses and staff at Southminster. Loretta, Shirley, Anna, Michele, Jackie and Caroline

Mr. Sumner is survived by his wife of 64 years, Ruth (Patsy) Moser Sumner; his daughter Stacy Sumner Jesso and her husband John of Rocky Mount; and his son Theodore B. Sumner III of Raleigh.

A memorial service will be held at 2:00 PM Wednesday, February 1, 2017 at Myers Park United Methodist Church with The Reverend Dr. James Howell officiating. The family will receive friends in Jubilee Hall following the service. Interment will be private.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to Myers Park Methodist Church, 1501 Queens Road, Charlotte, NC, 28207 or United Methodist Foundation of Western North Carolina, Inc. Address: 13816 Professional Center Drive, Suite 100 Huntersville, NC 28078

Arrangements are in the care of Kenneth Poe Funeral & Cremation Services, 1321 Berkeley Ave Charlotte NC 28204. Online condolences at www.kennethpoeservices.com Phone: 704 641-7606

Published in Charlotte Observer on Jan. 30, 2017


Parks C. “Neil” Underdown, Jr. ’52

Parks C. “Neil” Underdown, Jr., 86, of Hickory, passed away Wednesday, January 25, 2017 at his residence.

Born May 23, 1930 in Caldwell County, he was the son of the late Parks C. Underdown, Sr. and Hazle Teague Underdown.

In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by his sister, Dorothy Underdown Simmons and a daughter-in-law, Sara Shell Underdown.

Neil was a 1952 graduate of Davidson College with a BS degree in Business Administration and received his MBA from UNC Chapel Hill. After graduation, Neil joined his father in 1954 at Hickory Springs Manufacturing Company but soon after went on to serve his country in the U.S. Navy until 1958 leaving with the rank of Lieutenant J.G.

Following his discharge, he returned to Hickory to serve his family’s business for more than 48 years where he served as President for 28 years and as Chairman for an additional 12 years. He deeply appreciated all of his employees and saw to their welfare.

He also served on the Board of Directors of Snyder Paper Co. for many years.

Neil was very active in his community, serving the City of Hickory on its Human Relations Council, Transportation, and Foresight committees and on the board of the SALT Block. Additionally, he served on the Board of Directors of Frye Regional Medical Center and on the Wachovia Southern Region Board.

Other service included on the Liberty Mutual Insurance Southern Advisory Board and as a member of the Catawba County Foundation for the North Carolina School of the Arts. He was also active in the Hickory Rotary Club and various other state and regional boards and committees.

Neil served First Presbyterian Church of Hickory as Elder, Deacon, Clerk of Session, and as a Sunday School teacher. He was active on numerous church committees and served as commissioner to the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in the United States.

Neil’s first love was for his wife, Joanne, and his family. He loved to dance, play golf, attend ballgames and laugh with his friends, especially at the Hickory Coffee Club. Neil’s wit and sense of humor served him well throughout his life and helped define who he really was; a philanthropic, compassionate, fun-loving and extremely dedicated man.

The Underdown family extends deepest appreciation to all the compassionate caregivers from Home Instead and Catawba Regional Hospice who have played an integral part in our journey.

He is survived by his beloved wife of 64 years, Joanne Floyd Underdown of the home; children: Parks C. (Chip) Underdown, III; David Underdown and wife Martha; Steve Underdown and wife Gayle; Susan Underdown Geck and husband Joe; and Scott Underdown. Grandchildren: Parks C. (Cory) Underdown, IV and wife Megan, Michelle Underdown Wilkes and husband Chris, Erica Underdown, Patrick Underdown, Adam Underdown, Andrew Underdown, Matthew Underdown, and Christiana Underdown Cantwell and husband Walter; step-grandchildren: Kathy Frye, Jonathan Frye and wife Brenda, Lauren Shawver, and Page Moore; five great-grandchildren and five step-great-grandchildren.

After a private interment at Oakwood cemetery, the funeral service will be held at 2:00 PM Saturday, January 28, 2017 at First Presbyterian Church in Hickory with the Rev. Dr. Whit Malone officiating. The family will receive friends following the service in the fellowship hall at the church.

In honor of Neil’s love for Davidson College and UNC, the family requests that those who wish wear red or Carolina blue.

The family requests in lieu of flowers memorials may be made to Catawba Regional Hospice – 3975 Robinson Rd.; Newton, NC 28658 or to the Scholarship Fund or Good Samaritan Fund at First Presbyterian Church, 237 2nd St. NW; Hickory, NC 28601, or to the charity of one’s choice.

Bass-Smith Funeral Home in Hickory is serving the family of P.C. “Neil” Underdown, Jr.

R. Wallace Pack ’50

R. Wallace Pack of Ft Myers, FL passed away on January 24, 2017 at the age of 88. He was born on December 25, 1928 in Beaumont Texas. He grew up in Beaumont and graduated from the Asheville School in Asheville, NC and earned his bachelors degree from Davidson College in Davidson, NC. He earned his law degree from Southern Methodist University in Dallas TX where he was also on the SMU Law Review staff.

He served in the United States Army Reserve from 1950 to 1960. After graduation from SMU Law School, Wallace practiced law in Dallas and then became a landman for Sun Oil Company.

He married Anna Rogers of Winnsboro, LA in 1957. Wallace moved with his family to Ft Myers in 1965 where he oversaw field operations for Sun Oil Company in south Florida. He began practicing law in Ft Myers in 1967 and was appointed Lee County Judge in 1970.

In 1972, he became one of the first circuit judges of the newly formed 20th Circuit and served in that capacity until his retirement in 1999.

During his 27 years of service to the citizens of the 20th Judicial Circuit, he was greatly respected and admired by the many lawyers who appeared in his courtroom.

Wallace enjoyed sailing, bridge, fishing, travel, sail planes and was an avid photographer. He was also active in the Kiwanis, Goodwill, the Calusa American Inns of Court and the Presbyterian Church.

Wallace was preceded in death by his wife, Anna Rogers Pack in January 1990. He is survived by his sisters, Margaret Buchanan of Dallas, TX, Sarah Thomas of Black Mountain NC and his sons, Robert of Ocala, FL and John of Shreveport, LA.

The family asks that gifts be made to Hope Hospice in lieu of flowers.

Published in The News-Press on Feb. 5, 2017

Timothy Harden, Jr. ’49

Dr. Timothy Harden, Jr., 92, of Athens, passed away Tuesday, January 17, 2017.

As a loving father, an outstanding citizen, patriot, and prominent physician, he exemplified the “greatest generation.”

Born in Macon, GA, he was the son of Dr. Timothy Harden Sr. and Mary Elizabeth Stubbs Harden. Dr. Harden was an Eagle Scout and graduated from Lanier High School for Boys with letters in football, basketball, and track. He attended Georgia Tech in the fall of 1942 prior to enlisting in the U.S. Army during WWII.

As a member of the 406th Infantry Regiment of the 102nd Division, he fought in the European Theatre, including driving on the Red Ball Express and meeting the Russians at the Elbe River. He finished his service as a Sargeant First Class, receiving a Good Conduct Medal.

Upon returning from the war, Dr. Harden attended and graduated from Davidson College (Class of 49), where he was on the track team and President of the Sigma Chapter of the Kappa Alpha Order. He then earned his M.D. from Emory University (Class of 53) and established his Internal Medicine practice in Decatur, GA, which spanned 40 years.

At various times during his career, he served as President of the DeKalb Medical Society, Vice Chief of Medical Staff at DeKalb General Hospital, President of the Medical Staff at Wesley Woods Health Center, Medical Director of Emory Convalescent Home, and Vice President of the Medical Unit at the DeKalb Heart Association.

Dr. Harden also served on the board of trustees at Rabun Gap-Nacoochee School, as Chairman of Boy Scout Troop 55, and for many years as an elder at Emory Presbyterian Church. Most importantly, he will be remembered for being a very kind, considerate, and caring gentleman who always put others first.

In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by his sisters, Mary Rosalyn Harden and Dorothea Elizabeth Harden Keen; a grandson, Joseph Benjamin Harden; a great-granddaughter, Austin Evans; and a great-grandson, Cash Evans.

Survivors include his loving wife, Catherine Bracken Moore Harden; four children, Dr. Roslyn Harden Scott (Randy), Laura Elizabeth Harden, Timothy Harden III (Lori), and C. Reid Harden; three step children, Cathy Murphy (Philip), Velinda Evans (David), and Alva C. Moore; nine grandchildren, Kelsey Scott Donald, Rachel Harden, Jessica Scott Westbrooks, Taylor Harden, Commander Ryan Murphy, Ashley Murphy, Dr. Tammy Evans Yonce, David Evans III, and Jason Evans; and ten great-grandchildren.

A family visitation will be held Friday, January 20, 2017, from 6:00 – 8:00 p.m. at Lord & Stephens on Lexington Rd. in Athens.

The memorial service will be held Saturday, January 21, 2017, at 2:00 p.m. at Lord & Stephens on Lexington Rd. in Athens.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to – Emory University School of Medicine (404-727-8875)

Lord and Stephens, East is in charge of arrangements.



Published in Athens Banner-Herald on Jan. 19, 2017


Davidson College Alumni Obituaries