All posts by Yolanda Gilliam

Frank Wise ’69

Frank Wise, 69, quietly passed away on June 11, 2017, in the Augusta University Hospital surrounded by his family after a difficult battle with leukemia.

Frank was born August, 26, 1947, in Americus, Georgia, the second son of J.C. and Virginia Easterlin Wise, and brother of Roy T. Wise.

He grew up and attended school in Plains, Georgia. He attended the University of Georgia for two years, before transferring to Davidson College.

Upon graduation, having enlisted in the ROTC program at Davidson, Frank served in the Army as a captain and was stationed at Ft. Benning, Georgia.

Frank then attended Harvard and earned his Masters in Business Administration from the university. Subsequently, he was hired by Dixie Capital, a small business investment corporation, where he worked for 3 years before becoming a management consultant for Kurt Salmon Associates.

After a stint there, he was hired by the Graniteville Company where he worked in New York City, before moving to Aiken in 1987 to work for the company locally. He then left Graniteville to work at Westinghouse Savannah River as a financial analyst where he analyzed budget data for the site until his retirement in 2013.

Frank was an organizer, especially when it came to his two daughters and soccer. When he was employed in New York City and lived in Fairfield, Connecticut, he started the first girls’ soccer program in Fairfield to ensure his young daughters had the same opportunity to play competitive soccer that the young boys did.

When he moved south to Aiken, not only did he jumpstart the girls’ soccer programs at both Aiken High School and South Aiken High School, but he also began the Aiken Soccer Club, which served both the boys and the girls. Frank was the moving force behind the Aiken Soccer Classic, a tournament which began in the mid 1990’s with 60 teams from around the Southeast and grew to over 230 teams at its peak.

He attended St. Thaddeus Church and served as Sunday school teacher, junior warden and senior warden for the Vestry. Additionally, he served as Chairman of the Board of the Mead Hall School. Frank had many varied hobbies which included golf, gardening, painting and cooking. However, the most important time Frank spent was involving himself with family activities.

Not only did Frank love spending quality time with his wife, Kathy, around the house, and when they traveled together, but he also would drop anything he was doing to help his two daughters, Betsy and Laura, whether the task was a home project, finances or just babysitting his grandchildren.

Speaking of whom, Frank’s treasure here on earth was absolutely spending time with his grandchildren, whether he was watching a school performance, a sports contest, or just on his knees horsing around with each, and all, of them. He will be missed by all, but especially by his grandchildren.

Frank is survived by his wife, Kathy, of almost 48 years, his daughters Betsy (Jeff) Dick and Laura (Satch) Saunders, his brother Roy (June) and his daughters, Mary and Kristin Wise, his brother-in-law Pete (Lynn) Sampson and their sons Scott and Alan (Amber) Sampson, sister-in-law Mary (Doug) Clementson, along with five grandchildren: Ashley Saunders, Emily Saunders, Satch Saunders, Caroline Dick and Patrick Dick.

Frank will be buried in the Lebanon Cemetery in the Wise family plot in Plains, Georgia, in a graveside service on Saturday, June 17, 2017, at 3:00 PM.

The family will receive friends at the Shellhouse Funeral Home on Hayne Avenue Monday, June 19th, 2017, from 5pm to 7pm.

A memorial service will be held at St. Thaddeus Church with The Rev. Grant Wiseman officiating on Tuesday, June 20th, 2017, at 11am. The family will receive friends following the service in the Stevenson-McClelland Building.

Honorary pallbearers will be his Davidson College roommates and friends. Also serving as honorary pallbearers are Frank’s friends known as “The Gumpy Old Men.”

In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be sent to St. Thaddeus Episcopal Church or the Mead Hall School Cornerstone Fund, 125 Pendleton St. SW, Aiken, SC 29801.


Published in The Augusta Chronicle on June 15, 2017

Martin Hunter ’80

Martin Hunter, a Charlotte bankruptcy attorney and accomplished pianist with a gifted ear and streak of mischief, died unexpectedly on June 7, 2017 while vacationing with his family in Hawaii. He was 58.

Born George Martin Hunter in Aiken, S.C., on January 11, 1959, the older of two sons of the late Carl Doering Hunter and Doris Jean Martin Hunter, Martin lived most of his life in North Carolina, where family, friends, music, books and the law were central to his life. His family and friends universally marveled at Martin’s unquenchable curiosity and deep knowledge of religion, politics and history.

And for the joy he built into his life – and brought to theirs.

Martin grew up in Asheville, and as a boy thought he wanted a career as a professional musician. He’d shown an early aptitude for piano, able to play by ear using perfect pitch. In high school, he was twice selected by the prestigious Brevard Music Center to take part in a six-week summer program for emerging musical talent.

He decided to forgo his senior year at Asheville High School and left for Boone to pursue his passion for music by spending a year in a special music program at Appalachian State University.

After that year, Martin decided not to make a living as a professional musician and transferred to Davidson College, where he graduated in 1980 with an English degree.

Yet he did not leave music behind. At Davidson, Martin used his musical skills and knowledge of liturgical music to earn “spending money,” playing organ on Sundays at St. Alban’s Episcopal Church near campus.

 After graduating, he moved to Charlottesville, Va., where he was business manager for the University of Virginia’s Daily Cavalier newspaper and the organist and choirmaster for the Olivet Presbyterian Church.

The Olivet choir loved Martin, and the family cherishes the engraved cups the choir gave him before he left Charlottesville for Winston-Salem to attend law school at Wake Forest University.

  Graduating with his law degree in 1986, Martin moved to Charlotte, developing his bankruptcy law practice after clerking for federal Judge George R. Hodges, then the U.S. bankruptcy judge for the Western District of North Carolina. He spent the next three decades helping financially stressed people and small businesses work through legal problems and create fresh starts.

His clients appreciated his keen legal knowledge, his practical judgment and sure-footed advice. They loved him for his tireless commitment to their cause and his graceful, discreet way of reducing or waiving his fees for clients unable to pay for his legal advice.

In 2007, he was surprised and honored to receive the Mecklenburg County Bar’s Lawyer Referral Service Award for his willingness to serve clients of limited means. His generosity and compassion for the less fortunate came naturally.

As a teenager in Asheville, Martin was an Eagle Scout, scouting’s highest honor, and received scouting’s Order of the Arrow leadership award. Martin took seriously the teachings of Matthew 25: “Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.”

It was a lesson he carried through his remarkable life in Charlotte, and that he practiced at Charlotte’s First Presbyterian Church, where he served as a Deacon and Elder and added a tenor voice to its choir. In that choir Martin met Donna Jenkins, who eventually became his trusted and devoted legal assistant for many years. There he also was introduced to the love of his life, Charlotte lawyer and Fayetteville native Cathy Thompson.

When Martin and Cathy married in 1990, Bob Ivey, First Presbyterian’s organist and choirmaster, traveled with an octet from the choir to Southern Pines to sing at their wedding. The octet honored Martin and Cathy by singing the Lutkin Benediction, “The Lord Bless You and Keep You,” reserved for very special occasions.

Soon Martin and Cathy were the proud parents of son Paul and daughter Elizabeth. The four formed a tight bond, born of principle, discipline, humor, respect and kindness. Despite all of Martin’s accomplishments, his wife and two children dominated his pride. There never was a more dedicated, loving husband and father. He put his family’s needs first each day.

The routine times with family – cooking Saturday morning breakfast with Elizabeth, taking Paul to concerts Martin wouldn’t have chosen to go to, and having coffee and conversation each morning with Cathy – gave his family comfort and joy. Cathy, Paul and Elizabeth especially treasure memories of family trips in recent years to Santa Fe, Bryce and Zion national parks and Vancouver.

They have also loved their time with extended family and friends at the beach, especially Kiawah Island, Sunset Beach and Emerald Isle.

Martin often played the piano for his family and friends, his range running from hymns to Bach to B.B. King. His natural ear was so astute, Elizabeth said she’d play him a recording of her favorite pop songs and he’d listen closely and replay them on the piano.

Charlotte bandleader Smitty Flynn, a longtime friend, said he’s known few musicians with as broad a range of musical knowledge as Martin. “He had this gift to play by ear, but he was also trained,” Flynn said. “That gave his music a touch of professionalism. On top of that, you felt the joy he brought to it.”

The members of Martin’s nearly 30-year-old book club – of which Flynn is a member – saw that joy each December at their holiday party. Martin, Santa hat atop his head, ended those evenings at the keyboard with fellow member Ray Owens on the guitar playing carols and hymns as the group and their families sang along.

When one of the members requested “Joy to the World,” Martin would mischievously launch into the Three Dog Night version and over the years the sounds of the group singing “Jeremiah was a bullfrog” ushered in the Christmas season. Martin graciously played the piano for other Christmas gatherings of friends and extended family, providing them much holiday joy as well.

A private man in many ways, Martin was the indisputable host when the book club met at the Hunter-Thompsons. Meetings included dinner. Martin cooked and made sure his guests went back for seconds. He was often quiet during book discussions, but when he spoke up, you knew to listen.

At dinner, he sat at the head of the table, a master of dinner table conversations. His wit was sharp, smart and feisty, delivered with a light but frequently potent touch with a smiling lift of his chin and eyebrows. He was a gifted story-teller, often spinning hilarious – sometimes self-deprecating – tales of growing up and family forays to his deep South Carolina roots. Inevitably, as he told them, his voice slipped into a skillful low-country accent.

Martin couldn’t read too many books and retained almost all of what his eyes touched and effortlessly wove it into conversations. As obscure questions of religion or politics or history arose, Martin quietly provided the answers. He could explain Calvinist double predestination and English history with equal aplomb.

His friends once mused: “What did we do before we had Google? We asked Martin.” He had a special love for the writings of Anthony Trollope, though he could never get his book club to choose one of the writer’s novels to discuss.

One book club wasn’t enough for Martin and Cathy. In recent years, they joined a second reading group, enjoying that group’s conversation and company as well. His friends will miss him greatly.

His extended family loved him so much and his too-early death will leave an empty space in family gatherings. Martin and his brother, Tom, shared a love of learning about important family history. They could talk about long-deceased relatives as if they’d just finished Sunday dinner with them.

Martin loved playing music with his brother-in-law Rick on stand-up bass, and watching Paul and Elizabeth with their cousins around the campfire roasting oysters and marshmallows. He graciously accommodated his sister-in-law Louise’s need to photographically document every family gathering despite his dislike for having his photo taken.

Not one for big shows of emotion, Martin quietly tolerated the incredibly long family good-byes. But still waters run deep: he loved his extended family and they loved him. Most of all, Cathy, Paul and Elizabeth will miss his kind and bright presence in their lives. To paraphrase W.H. Auden: “He was our North, our South, our East and West, our working week and our Sunday rest.”

In addition to Martin’s parents, he was predeceased by many aunts and uncles, including his mother’s identical twin sister, Dorothy Jane Martin Fleming, and her husband, Charles Eaton Fleming.

He is survived by his wife Catherine E. Thompson, son Paul Thompson Hunter, daughter Elizabeth Martin Hunter, all of Charlotte; brother Thomas Rogers Hunter, wife Nicole Ann Hager Hunter, and their daughter, Addie, all of Dallas, Ga.; his three sisters-in-law (who with Cathy are known in the Thompson family as “the Committee”) Ann Thompson of Boone, N.C., Louise Thompson Futrell, husband Mark and their daughter Annie, all of Southern Pines, N.C., and Jane Thompson Myers, husband Rick and their twins Cole and Ellie, all of Richmond, Va.

A service to celebrate Martin’s life will be held at Myers Park Baptist Church on Tuesday, June 13, 2017, at 2 p.m.  A church reception will follow.

Those wishing to make a contribution in Martin’s memory are encouraged to consider the Council on Children’s Rights, Myers Park Baptist Church, or the Conservation Land Trust for North Carolina.

Arrangements are in the care of Kenneth Poe Funeral & Cremation Services, 1321 Berkeley Ave Charlotte NC 28204.

Online condolences at Phone: 704 641-7606

Published in Charlotte Observer on June 11, 2017

Joe Stuart McClure ’52

Reverend Dr. Joe Stuart McClure passed away peacefully Wednesday, June 7, 2017 in Knoxville. He was born March 22, 1930 to William David McClure, Jr. and Mary Isabel (Thompson) McClure near Charlotte, North Carolina.

Joe was an alumnus of Paw Creek High School, Davidson College, Union Seminary, Austin Seminary and McCormick Seminary. He served as a Presbyterian Minister for over 50 years.<

Joe is survived by his wife Nancy Brown McClure; children and their spouses, Pamella McClure and John Larson (FL), John and Teresa McClure (TN) and David McClure (NY); grandchildren, Ian, Airen, and Henry McClure and nieces and nephews dear to him.

The family will welcome friends to celebrate Joe's life with a worship service at Westminster Presbyterian Church, 6500 South Northshore Drive, Knoxville, on Monday June 12, 2017 at 7:00p.m.

Arrangements by Cremation Options, Inc. (865)6WE-CARE (693-2273)

Published in Knoxville News Sentinel from June 9 to June 11, 2017–

Elizabeth “Lib” Averill Harkey – BOV

Elizabeth Averill Harkey (“Lib”) passed away on Tuesday, June 6, 2017. Lib was born in Raleigh on September 21, 1919 as the only child of Louise Currie Averill and Frederick Leland Averill. She was a graduate of Peace College and Duke University.

She attended the University of North Carolina School of Social Work at Chapel Hill. Peace College awarded her an Honorary Alumni Award in 1973, the William Peace Medallion in 2007 and an Honorary Doctorate of Humanities in 2011.

Lib endowed a scholarship at Peace College. In 2014, the University of North Carolina School of Social Work recognized her for a Lifetime of Outstanding Social Work, Practice and Achievement.

While attending UNC, she met Henry Lee Harkey, a Davidson College graduate and a UNC Law School student who was a commissioned officer in the US Army. They married on December 13, 1941, just six days after the attack on Pearl Harbor. Henry Lee had orders to report for active duty immediately following their wedding. During the reception, Lib convinced her new husband’s commanding officer to allow them a brief honeymoon. Lib could be most persuasive.

Lib was predeceased by her son, Frederick Henry Harkey, on February 9, 1944, and her husband, Henry Lee Harkey on January 6, 1989. Lib is survived by her son Henry A. Harkey and his wife Catherine Harkey, her son Averill C. Harkey and his wife Johanna Harkey, her grandson, Jon H. Harkey, his wife Jill Harkey and their daughter, Brooke Elizabeth Harkey, her grandson, Chris H. Harkey and granddaughter, Lauren A. Harkey.

She is also survived by many wonderful friends who carry on Lib’s legacy of fulfilling her faithful commitment to the giving and providing of service to others.

Lib moved to Charlotte in 1947. She was employed as a Case Work Supervisor with the Department of Social Services and in the same year served as the Co-Chair of the Charlotte-based White House Conference Committee for Child Welfare.

She has served as the State Director of the NC Junior Women’s Clubs, a Cub Scout Den Mother, President of the Eastover Elementary PTA, President of the Mecklenburg County Legal Auxiliary, President of the Shepherd’s Center of Charlotte, Chairman of the Board of Sharon Towers and a Board of Directors member of Habitat for Humanity and the Presbyterian Samaritan Counseling Center. Lib and longtime friend Sarah Bryant were the co-founding members of Planned Parenthood of Greater Charlotte.

Lib began serving on the Board for Florence Crittenton Services in 1953. She served two terms as the Board President and remained on the Board of Advisors until her death. She received Florence Crittenton Services’ Lucille P. Giles Award in 1998.

She served several terms on the Board of Directors of the YWCA of Central Carolinas and as President of the YWCA from 1977-1979. She was honored with the YWCA Woman of Achievement Award in 2006.

She served on the Board of Visitors of Davidson College and the Church Relation Council of Warren Wilson College, where an honorary scholarship has been endowed in her honor.

Lib and Henry joined Myers Park Presbyterian Church in 1947. She served her beloved church as President of the Women of the Church, Superintendent of the Primary Department, co-founder of the Peacemaking Council and as Co-Chair of the Linking God’s Children Campaign with the late Bill Lee. Lib and her dear friend Danny Verner were the first women elected as Ruling Elders.

Lib served the Mecklenburg (now Charlotte) Presbytery on the Haiti Development Commission, the New Church Development Committee and the Nominating Committee. She has served the National PCUSA and its predecessor on the Board of Women’s Work, The Synod of NC, the Task Force on World Hunger, the General Assembly Mission Board and the General Executive Board.

Lib loved her grandchildren Jon, Chris and Lauren. They affectionately called her “HiMommy.” Lib provided them with an enviable model of how to live with an open mind and love with an open heart. She adored her “daughters” Johanna and Catherine and would do everything she could to share her special love with her great granddaughter, Brooke.

Lib never met a stranger. It made no difference if you were a bank president, a young pregnant woman in need of a home or a Haitian refugee. She respected everyone and never saw differences, only commonalities. Lib believed that all people have gifts that could be shared. It was her gift to be able to nurture those relationships, just like she tended to her roses, which allowed her to lovingly share them with others.

Lib recently stated, “in today’s world I see the value of relationships diminishing and that really concerns me, we take so much for granted – including each other, and that is one of the worst things we can do. Each one of us is responsible for nurturing our relationships with our neighbors, our families and friends. The opportunity to serve humanity has led me to a better understanding of the value and purpose of life…”

Her family would like to express its sincere appreciation for the loving care provided by the staff of Sharon Towers, and also to Lin Watkins for the loving companionship provided in Lib’s later years.

A service to “Celebrate the Life of Lib Harkey” will be held at Myers Park Presbyterian Church on Friday, June 9, 2017 at 2:00 p.m. with the Rev. Dr. Joseph J. Clifford officiating. A reception “for the nurturing of relationships” will be held immediately following the service in Oxford Hall. Interment will be private.

The family would like to ask anyone wishing to share a gift or memorial to do so with the Myers Park Presbyterian Church Endowment Fund or the charity of your choice .

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


Published in Charlotte Observer on June 7, 2017

James Hampton Black, Sr. ’42

James Hampton Black, Sr., age 97, a descendant of John Morrison, a Revolutionary War Soldier and lifelong resident of Mint Hill, North Carolina, passed away on May 5, 2017.

Like his forbearer, Mr. Black was a true patriot, always honoring and respecting his country and state, volunteering for the US Army Air Corps, serving with the 15th Air Force in Italy in World War II, chairing the Mecklenburg County Selective Service (Draft) Board during the Vietnam War, and continuing on various veterans commissions until his late 80’s.

Mr. Black was born on July 5, 1919 in Mecklenburg County, the youngest child of Clinton Montgomery and Annie Wallace Black. His parents and his brother, Clinton Montgomery Black, Jr, preceded him in death. Mr. Black graduated from Bain High School and earned a Bachelor’s Degree from Davidson College in 1942. He retired as President of Central Piedmont Realty Company.

Mr. Black helped found VFW Post 4059 in Mint Hill and later supervised construction of the Post home. He was elected Post Commander, District Commander, State Commander, and later National Council Member. The VFW appointed him for over twenty years to present the concerns of veterans to the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives at the VFW Annual Washington Conference.

He worked with many U.S. Congressmen and Senators from North Carolina, who sought his informed opinion on veterans’ issues pending before Congress.

He endowed a scholarship to honor the winners of the annual VFW Voice of Democracy Essay Contest. Governor Jim Hunt appointed Mr. Black to the State Veterans Affairs Commission, where he was instrumental in developing the Veterans Home in Fayetteville, North Carolina.

In the 1960’s Mr. Black chaired the Bain School Board. He grew up in the historic Philadelphia Presbyterian Church, where he served as Deacon, Elder and Elder Emeritus. He was Treasurer of the Church for over a decade, devised a plan to sell church bonds in order to build a new sanctuary, and chaired the Finance Committee that made the sanctuary a reality.

Mr. Black was a 50-year member of the Masonic Order, Scottish Rite Bodies, and Oasis Temples of the Shrine.

He was a Past Master of both the Mint Hill (founder) and Mathews Masonic Lodges. In 1984, he helped co-found the Mint Hill Historical Society and served as a Trustee until age 89. He urged the Board to purchase the house and lot for what became the extraordinary Carl J. McEwen Historical Village.

He was also instrumental in locating a County Hot Meals Program at Philadelphia Presbyterian Church, and “Mr. Jim” served meals nearly every day for over a decade.

In 2005, the Governor of North Carolina awarded Mr. Black the Order of the Long Leaf Pine, the highest civilian honor in the State of North Carolina.

Mr. Black was predeceased by his wife of more than 40 years, the late Beulah (“Boots”) Howell Black. He is survived by his children, James Hampton Black, Jr. and his wife, Dr. Marilyn Shull Black, of Atlanta, and by his daughter, Nancy Black Norelli and her husband, Ronald Allen Norelli, of Charlotte; grandchildren Krystl Lydie Black Eldridge, and her husband, Gerald Austin Eldridge, of Atlanta, Kelly Black-Holmes of Atlanta, Dr. James Clinton Black and his wife, Catherine Bass Black, of Springfield, Missouri, Dr. Margaux Elisabeth Black Gray and her husband, Thomas Cary Gray, of Redwood City, California, Jonathan Andrew Norelli and his wife, Lauren Hawley Norelli, of Upper Arlington, Ohio, Margaret Howell Norelli Sanchez and her husband Miguel Andres Sanchez, of Houston, Texas, and Lee Elizabeth Norelli Pedersen and her husband Eric Carlson Pedersen of Charlotte, and ten great grandchildren.

Mr. Black proudly carried the Bain Cane as his father had over fifty years ago, as the oldest man in the Church.

A memorial service was held on Sunday, May 7, at 3:00 p.m., at Philadelphia Presbyterian Church in Mint Hill, with interment following in the family plot at the Church cemetery.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be sent to Philadelphia Presbyterian Church, the Mint Hill Historical Society or charity of donor’s choice.