John Wilson Moore ’41

John Wilson Moore, a biophysicist who made important contributions to understanding neurotoxins and was a pioneer in the field of computational neuroscience, died on Saturday, March 30. He was 98.

John was born on November 1, 1920 in Winston-Salem. He graduated from Davidson College in 1941 and received his Ph.D. in physics from the University of Virginia in 1945. His graduate work was directed toward the war effort: assisting in the effort to enrich uranium by centrifuge, and building a radar-directed gun system for ships.

As a young scientist, John worked at the RCA Laboratories, the Medical College of Virginia, the Naval Medical Research Institute, and the National Institutes of Health, gaining unusual expertise that combined physics, feedback systems, electronics, and biology. He also began a lifelong tradition of summer research at the Marine Biological Laboratory in Woods Hole, MA.

In 1961, John joined the Department of Physiology at Duke, where he made his greatest contributions to the field. He developed a new experimental method of measuring electrical current in neurons. Using this technique, he studied the actions of various neurotoxins with collaborators from around the world. Most notably, he and Toshio Narahashi discovered the method by which tetrodotoxin, the puffer fish venom, blocks nerve signals. John received the Cole Award from the Biophysical Society in 1981 for this and other work.

John also saw the potential for using computers to simulate the electrical signals in neurons. With help from student programmers, and using the recently developed Hodgkin-Huxley equations as a basis, he began in the late 1960s to run computer simulations in parallel with each lab experiment.

This groundbreaking method proved to be highly successful both in predicting the outcomes of experiments and in showing that the equations had wider applicability than previously known. With Michael Hines he developed the neuronal simulation software NEURON which remains one of the most popular tools for computational neuroscience instruction and research.

After his retirement from Duke in 1990, John focused his efforts on education. With his wife, Ann Stuart, a neurobiologist at UNC-Chapel Hill, he developed Neurons in Action, a digital textbook that includes interactive experiments using NEURON. It is now widely employed to teach neurophysiology.

Throughout his life, John struck up friendships wherever he went. He was beloved by family, colleagues, employees of the institutions where he worked, musicians he admired, and his many caregivers during his final year.

John is survived by his wife, Ann Stuart; their son, Jonathan Stuart-Moore (Megan Guiliano); three children from his first marriage, John Reid Moore (Beth), Marjorie Moore Kastrinsky (Howard), and Stephen Wilson Moore (Kathy); eight grandchildren, Jennifer, Josh, Matt, Kimberly, Elizabeth, Michelle, Steve, and Julian; and two great-grandchildren, Henley and Emily.

A memorial service will be held on Saturday, May 4, 2019, at 2 PM, at the Church of Reconciliation in Chapel Hill.

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Thomas B. and John W. Moore Scholarship Fund at Davidson College or to the The John W. Moore and Ann E. Stuart Endowed Fund at the Marine Biological Laboratory.

Published in The News & Observer on Apr. 7, 2019

Edward Nisbet Maxwell, Sr. ’41

Ed MaxwellEdward Maxwell, Sr., 96, of Louisville died Monday, February 13, 2017 at Jefferson Place.

He was a native of South Boston, Va., served as a medical officer in the US Public Health Service in World War II, was a member of Fourth Presbyterian Church and a longtime choir member. He was the former chief of Radiology at Audubon Hospital and the old St. Joseph’s Infirmary, was a Fellow of the American College of Radiology and was a former member of the AMA and JCMS.

He was preceded in death by his loving wife, Ethelyn LeGrand Jones Maxwell; parents, Columbus Wirt Maxwell and Evelyn Nisbet Maxwell; and sister, Betty Maxwell.

He is survived by his children, Edward N. Maxwell, Jr., MD (Nancy Lee) of Lexington, KY, Betsy Maxwell, Kenneth L. Maxwell, James H. Maxwell. MD (Susan) of Greensboro, NC, Nancy M. Hanna (Bill), and Margaret A. Maxwell of Richmond, KY; sister, Louise Worth; grandchildren, Jennie Hale (Jason), Christopher, Dr. Matthew (Sara), Ryan, Clay and Leigh Maxwell, Colin and Will Hanna; and great grandchildren, Georgia and Ari Hale, Wesley, Caroline and Maggie Maxwell.

His memorial service will be held at Noon on Saturday, February 25, 2017 at Fourth Presbyterian Church 3016 Preston Hwy. Visitation will be after 10 a.m. at the church.

Memorial gifts may be made to Fourth Presbyterian Church or MUSCL 1207 Hart Avenue Louisville, KY 40213.


Published in The Courier-Journal on Feb. 22, 2017

Thomas Arthur Galbreath, Jr. ’41

Thomas Arthur Galbreath, Jr. '41Thomas Arthur Galbreath, Jr. died Thursday, November 24, 2016.

He was born May 21, 1920 in Greenville, N. C. He was the son of Thomas Arthur and Amine King Galbreath. Tom was a graduate of Davidson College.

He began his career in banking with The Commercial Bank, now Wells Fargo. He was employed with J. P. Taylor – Universal Leaf Tobacco Co. for thirty five years.

Upon retirement he joined his wife Margaret, in managing the Coral Bay Club, at Atlantic Beach.

Following their retirement they lived in Kinston. Tom loved life and lived it to the fullest. He was a life time member of Queen Street Methodist Church, where he was an active member.

He was predeceased by his parents, his wife Margaret, and brother-in-law Philip E. Edwards.

He is survived by his sister Amine G. Edwards of Rocky Mount and nieces Amine E. Morgan (John), and Ruth E. Nicholson (Paul) and step children Jess Roper McLamb (Gene), Liza Roper, and Thomas J. Roper (Sue), and numerous great nieces and nephews.

Interment will be at Westview Cemetery. A memorial service will be Tuesday, November 29, 2016 at 11:00 a.m. at Queen Street United Methodist Church.

Reception immediately following at The Kinston Country Club, 1501 Country Club Dr. Memorials may be made to Queen Street Methodist Church, 500 N. Queen Street, Kinston, N.C. 28501, or a a charity of your choice.

Arrangements are with Edwards Funeral Home.

Published in The News & Observer on Nov. 27, 2016

Robert Norman ’41

A long-time resident of San Marcos, Robert “Bob” B. Norman, 96, beloved father, grandfather and great-grandfather passed away peacefully in his home on November 8, 2016.  He was born on December 29, 1919 in Ringwood, NC to Joseph Hunter and Marie Antoinette (Williams) Norman.

Bob served his country as an Air Force Pilot during World War II.  Before being deployed to India, he married the love of his life Lilly Whitaker on May 18, 1943.  In India, he was one of the pilots that flew “The Hump” to get fuel to the Flying Tigers. With the loss of the Burma Road, “Flying the Hump” was the only option to re-supply the forces fighting the Japanese from within China.  This was one of the most dangerous flying routes at the time.  The DC-3 and C47 were the primary aircraft tasked with this operation. After the war, he was stationed in San Marcos at the Navigation School (currently Camp Gary) where he was a pilot instructor and shared his love of flying.  After the closing of the school, Bob went to work for the Texas Comptroller’s office from which he retired after many years.  He and his wife Lilly were also members of the First United Methodist Church in San Marcos.

Bob is survived by his son Robert B. Norman Jr. and wife, LaVerne of Grand Saline, TX, daughters, Martha Kendrick and husband Bill of Georgetown and Nancy Norman and husband, Robert Gonzalez, MD of San Antonio, 4 grandchildren and 5 great grandchildren.

Private family services will be held at a later date at Whittaker Chapel cemetery in North Carolina.

Memorial donations may be made to the First United Methodist Church Foundation, 129 W. Hutchison, San Marcos, TX 78666

Arrangements by Pennington Funeral Home, San Marcos, TX 78666, 512-353-4311.

William (Bill) Earl Loftin, Sr. ’41

William (Bill) Earl Loftin, Sr. '41The world lost a kind and gentle soul on September 18, 2016. William Earl Loftin Sr. (Bill) died peacefully at age 96, in Charlotte, NC. 

Bill was predeceased by his parents, Charles Ivey Loftin Sr. and Martha Jackson Loftin; his beloved wife of 59 years, Martha Enck Loftin; his beloved wife of 9 years, Ruth Lipford Loftin; his brother Charles Ivey Loftin Jr.; his brother John Frank (Hank) Loftin; and his sister Martha Loftin Whaley.

Bill Loftin loved God, family, work, Davidson College, and Rotary International. Bill was born in Gastonia, NC on January 10, 1920. He graduated from Davidson College in 1941, earning both Phi Beta Kappa and Omicron Delta Kappa.

Though unable to serve in WWII due to health issues, Bill moved to Boston and worked in the airplane industry during the war. He often lamented losing his brother, Hank, and friends to the war, and wished he could have joined them on the battlefield.

Bill attended and taught at Harvard Business School and went on to teach at Florida State University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

One of Bill’s mottos was “live to work, not work to live.” In 1956, Bill opened a business, Heritage Printers Inc. in Charlotte, NC. Heritage Printers became nationally known for its high quality letterpress books with customers such as University of California, Yale University and Atheneum Press. Bill also continued his father’s commercial printing company, Loftin and Co. (founded in1898 and still operating).

Bill Loftin was a Southern gentleman, known for his integrity and good will. He served as Charlotte Rotary president and was named a Paul Harris Fellow. He served as deacon and elder of Avondale Presbyterian Church and was active with Davidson College alumni.

He was a friend to the downtrodden, and taught his family to “provide for the comfort of others.” He was a servant leader who left the world better.

Bill loved his family and often called them “The Lucky/Blessed Ones.” He is survived by his daughters, Ann Loftin Robinson (Peter), Judith Loftin Hobbs (Walter), Martha Loftin Whitfield (Chip) and his son, William Earl Loftin Jr. (Nan); eight grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren, and many nieces and nephews.

The family wishes to thank Bill’s caregivers, Ida Vaughn and Pier Williams, for their loving service over the past four years, and the staff of Levine/Dickson Hospice House.

A celebration of Bill Loftin’s life will be held October 15, at 2 pm at St. Mark’s Episcopal Church, 258 West Franklin Boulevard Gastonia, NC. The family welcomes friends to honor Bill, October 14, 7-9 pm, 221 Altondale Avenue, Charlotte, NC.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests memorials be sent to Levine/Dickson Hospice House or “The Rotary Foundation” c/o The Rotary Club of Charlotte, 1850 East 3rd St., (Suite 220), Charlotte, NC 28204.

McLean Funeral Directors of Gastonia is serving the Loftin family.

Published in Charlotte Observer on Sept. 25, 2016