Mitchell Mack ’42

Mitchell Mack '42Side Mitchell Mack passed away in the peace of his own home on December 4, 2017, two months after Dolores, his beloved wife of nearly 66 years. They are, no doubt, reunited in glory.

Born the son of Lebanese immigrants on January 16, 1921, he followed assiduously in the footsteps of his father and grandfather in devoting his life to family, faith and community. Mitchell and Dolores were extraordinary parents and role models to their 5 children, and loving grandparents to their 11 grandkids.

He and Dolores stressed the importance of establishing in them a solid foundation built on faith in God, love of family, personal responsibility and service to the community.

Despite his sometimes frenzied life juggling long hours in the family business and his numerous civic undertakings, family was always first. Mitchell lived a life of integrity which left an indelible print on his progeny.

He was a quiet man of action who led by example. After attending Mooresville public schools, he attended Davidson College and then went on to earn an MBA in Industrial Engineering from Harvard. During his career at Harvard, he was called to serve his country in WW II. Rather than accept a deferment, Mitchell chose to serve in the Navy, and as a Lieutenant was stationed in North and West Africa from 1943-1946. He continued to serve in the Naval Reserves until 1956.

After the war, possessing degrees from Davidson and Harvard, Mitchell could have accepted any number of positions anywhere in the country, but once again he chose to serve. This time it was the family that called. As the youngest of 4 children, Mitchell was asked by his father to return to Mooresville to help in the family department store, John Mack & Son, established by his father and grandfather in 1912.

From 1947 until 1993, Mitchell put his talent and intellect to work transforming and growing the family business.

Back in Mooresville, Mitchell lost no time becoming deeply involved in the civic, charitable and religious fabric of his hometown. He was, simply put, an outstanding citizen. He joined, and eventually led, the Rotary Club, serving in virtually every capacity on his way to perfect weekly attendance for over 65 years and becoming a Paul Harris Fellow.

He resumed his active involvement in Boy Scouts, from which he had earned his Eagle award at age 15, by becoming a Scoutmaster, District Chairman, Piedmont Council Executive Board member and Silver Beaver award recipient. He would accumulate over 70 years of continuous involvement in Scouting.

As a member of the First Presbyterian Church he faithfully served as Deacon, Sunday school teacher and Elder, as well as in the choir for more than 70 years.

His capacity for and love of service was nearly limitless. He served as President of the local Chamber of Commerce, United Fund, Merchant’s Association and Jaycees. He also served in various leadership roles with Lowrance Hospital, Piedmont Bank, YMCA, the Downtown Commission and too many other organizations to mention. Upon closing the family business in 1993 after 84 years of operation in downtown Mooresville, Mitchell served several terms on the Mooresville Town Board, including as Mayor Pro Tem.

He has been recognized widely for his contributions to the community. Among other acknowledgments, in 1986, he was presented the Outstanding Citizen Award by the Chamber of Commerce; and in 2005 he was awarded the Order of the Long Leaf Pine, the state’s highest honor for exemplary service and exceptional accomplishment.

S. Mitchell Mack truly lived a life of meaning, consequence and purpose, and unquestionably left the world a better place than he found it. God blessed him with many gifts, and Mitchell used them to the fullest to better himself, his children and his community. Perhaps his greatest accomplishment was the very way he lived his life and the standard he set for all to see.

He is survived by five children: Side Mitchell Mack, Jr. of Greensboro NC, Ronald (Kathryn) Mack of Greensboro NC, Denise (Skip) Vallee of Shelburne VT, Yvonne (Maurice Williams) of Blowing Rock NC, Jeffrey (Anya) Mack of Charlotte NC and eleven wonderful grandchildren.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be held at St. Therese Catholic Church in Mooresville on Saturday December 9, 2017 at 11:00 AM. Interment will immediately follow at Willow Valley Cemetery. The family will receive friends at Cavin Cook Funeral Home on Friday December 8, from 5:00-8:00 PM.

The family wishes to extend their sincere gratitude to the caregivers of Home Instead, Bayada, numerous private caregivers and Hospice of Iredell County, and to give special thanks to Patty Martin and Ashlee Vineyard. Their wonderful care kept Mitchell comfortable in his final years at home.

Memorials may be sent to The Boy Scouts of America, Piedmont Council or The Rotary Foundation c/o The Mooresville Rotary Club or Hospice & Palliative Care of Iredell County.

Cavin-Cook Funeral Home & Crematory, Mooresville, is serving the Mack family. Condolences may be made to the family at www.cavin-cook.com.

Published in Charlotte Observer on Dec. 6, 2017

Archibald Taylor, Jr. ’42

Archibald Taylor '42Archibald Taylor, Jr. died on August 14, 2017 at age 96.

He was a graduate of Davidson College, from which he also received an honorary Doctor of Laws degree. He was ordained as a minister after graduating from Louisville Presbyterian Seminary, and served as a missionary to Japan from 1950 to 1986. As part of his mission service, he was president of Shikoku Christian College in Zentsuji, Japan, from 1978 to 1982, and Adjunct Professor of World Mission at Louisville Presbyterian Seminary from 1983 to 1984.

After retiring from the mission field, Mr. Taylor lived in Louisville, where he was an outspoken and dedicated activist in the causes of peace and justice. He is the author of Pearl Harbor, Hiroshima, and Beyond (2005), God for All (2013), and A Goodly Heritage (2014).

Mr. Taylor married Margaret Ruth Hopper of Louisville in 1944, and she served with him as a missionary in Japan until her death in 1984. He married Grace Wanda Myers of Louisville in 1990, who was his wife until her death in 2006.

Mr. Taylor is survived by three sons from his first marriage: William, John, and Samuel, and by five grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.

There will be a memorial service for Mr. Taylor on October 28 at 3 p.m. at the Caldwell Chapel of Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary, 1044 Alta Vista Road.

Published in The Courier-Journal on Aug. 27, 2017

James Hampton Black, Sr. ’42

James Hampton Black, Sr. '42James 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.

Ellington Funeral Services, 727 E. Morehead St., Charlotte, NC. Family owned since 1944.

Published in Charlotte Observer from May 6 to May 14, 2017.

Lawrence H. “Lonnie” Miller, Jr. ’42

Lawrence H. "Lonnie" Miller, Jr. '42 Lawrence H. “Lonnie” Miller, Jr., passed away peacefully Thursday evening, March 16, 2017, of natural causes

He was born December 8, 1921, the son of the late Maria B. and Lawrence H. Miller Sr.

He is survived by his wife of 67 years, Josephine “Jo” P. Miller; sons Lawrence H. Miller III (Rankin), David B. Miller (Mary Ty), a daughter Pat M. Baker (David), and four grandchildren: Joanna Miller, Sarah Miller, Brunson Miller, and Tyson Miller.

In addition to his parents, he was predeceased by a sister, M. Jean Miller, and a grandson, Lawton T. Miller.

Mr. Miller was educated in Florence. After attending The Citadel he graduated from Davidson College in 1942.

He joined the U.S. Army, achieving the rank of 2nd Lieutenant, and was a veteran of World War II. He met and married his wife Jo in 1950. He was a member of Central United Methodist Church.

Mr. Miller was the owner and proprietor of Miller’s Bootery from 1945 until his retirement in 1992. Mr. Miller was highly respected and warmly spoken of in the shoe industry. His keen eye for fashion, and an amazing facility for total recall was much admired by many, along with his wit and gentle manner.

He was kind and benevolent with all who knew and worked with him, and was appreciated for providing fashion conscious women of the Pee Dee area with quality footwear and apparel for many decades.

Among his greatest joys was following and attending the ballet performances of daughter Patricia Miller, along with a life-long love of classical music and opera.

Mr. Miller was active in sports, but was perhaps best known as one of the early aficionados of Half Rubber a modified version of pickup baseball played mostly on the beaches of the Carolinas.

His love of the beach went all the way back to the early 50’s, when he purchased a vacation home in Garden City Beach to enjoy with his family. It was here, through the decades, that Mr. Miller was happiest, when, as “Project Manager,” he doled out assorted tasks for all his children and friends, keeping everyone active and involved.

In his later years, Mr. Miller stayed in excellent health via his vigorous indulgence in gardening and yardwork, typified by day long sessions of clipping and watering, thus serving to provide a therapeutic outlet all the way to the ripe old age of 95.

A funeral service will be held in the chapel of Waters-Powell Funeral Home at 3:00 p.m., Sunday, March 19, 2017, with an open visitation time with the family immediately following.

© Copyright 2017, Morning News, Florence, SC

Richard Davis Thomas ’42

Richard Davis Thomas died August 15, 2016, in Tallahassee. He was born October 13, 1920, in Tampa, FL, to Walter Wynn and Nina Anderson Thomas.

A graduate of Davidson College and Union Theological Seminary (now Union Presbyterian Seminary), he served as a flight instructor in the U.S. Naval Corps during World War II. Later, he began his career as a pastor at Moscow Presbyterian Church in Kansas City, MO and then served Presbyterian churches in Wynne, AK; Tallahassee, FL; Kingsport, TN, and New Port Richey, FL.

Of particular note was his time at First Presbyterian Church in Tallahassee, where he served as pastor from 1956-1968 and led numerous activities related to desegregation. He retired to Tallahassee in 1985 and attended First Presbyterian until the time of his death. Davis was an avid fisherman, card player, and St. Louis Cardinals baseball fan.

He is survived by his wife of 68 years Virginia Coffin Thomas; sister Nina Thomas Paxton; five children Nancy Andrews (John), Ann Knox (Bob), Martha Gordon (Lyn), Dave Thomas, and Mark Thomas (Sheila); 11 grandchildren; and 8 great-grandchildren. He is preceded in death by his parents, two older siblings, and two grandchildren.

A Service of Witness to the Resurrection will be held at First Presbyterian Church on Saturday, August 20, at 11:00am. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to First Presbyterian Church or Union Presbyterian Seminary, 3401 Brook Road, Richmond, VA 23227.

Published in Tallahassee Democrat on Aug. 17, 2016