Category Archives: 1950s

Kenneth Lee Bumgarner ’56

Kenneth Lee Bumgarner, 82, passed away Monday, March 13, 2017, at Frye Medical Center in Hickory. He resided in Hickory at the time of his passing.

He was born Sept. 24, 1934, to the late Russell Lee and Catherine Smith Bumgarner, in Hickory.

He is survived by his loving wife of 64 years, Junine Tron Bumgarner; three children, Francis Keith Bumgarner and wife, Diane, Chris Tron Bumgarner and Leigh Ann Respess and husband, Mike.

He is also survived by 10 grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.

Kenneth was a long-time member of the Waldensian Presbyterian Church, where he served as an Elder and taught Sunday school for many years.

He was a member of the LPDA (LePhare des Alpes) in Valdese. He attended Valdese High School, Davidson College, earned a BA in History at Lenoir-Rhyne in 1958, and a Masters in Education at the University of North Carolina in 1965.

He began a teaching and coaching career in Shelby, and was head football coach at Boyden High School in Salisbury. He moved on to an extended career in pharmaceutical sales and sales management with Ortho Pharmaceutical, a division of Johnson & Johnson.

He later founded and ran several small businesses, culminating with Omnidex Products, Inc., where he was CEO for many years until the time of his passing. The graveside service will be held at 1:15 p.m., Saturday, March 18, at the Waldensian Presbyterian Church Cemetery.

A memorial service will follow at 2 p.m., Saturday, March 18, at the Waldensian Presbyterian Church. The family will receive friends at 3 p.m., in Pioneer Hall, also at the Waldensian Presbyterian Church.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the Valdese Waldensian Presbyterian Church Cemetery Fund, 109 Main St. E, Valdese, NC 28690, 828-874-2531.

Online condolences and memories may be left at www.heritagefuneralservices.com. Arrangements are made through Heritage Funeral Service of Valdese.

© Copyright 2017, The News Herald, Morganton, NC

Perry Earl Gragg ’50

Dr. Perry Earl Gragg (age 87) died Wednesday, March 1, 2017. A retired professor of English, he had been a resident of San Angelo since 1968.

Survivors include his wife, Marilyn; three children, Susan Gragg of Durham, NC, Alan and his wife Diana of Santa Fe, NM, Michael and his wife Suzie, and their daughter, Casey of Sugar Land, Texas.

Perry was born June 22, 1929, in San Antonio, Texas, the first of four sons of Perry E. Gragg Jr. and Lucile Pearce Gragg. Two of his brothers, Jess and Richard, both of San Antonio also survive him. His brother Robert precedes him in death. He grew up mainly in San Antonio.

He graduated from Harlandale High School in 1945 and received his B.A. degree from Davidson College in North Carolina in 1950. He received his Master’s degree in 1955 and a PhD in 1960 from the University of Texas in Austin.

He served in the Army from 1950 until 1952. He was a 1st Lieutenant and platoon leader in the 45th Infantry Division during the Korean War and was awarded a Silver Star for valor in combat during an attack on Pork Chop Hill in May of 1952.

He married Marilyn Langston of San Antonio in 1956 and they became the parents of three children. They lived in San Antonio where he was a professor of English, serving as head of the English Department at San Antonio Jr. College, from 1964 until 1968.

In 1968 he joined the faculty of San Angelo College, which later became Angelo State University, and taught there until his retirement in 1994. He was head of the English Department there from 1971 until his retirement.

He and Marilyn enjoyed traveling and over the years made some forty international trips to learn about the history and cultures of other societies. They visited every country in Europe, as well as Asian and African countries.

He was active in professional organizations during his teaching years, particularly the Conferences of College Teachers of English and the South-Central Modern Language Association.

A life-long Presbyterian, he grew up in the Harlandale Church, and after his marriage at the Northwood Church in San Antonio, and in San Angelo with St. Mark and lastly with Grace Presbyterian.

A memorial service will be held at 11 a.m. Monday, March 6, at Grace Presbyterian Chapel at First Christian Church, 29 N. Oak Street, San Angelo, TX 76903. Visitation for friends and relatives will be held Tuesday, March 7, from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. followed by a graveside service in Mission Park Funeral Chapels and Cemetery Dominion, 20900 IH 10 West, San Antonio, TX 78257.

Memorials may be sent to: Lucile Pearce Gragg Memorial Scholarship Office of Development ASU Station #11023 San Angelo, TX 76909 Presbyterian Mo-Ranch Assembly 2229 FM 1340 Hunt, TX 78024 San Angelo Museum of Fine Arts 1 Love Street San Angelo, TX 76903

Copyright: © 2017 Journal Media Group.

L. Hadley Hunt ’56

L. Hadley Hunt died on February 25, 2017, following surgery complications after a valiant medical fight over the last year.

Born September 10, 1934, he was son of the late Lynn Ross Hunt and Emma Ruth Hadley Hunt of Pleasant Garden, North Carolina. Hadley was a devoted husband, father, grandfather, brother and uncle.

He is survived by his wife, Dr. JoAnn Padley Hunt; a daughter, Joanna Hunt Whitehouse, her husband, the Rev. Dr. Robert Whitehouse, and their sons Ross and Peter Whitehouse of Vass, North Carolina; son Lynn Padley Hunt, Lynn’s wife Lisa Michele Hunt of Chesapeake, Virginia; and son Benjamin Hadley Hunt and his close friend Tom Heimdal of Chicago, Illinois; two sisters, Mary Charlotte Hunt Kornegay and Ruth Baker Hunt Jobe, and Ruth’s husband Randall E. Jobe, all of Pleasant Garden, North Carolina, as well as many treasured nieces, nephews and cousins of the Hunt/Ross/Hadley Clans.

He earned his B. S. in music from Davidson College in 1956, where his daughter later graduated and grandson Peter is presently a junior. He was immensely proud of this Davidson legacy.

He completed his master of sacred music degree at Union Seminary in New York City in 1958, studying with many eminent theologians and musicians, including Arthur Poister. His professional career encompassed sacred music and music education.

He was in the first class of ministers of music ordained by the Virginia Conference of the Methodist Church in the 60s, served as president of the National Association of Methodist Musicians for Virginia, later becoming dean of the American Guild of Organists in Lynchburg, Virginia.

As a church organist/choirmaster, he was distinguished by his improvisation skill. Beginning at age 16, he served two churches in North Carolina: Pleasant Garden United Methodist Church and Marion First United Methodist Church.

In Virginia, he served Huntington Court United Methodist Church in Roanoke, Fort Hill United Methodist Church, Peakland United Methodist Church, and, for nearly 33 years, Quaker Memorial Presbyterian Church, all in Lynchburg. Additionally, Hadley served as organist 35 years for High Holy Days services at Agudath Shalom Synagogue.

In the early 60s, he was the founding director of the Lynchburg Fine Arts Center Chorus, known for artistic performances of major choral works. This group later evolved into the Jefferson Choral Society and continues to thrive as a world-class choral organization.

He was appointed music director at the Central Virginia Training Center, where he developed an outstanding program for teaching intellectually disabled learners through music.

He and wife JoAnn, a professor at Lynchburg College, were awarded a Federal Developmental Disabilities Grant to facilitate teacher training programs, the first such collaborative effort between a state institution and a private college, dedicated to preparing teachers to use music with intellectually disabled persons.

They were featured as lecturers and clinicians both nationally and internationally, disseminating their techniques to other professionals in educational and medical fields. Hadley considered his creative work in this area as a Christian calling rather than a profession.

Following his retirement, he volunteered his musical skills in several nursing homes and retirement communities, organizing singing groups and bell choirs, and producing numerous musical programs.

In addition, he worked with the Stop Hunger Now Mission Program, helped with the Homeless Overnight Project, and contributed to the music ministry at Deep Creek United Methodist Church in Chesapeake, Virginia.

Most recently, he was the inaugural donor to the Anatomical Gift Program for the School of Health Sciences at Elon University in Elon, North Carolina, and so will continue to serve society even in death. Hadley was known for his wit, giving spirit, and family storytelling. He will be missed greatly.

A memorial service will be held at the First Presbyterian Church in Burlington, North Carolina on Friday, March 3, 2017 at one p.m.

In lieu of flowers, the family suggests contributions to the Davidson College L. Hadley Hunt Fund (address: Davidson College, Box 7170, Davidson, North Carolina 28035).

A reception will follow in the Gathering Place at the Village at Brookwood, 1860 Brookwood Avenue, Burlington, North Carolina.

© Copyright 2017, The News & Advance, Lynchburg, VA

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 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

 

Lane Cloaninger ’50

Lane Cloaninger, 89, passed away on Feb. 5, 2017, after a brief period of declining health, surrounded by his wife, Bobbie, and three children.

Lane derived the deepest joy from his family. He enjoyed a successful career in marketing. And he never missed the chance to share a laugh and a story, all the better if it was on the golf course with friends.

Lane was born on Jan. 6, 1928, in Charlotte, the second of Everette and Katherine Cloaninger’s two children. He graduated from Central High School and then Davidson College in 1950 with a business degree. He played football in both high school and college, and was an active member of Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity.

Lane enjoyed a 39-year career in textile marketing with the Celanese Corp., rising to the position of Marketing Director. His job took him to Atlanta, suburban New York City and finally to River Hills, S.C., outside Charlotte, where Lane and Bobbie spent 30 wonderful years before moving to Southminster in 2009. Lane loved life on the golf course in River Hills, then life among friends and activities at Southminster.

Lane is survived by his wife of 44 years, Bobbie; three children – Cathy Perry and her husband, Chris, of Durham, Lane Cloaninger III of Apex and Nina Cloaninger of Charlotte; his sister, Ruth Helton, of Winston-Salem; seven granddaughters – Emily, Beth, Katy, Clara, Anna, Shannon and Laura; six great-grandchildren – Kaylen, Gabe, Emily, Abby, Henry and Lucas; and several nieces and nephews.

He was preceded in death by his first wife, Clara Barnes, and Bobbie’s daughter, Marcia Gough.

A service to celebrate Lane’s life will be at 2 p.m. Friday, Feb. 17, at Southminster, 8919 Park Road.

Instead of flowers, a gift in Lane’s memory can be made to Southminster Community Fund, 8919 Park Road, Charlotte, N.C. 28210, or Hospice and Palliative Care, 1420 E. Seventh St., Charlotte, N.C. 28204. The family is deeply grateful for the love and care shown by the staff at the Southminster Embrace Health Care Unit, and the Hospice counselors.

Lane and Bobbie were members of Myers Park Baptist Church. When it came time to tell a joke at his Central High School reunion, Class of 1946, Lane was always ready with a quip. They enjoyed traveling the world together, family beach vacations to DeBordieu in South Carolina, and golf trips to Scotland and elsewhere with friends from River Hills Country Club at Lake Wylie, S.C. The Sweet Sixteens, they called themselves.

But Lane was just as content to take a walk with Bobbie or watch the trees sway from the balcony of their fourth-floor home at Southminster. Content and at peace.

J.B. Tallent Funeral Service is taking care of the family. Online condolences can be shared at www.tallentfuneralservice.com.

 
Published in Charlotte Observer on Feb. 14, 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

James “Jim” Comer Gaither, Sr. ’57

Dr. James (Jim) Comer Gaither, Sr., passed peacefully at his home in Newton, North Carolina, Sunday evening at 10:30 pm, January 15th, 2017. Dr. Gaither suffered from Leukemia and was taken home to our Lord after an extended battle with the illness.

Dr. Gaither loved the community where he was born, and he returned following medical school with his beloved wife Rachel to found his medical practice and raise a family.

Dr. Jim Gaither was born October 19th, 1934 in Newton, North Carolina, to Mrs. Allie Comer Gaither and William Cowles Gaither. Jim and Rachel Gaither were married on September 8, 1959 at the Davidson College Chapel.

Dr. Gaither attended Newton Conover High School and graduated in 1953. Jim went on to attend Davidson College where he majored in Biology and graduated in 1957. While attending Washington University Medical School in St. Louis Jim met the love of his life and his wife of 57 years, Rachel Cole.

Before returning to begin his practice as one of the youngest physicians at the newly constructed Catawba Memorial Hospital, Jim served in the United States Army where he was stationed overseas in Germany with his wife and young family.

Dr. Gaither opened his internal medicine practice with his friend and partner Dr. Arthur Lynn directly across the street from Catawba Memorial Hospital. After Gaither and Lynn were joined later by the late Dr. Edward Boone it was estimated that at one time the three physicians of Gaither, Lynn and Boone had over 20,000 Catawba County residents that called these physicians their doctor.

The medical practice of Gaither, Lynn and Boone continued to grow and eventually relocated under the name of Catawba Valley Internal Medicine. Dr. Jim Gaither admired and respected his colleagues and had the privilege of working with the fine men and women who make up one of the most respected medical communities anywhere.

Dr. Jim Gaither served on numerous boards and committees and was always available to serve the community he loved so much. He was a lifelong member of First Presbyterian Church of Newton. He shared a love of sports both as a participant and observer.

His humble and giving nature, his sharp wit and his enduring friendship and loyalty will be greatly missed by the many who knew and loved him.

Dr. Jim Gaither is survived by his loving wife, Rachel Gaither and by his brother and lifelong friend, Albert Gaither. Jim and Rachel Gaither had three children and eleven grandchildren.

Dr. Gaither is survived by his son, Cole Alexander Gaither and his wife, Anita McCaslin Gaither and their three children, Zachary Alexander Gaither, Jordan Rose Gaither and Benjamin Richard Gaither.

Jim and Rachel’s beloved grandson, Mathew Cole Gaither, preceded his grandfather in death in 2014. Dr. Gaither is also survived by his son, James Comer Gaither, Jr. and his wife Beth Proctor Gaither and their four children, Amelia Wyant Gaither, Andrew Proctor Gaither, William Worth Gaither and James Nicholas Gaither.

Dr. Gaither is survived by his daughter, Rachel Leigh Gaither Maier, and her husband, Major Karl Patrick Maier, U S Army and their three children, Patrick Kenneth Maier, Jacob Comer Maier, and Clancy Alexandra Maier.

A Memorial Service will be held on Saturday, January 21, 2017 at 11:00 a.m. at First Presbyterian Church in Newton. The Revs. Connie Button, Fred Thompson and Smith Sharpe will officiate. The family will receive friends following the service in the church fellowship hall.

The family will receive friends on Friday, January 20, 2017 from 4:00 to 7:00 p.m. at Willis-Reynolds Funeral Home.

Memorials may be made to First Presbyterian Church, 701 N. Main Avenue, Newton, NC or the charity of one’s choice in the name of Dr. James C. Gaither Sr.