Hugh “Woody” Leach ’51

Hugh "Woody" Leach '51Hugh Underwood “Woody” Leach, 88, of Blacksburg, died Thursday, June 22, 2017, at his home.

He was born December 21, 1928 in Donalsonville, Ga., son of the Reverend Coleaton Underwood Leach and Lois Baker Leach.

He married Nancy Phillips on March 28, 1953. A noted community activist and Presbyterian minister, Woody grew up in DeFuniak Springs, Fla.

His undergraduate education was at Davidson College where he was active in ROTC and attended on a football scholarship majoring in history and graduating in 1951. Woody then served in the United States Artillery Army including two years in Germany from 1953 to 1955.

He earned his Masters of Divinity from Union Theological Seminary in Richmond, Va. in 1958. Woody had a burning passion for social justice that was re-enforced by an association with the Rev. William Sloane Coffin during his sabbatical and Masters of Ethics at Yale in 1963-64.

In 1958 Woody began his 35 years of ministry in Blacksburg. He initially served under the Presbyterian Campus Christian Life Committee of Virginia. In 1964 the Presbyterian Westminster Fellowship merged with students of the Disciples of Christ Church. In the 1960s the program was very active as a crisis center to meet student needs.

In 1970 the ministry moved to 305 Washington Street and became known as Cooper House Presbyterian Campus Ministry. Woody was involved in the 1965 Prince Edward County, Virginia literacy project “Operation Catch Up” for African American school children victimized by Virginia’s massive resistance to racial integration. The project enrolled 520 children, with 37 teaching and administering the program.

He served one term on Blacksburg’s Town Council from 1978 to 1982 and was instrumental in the 1989 formation of the San Jose de Bocay, Nicaragua official sister city relationship with Blacksburg. He made many visits with other Blacksburg volunteers and Virginia Tech students to improve their local schools and increase safety through the building of fuel-efficient stoves for town residents.

His advanced professional education continued during summer sabbaticals: one at San Francisco Theological Seminary in San Anselmo, Calif. and another on a Danforth Scholarship at the Pacific School of Religion in Berkeley, Calif.

His special interests included enjoying conversations with friends and playing tennis. He was preceded in death by his adult son, Christopher “Chris” Underwood Leach, of California; his granddaughter, Ashley Dowdy, of Christiansburg, Va.; and sister, Martha O’Neal Leach.

He is survived by his wife of 64 years, Nancy Phillips Leach; two daughters, Sheri Leach of Christiansburg, Va. and Susie Borenstein of Alexandria, Va.; and four grandchildren, Josh Dowdy, Zachary Borenstein, Elyse Borenstein and Leah Borenstein. He is survived by two brothers, Neil Calvin Leach and wife, D’Etta of Asheville, N.C. and Dan Blanchard Leach and wife, Genevieve of Greensboro, N.C.; and many nieces and nephews.

A memorial service will be held at 2 p.m., Monday, July 10, 2017 at Blacksburg Presbyterian Church with the Rev. Charles Taylor of Blacksburg officiating and the Rev. Jim VandeBerg of St. Augustine, Fla. and Woody’s brother, Neil Leach of Asheville, N.C. assisting. Private inurnment of cremains with the family only will be held at a later date at Memorial Gardens of the New River Valley in Blacksburg.

 

In lieu of flowers, the family requests that memorials be made to: UKirk at Virginia Tech (formerly known as Cooper House Presbyterian Campus Ministry) 305 Washington Street, Blacksburg, VA 24060; or Blacksburg Presbyterian Church 701 Church Street SE Blacksburg, VA 24060 or Sojourn Center (hospice house project for the New River Valley, sojourncenter.org), P.O. Box 295, Blacksburg, VA 24063. Arrangements by McCoy Funeral Home, 150 Country Club Drive, SW, Blacksburg VA, 540-552-3211.

 

James T. Toney ’51

James ToneyMr. James Thomas Toney, 86, of Burlington, passed away at his residence on Sunday, March 6, 2016.

A native of Union, SC, Jim grew up in Henrietta, NC. He was the husband of Nancy H. Toney, who survives of the home, and son of the late Henry Miller Toney and Florence Campbell Toney. Jim retired after 31 years as Associate Professor of Economics at Elon University. He formerly taught 6 years at Wingate College. He was a U.S. Army veteran of the Korean Conflict, a member of the VFW of Gibsonville, a founding member of the Olde Forest Racquet Club, and also served as a volunteer coach with Willie Williamson to introduce tennis to middle school students, beginning with Broadview Middle School.

Other than his wife Nancy, Jim is survived by his brother-in-law, Bob Howell (June); and his daughters, Suellen McCauley (Vince) and Nancy Wilkinson (Chance) and their families; several cousins in and around the Union and Columbia, SC area and a special friend, Chai Novenwongse of Nashville, TN.

Joe Gentle Sink, Jr. ’51

Joe Gentle Sink, Jr. '51Joe Gentle Sink Jr., 87, passed away peacefully at home Thursday, Nov. 3, following an illness of several months.

Joe was born July 12, 1929, in Mooresville. He was the son of the late Joe G. Sink and Georgia Nance Sink.

He married Dolores Eisele Oct. 12, 1963, and they celebrated their 53rd wedding anniversary a few weeks ago.

Joe is survived by a loving family, including his wife, Dolores; son, David and wife, Beth, along with their daughters, Corinne and Rose; daughter, Linda and husband, Sander Smith, along with their children, Alex, Graham, and Emma.

He is also survived by his sister, June Sink Rummage and her husband, Wayne; as well as his brother, Henry Sink and his wife, Lou.

Numerous nieces and nephews will remember their uncle Joe with funny stories and fond memories. Joe is predeceased by his beloved nephew, Richard Sink.

Joe was a 1947 graduate of Mooresville High School and a 1951 graduate of Davidson College, where he majored in math and business and played many hands of bridge.

Joe was honored to serve 22 years in the U.S. Air Force. He enlisted following college graduation in July 1951. He completed basic training at Lackland Air Force Base in Texas, then entered the 2-month Aviation Cadet Navigator program in Jan., 1952 at Ellington AFB in Texas.

He received his wings and commission as a Second Lieutenant in Jan., 1953, followed by B-29 Command Crew Training at Randolph AFB, Texas.

The next assignment was Walker AFB, New Mexico as a KB-29 crew member in the 509th Air Refueling Squadron; upgrade to the KC-97G aircraft occurred in 1954. Joe remained in the 509th until 1958 when he was assigned to KC-135 school. He served as a KC-135 navigator for 5 years.

His military career also included 9 months as a student at the Air Command and Staff College, many staff assignments at Bomb Wing level in the Strategic Air Command, 12 months in Vietnam, and a two-year assignment as an operations officer at the Alternate National Military Command Center with primary duty at an underground facility.

Joe retired in the fall of 1973 as a Master Navigator with the rank of Lieutenant Colonel. After retiring from the Air Force, Joe was privileged to work in an interesting and challenging job as a computer programmer for Duke Power Company in Charlotte until his retirement in October 1986.

Joe was a lifelong Lutheran and a member of Holy Trinity Lutheran Church in Troutman, NC.

He requested that anyone wishing to celebrate his life do so by making a donation to the charity of their choice.

The family thanks all who have offered prayers, support, meals, and love during Joe’s illness.

They also thank the wonderful people from Hospice of Iredell County who made it possible for Joe to spend his last eight weeks at home.

A Celebration of Life will be held at 2 p.m., Sunday, Nov. 6, at Holy Trinity Lutheran Church, Troutman.

The family will receive friends immediately following the service. Cavin-Cook Funeral Home, Mooresville, is serving the Sink family. Condolences may be made to the family at www.cavin-cook.com.

© Copyright 2016, Mooresville Tribune, Mooresville, NC

Richard Brevard Russell III ’51

Richard Brevard Russell III, entered this world on January 31, 1930, as the third child of Robert Lee Russell, Sr. and Sybil Nannette Millsaps Russell. He left this world on October 20, 2016, shortly after 5:00PM, or “cocktail hour”, as he would have said.

Richard was a caregiver to many people throughout his life. His interest in others and their well being was a driving force in his life. He was a passionate man whose faith in God, as well as his love and devotion to family and friends was of upmost importance.

Surviving siblings include Betty Russell Vandiver (Ernie, pre-deceased), Betty Ann Russell (sister in law) and Ina Russell Ingram (Jim, pre-deceased) Richard was preceded in death by his brother, the Hon. Robert Lee Russell, Jr.

Richard’s greatest pride and joy was his wife of 65 years, Nancy Patricia Randolph Russell (Pat). Ever the social butterfly, perfect hostess and homemaker, Richard said that she “made him look good”.

Being her primary caregiver for many years as her memory slowly faded from him, Richard continued to be the love and romantic for Pat as she struggled. When he could no longer care for her at home, he visited her regularly, at her facility, where she still resides.

He is survived by four children, nine grandchildren, and 10 great grandchildren, with #11 due in January. His extended clan of cousins, nieces and nephews and their families made his life even more complete.

His children are Vickie Russell Smith (Mike), Bethlehem Ga, Tandy Russell Green (Craig), Jacksonville Fl, Nannette Russell Kallestad (Eric) Winder Ga and Kitty Hawk NC, and Richard Brevard Russell, Jr. , Winder Ga. His grandchildren are Justin Hall (Brigit) Caren Pulliam, Jennifer Curell (Craig), Robert Green (Becca), Emily Wells (Mark), Cedric Jernigan III (Amy), Baxter Russell, Mollie Russell, and Emory Russell.

Richard attended Darlington School in Rome Ga, where he developed friendships that he upheld with devotion throughout his life. He graduated and went to work for the summer helping to construct the Alaskan railroad.

Upon return, he attended Davidson College, The University of Georgia and graduated from The School of Law at UGA with a Juris Doctor Degree. He practiced law in Winder, Georgia, served as Superior Court Judge for the Piedmont Judicial Circuit, and entered into private practice in the 1960’s with the Hon. T. Penn McWhorter, which was the beginning of a long and fulfilling personal and professional relationship, with Judge McWhorter.

The firm ultimately expanded over the years to include other prominent attorneys, including his son and namesake, Richard B Russell Jr.

He served in the Georgia Army National Guard as Commander of Winder Infantry Company and was honored to do so, maintaining relationships with local guardsmen he had the honor to serve with. Richard was graced with his heritage and legacy of being the namesake of the late Senator Richard Brevard Russell, Jr.

He was the epitome of a gracious Southern gentleman who behind the scenes, managed many of the needs and requirements of the Senator’s local personal life and later his estate, their very large family, the family home, and Russell Family cemetery.

Richard assisted with establishing the Russell Family Cemetery Trust which is the catalyst that is used today to honor Sen. Russell’s request that the home, grounds, and cemetery be used for family use and reunions for many years to come.

Richard spent a lifetime of Sundays at First Presbyterian Church in Winder where he and Pat would sit together with other family on the exact same row each visit to worship.

Richard engaged in community service and political endeavors, serving as both Barrow County Attorney and Barrow County School Board Attorney, as well as providing legal counsel to corporate presidents and industries, and local farmers and the agricultural community he so loved.

He stood up for his beliefs and causes and staunchly defended them, when needed. His stern appearance was somewhat intimidating and he was a force to be reckoned with to those who were in disagreement with him.

When not practicing law, Richard enjoyed working on his land and managing his herd of cattle. He could change from business suit to coveralls in record time. He enjoyed freshwater fishing, hunting, and driving his “Jeep” on trails in the woods, often including his children and grandchildren.

Richard and Pat also valued their time and friendships in Islamorada, Florida, where they maintained a second home for over 30 years.

Richard was happiest during those years, on his boat with his fishing buddies, Dr. John Castronuova, Sal Tucci and others, as he mastered their saltwater fishing techniques.

Richard was a man of “lists”. A legal pad and ink pen were a requirement for his vehicle, office, and bedside table. So much in fact, that we considered writing his obituary in bullet points. He would have liked that.

Richard’s memorial service will be held at the First Presbyterian Church in Winder, Ga on Saturday November 5, 2016. Visitation will be 1-3PM at the church, with coffee and dessert. The service begins at 3:00PM. Richard requested cremation with a private burial at a later date.

In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to the First Presbyterian Church in Winder, Ga or to Eagles Ranch Children’s Home in Chestnut Ridge, Ga. Smith Memory Chapel in Winder, GA is in charge of arrangements. www.smithmemorychapel.com.

Copyright (c) 2016 The Atlanta Journal and the Atlanta Constitution

John Coleman Thompson ’51

John Coleman Thompson, 86, died Saturday, September 24, 2016, at Conway Manor after a short illness.

He was born June 27, 1930, in Mullins, South Carolina, a son of the late Donna Coleman and Frank Austin Thompson.

John graduated from Conway High School in 1947. Four years later he received an A.B. Degree from Davidson College. From June, 1951 through June, 1954, he served on active duty with the U.S. Army  Counter Intelligence Corps after which he entered the University of South Carolina Law School in September, 1954, graduating with an L.L.B. Degree in September, 1956.

Mr. Thompson Married Barbara Richardson in July, 1957, and they resided in Conway until his death. From 1956 until 1998 he practiced law in Conway organizing the Thompson and Henry Law Firm which maintains an office in Conway.

During this time, he was a member of the Horry South Carolina Bar, and American Bar Association and was President of the Horry County Bar Association.

Among his many public and civic duties, he served as a member of the House of Representatives of the South Carolina Legislature from 1961 through 1963.

Also, he was a member of the Board of Directors of the South Carolina Public Service Authority from 1968 through 1976, serving as chairman in 1975 and 1976.

He also served as a director of the former Peoples National Bank, and the Conway National Bank. He was a charter Member of Trinity United Methodist Church.

He is survived by his wife Barbara of 59 years, his sister-in-law, Frankie Hughes and her husband Jay; his nephew Phil Thompson and his wife Pat; Frank Edwards and his wife Vicky Edwards, and Richard Edwards.

He was preceded in death by his sisters, Carolyn T. Edwards, Sara T. Finlayson and a brother Philip A. Thompson.

Memorial Services will be held 11:00 A.M. Monday, September 26, 2016 at Goldfinch Funeral Home, Conway Chapel with Reverend Reginald Thackston and Reverend Murray Gibbons officiating.

The family will receive friends from 2:00 – 3:00 PM. Sunday at the Funeral Home.

Memorials may be sent to the Horry County Memorial Library, 801 Main Street, Conway, South Carolina 29526, or to a charity of one’s choice. Goldfinch Funeral Home Conway Chapel is serving the family.

Published in The Sun News on Sept. 25, 2016