Edward Nisbet Maxwell, Sr. ’41

Edward 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

Herbert Meza ’49

Rev. Dr. Herbert Meza, 94, joined the Church Triumphant on Thursday, February 9, 2017.  After more than 50 years in the ministry of the Presbyterian Church (USA), he will be an excellent addition to that heavenly congregation.

Herb was born in Ybor City, Tampa, Florida, on October 26, 1922, the son of a Spanish father and a Cuban mother. He became a Christian under the tutelage of the Ybor City Mission, headed by Dr. Walter Passigllia, a ministry of the St. Johns Presbyterian Church.

He joined the Marine Corp at 17 years of age, with the consent of his mother, served in the Pacific in WW ll, receiving two Purple Hearts. He made a commitment to seeking peace after hand to hand combat with a Japanese soldier and remained dedicated to that pursuit throughout his life.

After the war, he attended Davidson College and Union Theological Seminary under the GI bill. He served as a missionary to Portugal for five years, returned to the states, and served churches in Texas, Washington, DC, then to Jacksonville to the Fort Caroline Presbyterian Church in 1980.

While serving as a pastor in Houston, TX, in 1960, he invited and chaired a meeting of the Houston Ministerial Association for Sen. John F. Kennedy to allay fears about a Catholic president. It was consequential in Kennedy’s election.

In 1983, Herb won the Presbyterian Peace Seeker Award, which resulted in an audience with Pope John Paul ll to discuss the possibility of USA/USSR communications during the Cold War.

After retiring in 1991, he served as interim pastor in nine various churches until 1999. One of Herb’s enduring qualities was his love of travel and adventure. His wife, Franzle, often said that he was on an adventure or planning one! Herb and Fran traveled to about 70 countries and islands in their 34 years of marriage. Herb peacefully embarked on his great final adventure with eager anticipation.

Herb is preceded in death by his mother and father, Michael and Dulce; and his brother Ed.

He is survived by his wife, Fran; son, Scott Meza(Anny); grandchildren, Jenna and Zach; son, Mark Meza (Kathryn); grandsons, Daniel and Benjamin; son, Chris Meza; and daughter, Cecelia Meza; step-daughter, Karen Parker (Rusty); grandson, Jeff Parker; granddaughter, Jordan Flanagan (Ethan); great grandchildren, Lottie and Luke Flanagan; stepson, Kenneth Collier (Caroline); granddaughter, Amanda Moseley (Ryan); and grandson, Robb Collier.

The family would like to thank our primary doctor, Dr. Jose Garmendia, and Community Hospice for all their dedicated care.

A Service of Witness to the Resurrection will be held at Geneva Presbyterian, 1755 State Road 13, St. Johns, FL 32259 on Wednesday, February 15 at 11 AM.A reception will follow in the Fellowship Hall.

In lieu of flowers please make a contribution to a charity of one’s choice . Arrangements are under the care and direction of Hardage-Giddens Funeral Home of Mandarin, 11801 San Jose Blvd. Jacksonville, FL 32223, www.hgmandarin.com, 904-288-0025.

Published in the Florida Times-Union on Feb. 12, 2017

Claudia Watkins Belk

Claudia Erwin Watkins Belk, retired district court judge and wife of the late Charlotte Mayor and business leader John M. Belk, died February 8, 2017 at Sharon Towers in Charlotte.

Claudia was a loving and devoted daughter, wife, aunt, mother and grandmother with a strong and caring spirit who made a positive difference in her family and community through her many extraordinary endeavors and achievements. She enjoyed life to the fullest and brought much happiness to her family and wide circle of friends.

Claudia was born on July 10, 1937 in Durham, NC, daughter of the late Claudia Powe Watkins and Warren Byers Watkins, who was a tobacco wholesaler. Following graduation from Durham High School, she earned a Bachelor’s degree in sociology from Hollins College (now Hollins University) in Roanoke, VA, and was one of only two women to receive her Juris Doctor degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1963.

Claudia moved to Charlotte immediately after law school and became a trailblazer for women in the legal profession. She established her own private law practice and served for three years as assistant clerk of Mecklenburg County Superior Court before her election in 1968 to a four-year term as district court judge for the 26th Judicial District.

Claudia’s life was changed forever when she met John Belk in 1968 at a reception hosted by the Democratic Women in Charlotte, just before John began his first campaign to become Mayor of Charlotte. The two fell in love (John often referred to her as his “Sweet ole girl”) and the two “hizzoners” were married February 20, 1971 at St. Phillip’s Episcopal Church in Durham, NC. The headline of a tongue-in-cheek local newspaper article read, “John Belk Gets Life Sentence” with a summons from his wife-to-be “committing him to the institution of matrimony for the rest of his natural life.”

In the years ahead, Claudia and John became one of Charlotte’s most respected and influential couples, and Claudia was dedicated to supporting John in his role as Mayor and as top executive of the Belk department store organization, which he led for more than 50 years and which became the nation’s largest privately owned department store companies, and one of the most successful of its type.

Claudia was also dedicated to her home and family, nurturing their daughter Mary Claudia “MC” Belk Pilon through her formative years, and enjoying hobbies that included needlepoint, cooking and growing roses. She was also committed to making her community a better place.

Claudia served on the board of directors of the John M. Belk Endowment, the Novant Health Foundation Presbyterian Medical Center, the NC Zoo Society, The Belk Foundation and on the boards of trustees of Hollins University, Queens University and Charlotte Country Day School.

In 2007, Hollins University established the Claudia Watkins Belk International Scholars Endowment in her honor and through her efforts the John M. Belk Educational Endowment made a major donation to the school’s “Campaign for Women Who Are Going Places” fundraising campaign. In 2014, the John M. Belk family gave a gift to Novant Health Foundation Presbyterian Medical Center to support the construction of the John M. and Claudia W. Belk Heart and Vascular Institute.

Claudia also provided support and leadership to numerous other charitable and community organizations, including the Central Piedmont Community College Foundation, the Alexander Children’s Center, the North Carolina Nature Conservancy, the Duke Mansion, the Arts and Writing Foundation, United Family Services and the Daughters of the American Revolution.

In 2000, Central Piedmont Community College dedicated its public safety division building in Huntersville as the “Claudia Watkins Belk Center for Justice.” Early in her law career, she was honored as one of Charlotte’s Outstanding Career Women in the field of law and government and as one of the nation’s Outstanding Young Career Women.

She is survived by a daughter, Mary Claudia “MC” Belk Pilon, and her husband Jeffrey Neal Pilon; three grandchildren, James Montgomery Pilon, John Michael Pilon and Katherine Belk Pilon; sisters-in-law, Mary Helen Watkins, Sarah Belk Gambrell and Katherine Belk Cook; brother-in-law, Irwin Belk; Watkins nieces and nephews, Mary Elfreth Watkins, Susan Watkins and F.H. Ahlborn, Suzy and Warren Watkins, III and Palmer Shelburne Watkins; and Belk nieces and nephews, Katie and Walker Morris, Sarah and Tim Belk, Nina and McKay Belk, Kim and Johnny Belk, Sally Belk Gambrell, Donna and Tommy Belk, Cecelia and Paul Belk, Connie Belk, Pam and Jay Belk, Mary Belk and John Melton, Margaret and Paul Tierney, Georgia and Bill Belk, Irene and Dean Miltimore, Marilyn and Edward Wallis, Beth and Carl Belk, and Diane and Henry Belk.

Claudia was predeceased by her husband, John M. Belk; her parents; and two brothers, Warren Byers Watkins, Jr. and Edward Powe Watkins.

Claudia was a devoted member and elder at Myers Park Presbyterian Church, 2501 Oxford Place in Charlotte, where a funeral service and celebration of her life will be held Saturday, February 11, 2017 at 10 a.m. The family will greet friends following in Oxford Hall. Burial will be private.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests that memorial donations be made to the HopeWay Foundation, 1717 Sharon Road West, Charlotte, NC 28210. The funeral arrangements are being handled by Harry & Bryant.

Published in Charlotte Observer from Feb. 9 to Feb. 11, 2017




Merrill Lee Gattis ’46

Mr. Gattis, 92, died February 8, 2017, at home after a brief illness. He was a second generation Charlotte native, born November 3, 1924, the younger son of Minnie Smith Gattis and Louie S. Gattis

He was a graduate of Central High School and attended Davidson College. Merrill was an accomplished musician, and while a student at Central, he was invited to play violin with the Charlotte Symphony Orchestra

Mr. Gattis was never happier than when he was in, on or near the water. He enlisted in the U.S. Navy and served on the USS Artemis in the South Pacific during World War II.

He started one of Charlotte’s only Sea Scout troops while a member of Mouzon Methodist Church. A competitive sailor, Merrill belonged to the Lake Norman Yacht Club (Highlander class) and the South Carolina Yacht Club in Hilton Head Island, S.C.

He enjoyed skippering chartered boats in the Caribbean and river barges in England and France. Mr. Gattis was a member of Myers Park United Methodist Church. He served on the board of the Metrolina Association for the Blind and was a dedicated literacy volunteer at the YMCA.

In 1950, Mr. Gattis began a distinguished career in retail furniture at the helm of Colony Furniture & Interiors. Under his leadership for six decades, Colony was known for fine home furnishings and decor throughout the Southeast.

At the store’s closing in 2015, loyal customers traveled from D.C., Florida, Virginia, and North and South Carolina to offer well wishes (and shed a few tears) for the loss of the iconic Charlotte retailer.

Mr. Gattis is survived by his wife, Gail H. Maynard Gattis; his daughter, Linda Gattis Shull (Graeme); and his son, Merrill Lee Gattis, Jr., all of Charlotte. In addition to his parents, Mr. Gattis was predeceased by his brother, Louie S. Gattis, Jr., and his wife, Franklyn Love Gattis.

A memorial service will be held at 2:00 p.m. on Tuesday, February 14, 2017 at Myers Park United Methodist Church.

The family will receive friends from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. on Monday, February 13, 2017 at Harry & Bryant, 500 Providence Rd., Charlotte. Interment will be private.

The family thanks especially Dr. Reza Nazemzadeh, Hospice & Palliative Care of Charlotte, and Compassionate Care of Charlotte for their kindness and care of Mr. Gattis.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to Hospice & Palliative Care of Charlotte or Myers Park United Methodist Church. Condolences may be offered at www.HarryandBryantFuneralHome.com.

Copyright (c) 2017 The Charlotte Observer

William “Bill” Taylor Simpson, Jr. ’48

Simpson, William Taylor “Bill” Jr., died peacefully with his family at his bedside on February 6, 2017.

Bill was born in Newnan, Georgia in 1927, and grew up in Rock Hill, South Carolina. He enrolled at Davidson College at age 15, and was on the basketball, baseball, tennis, and track teams. Bill left college to serve in the Navy during  World War II and returned to graduate in 1948.

After graduation Bill moved to Louisville to teach at Kentucky Military Institute (KMI) for a two-year contract, and never left. He married Diane Dixon Richmond, the daughter of the president of KMI, Col. Charles Blair Richmond, in 1952. He coached the KMI basketball team for 25 years in the highly competitive central Florida Gulf coast area.

Bill completed his master’s degree in educational administration at the University of Louisville in 1954, and received a Ph.D. in administration and management of behavioral sciences from the University of Kentucky in 1964. Bill became president of KMI in 1966, and held that position until the school closed ten years later.

He began a second career in 1976 as a trust officer at Citizens Fidelity Bank, where he was senior vice president and head of the Trust and Investments Department from 1979 until his retirement in 1992.

After retirement Bill served as a private banking consultant to PNC, and was on the Board of Directors of the Rembrandt Fund, a Chicago mutual fund company, for ten years.

Bill served on the boards of directors of the Louisville Community Foundation (Executive Committee and Chair of Grants Committee), American Red Cross Louisville Chapter (Chairman of Board of Directors), Bingham Child Guidance Center (President of Board of Directors), Greater Louisville Fund for the Arts, the Kentucky Home Council of the Boy Scouts of America, the Association of Military Colleges and Schools of the United States (President), the Southern Association of Schools and Colleges (Chair Kentucky Accreditation Committee), the Kentucky Country Day School, and St. Francis School.

He was a member of the Louisville Country Club, the downtown Rotary Club of Louisville, and the downtown YMCA. Bill served on the Vestry at St. Francis Church, where he was Senior Warden, and later joined St. Matthews Episcopal Church.

Bill was predeceased by his sister Rebecca, his brother David, and his wife Diane.

He is survived by his three sons, Kennedy (Sara), Richmond (Susan), and Taylor (Melinda); his eight grandchildren Tierney Jutzi (Joe), Storey O’Barr (David), Blair Bell (Dustin), Will Simpson, Palmer Simpson, Maclin Simpson, Ryan Simpson and Darcy Simpson; and his two great-grandchildren Emery and Grayson O’Barr.

Bill was an avid golfer and bridge player, and a diehard fan of the Cincinnati Reds and UK basketball. His joy in life was his grandchildren and great grandchildren. He left an indelible imprint on his professions, his community, and his family, and he will be sorely missed as he joins his beloved Diane in the kingdom of heaven.

Visitation will be held at St. Matthews Episcopal Church at 10 a.m. Friday, February 10, with a memorial service at 11:30 a.m.

Donations may be made to St. Matthews Episcopal Church, the Louisville Area Red Cross, or the YMCA of Greater Louisville.


Published in The Courier-Journal from Feb. 8 to Feb. 10, 2017

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

Davidson College Alumni Obituaries