Charlton Kennedy Torrence, Jr. ’50

Charlton Torrence '51Charlton Kennedy Torrence, Jr. passed away peacefully on November 9, 2018.

Born in Gastonia on October 5, 1928, to Charlton Kennedy Torrence, Sr. and Marguerite Ring Torrence, his ancestors were among the earliest settlers in Gaston County. He embodied both their native Scots frugality and his own compassionate generosity and made a lasting impact on Gastonia and Gaston County.

Charlton graduated from Gastonia’s public school system, Darlington Prep School and Davidson College, where he was a member of the Kappa Sigma fraternity. He remembered with pride his 1945 pitching triumph in a 5-0 shutout against Shelby, who won the American Legion World Series that year.

He also pitched for Davidson from 1947-1951. Charlton joined the Navy Reserve in 1952, served aboard the USS Francis Robinson and was honorably discharged as a Lieutenant in 1955.

He began his career at Superior Yarn Mills, doing every job in the mill before becoming its VP and Treasurer. He continued in sales after Superior was sold to Clyde Fabrics which was sold to Textiles, Inc., (later Ti-Caro, Inc.) and then to Dixie Yarns. He was a member of Civitan in the late 50s, joined The Rotary Club of Gastonia in 2014 and was named a Paul Harris Fellow in 2015.

He was also awarded the Bud Schiele Lifetime Achievement plate in 2009 by the Schiele Museum and Planetarium, a proclamation of gratitude from Gastonia City Council and then-mayor John Bridgeman in 2016, and received the Community Foundation of Gaston County’s Alan H. Sims Award in 2017.

Charlton was married for 42 years to the love of his life, Mary Elizabeth Mason, who died in 1997. They married in June of 1955 and raised their 3 children in Gastonia. He was a member of Gaston Country Club and excelled on the golf course and tennis court, where he was so competitive that he was known as “Nasty” after popular tennis star Ilie Nastase.

He was a lifelong member and leader at First Presbyterian Church, serving as a Deacon and Elder and chairing numerous committees. He was instrumental in the creation of the church’s columbarium, and in commissioning “A Christian Witness: History of First Presbyterian Church, Gastonia” by Marion Ellis.

He loved his community and worked tirelessly to make things better for all. In addition to significant financial contributions, he generously gave his time and experience and became a vital part of those causes and organizations: First Presbyterian Church Gastonia, The Schiele Museum and Planetarium, Daniel Stowe Botanical Gardens, Gastonia Potter’s House, Crisis Assistance Ministry, and many others. Numerous individuals, churches and schools also benefited from the deep well of Charlton’s compassion.

Family was the center of Charlton’s life, and we are so grateful for every one of his 90 years on this earth. He and son Charlton III shared the same birthday and never missed a year of celebrating together. The most recent occasion was October 2018 at Pawley’s Island, a beloved vacation spot, often enjoyed with family and friends.

Charlton was preceded in death by his wife and parents and his sister Jean Marie Torrence, and is survived by daughters Elizabeth Ring Torrence Stafford (Billy) and Catherine Mason Torrence Giles, son Charlton Kennedy Torrence III – all of Gastonia – and granddaughters Sarah Elizabeth Giles Arnold (Sean) of Wasilla, Alaska and Meredith Torrence Giles of Charleston, South Carolina and their father, Christopher T. Giles of Gastonia.

He is also survived by his cousins Clay Vance Ring (d. November 17, 2018) and Ann Hall Ring Wauford, Ellen Larson Gray, Mary Gray Clouse, April Gray Rohrer, William M. Gray, George A. Gray III, Glenn L. Gray, Sally Gray Lovejoy, Nan K. White and James Tracy Ormand.

Charlton Torrence will be remembered as a quintessential Southern gentleman of kindness, integrity, and generosity, with a roguish twinkle in his eye and a deadpan sense of humor that caught people off guard. He was an endearing flirt and was always ready with a wink or a hug to brighten someone’s day. He was a humble man who much preferred to stay in the background, but, graciously allowed his name to be used in order to encourage philanthropy in others.

The family will welcome friends at a visitation from 3:00-4:30pm on Friday, November 30 in the Covenant Village Living Room.

There will also be a short visitation after the memorial service at 1:30pm on December 2nd, First Presbyterian Church, Gastonia before interment at Oakwood Cemetery.

In lieu of flowers or food, the family requests that memorials may be made to any of the organizations listed above to or the charity of your choice.

Condolence messages and remembrances may be shared online at

McLean Funeral Directors of Gastonia is serving the Torrence family.

Published in Gaston Gazette on Nov. 24, 2018

George Helme Sutcliffe ’59

George Helme Sutcliffe '59Dr. George Helme Sutcliffe, 81, son of Geoffrey Helme Sutcliffe and Martha Wilkinson Sutcliffe, passed away Wednesday, November 7, 2018, in Charlotte in the devoted care of Hospice.

Born October 4th, 1937 in Shanghai, China; George and his family moved to Geelong, Australia in 1941 to escape the Japanese invasion. George attended Geelong College Preparatory School in Victoria, Australia, where he learned cricket and Australian Rules football.

At the end of 1948, the family decided to move to the United States where his mother’s two brothers were practicing medicine, Louis Wilkinson MD in High Point NC and George Wilkinson MD in Greenville SC. Dr. Sutcliffe attended the old Charlotte Country Day School on Sardis Road.

He then attended the McCallie School in Chattanooga TN graduating Cum Laude in academics. He graduated from Davidson College ’59 with a BS in physics and was awarded an MBA from East Carolina University in 1961.

George served active duty in the US Army from 1961 to 1963 as Radar Platoon Leader and Battery Control Officer assigned to Battery D, 4th Missile Battalion, 71st Artillery, Hazlet, NJ, New York Air defense Sector and was on duty during the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962.

George continued serving his country in the US Army Reserve for twenty-five years, retiring as Lieutenant Colonel in the 1023rd Civil Affairs Brigade in 1988.

Upon discharge from active duty, George pursued a teaching career in business administration at Central Piedmont Community College lasting thirty-two years and retired with a Doctorate in Education in 2002.

George was married 54 years to his childhood sweetheart, Alita White Sutcliffe, and they traveled the world together, both avid lovers of history. With his interest in regional history and family genealogy, Dr. Sutcliffe became a member of Olde Mecklenburg Genealogical Society in 1982.

He served as treasurer, then later served on the board and was then president 2002-2003. George was also an avid amateur race car driver, and a passionate fan of soccer, helping to reinstate a varsity soccer team while a student at Davidson. He was a gifted storyteller, cracking up his audiences with his Australian accent over a glass of his favorite Scotch, Laphroaig.

He is survived by his first cousin, Wyndham Wilkinson, of Winston-Salem NC, second cousins also of Winston-Salem, Virginia Cabell Wilkinson and Elizabeth Wyndham Wilkinson, SC and English cousins, and long-time devoted friend Maria St. John of Charlotte NC.

Following a memorial service at Harry and Bryant Funeral Home in Charlotte at 11 am on November 16, George Sutcliffe will be buried with his family in Historic Hopewell Presbyterian Church Cemetery, in Claussens SC on November 27th.

Memorials may be sent to the following, or to a charity of your choiceGeorge Helme Sutcliffe '59:

Olde Mecklenburg Genealogical Society Building Fund, P.O. Box 32453, Charlotte, NC 28232-2453, or

Historic Hopewell Cemetery Committee, Claussens, SC


Published in Charlotte Observer on Nov. 11, 2018

William Lindburgh Freeman ’52

William Lindburgh Freeman, 88, of Winston-Salem, North Carolina passed away on November 4, 2018.  He was born on November 18, 1929 in Winston-Salem to Mamie Gordon Freeman and Hilliard Tillman Freeman.

He is survived by his brother, Sam, his wife Dixie and Sam’s son, Sam Jr.  He is also survived by his two sons, Alan Freeman, his wife Christie, of Mt Pleasant, SC, their two children Tyler and Lauren, and Stephen Freeman, his wife Cristy of Chengdu China, and children Stephanie, Ann Marie and Carter.

Mr. Freeman was a Davidson College graduate, served Honorably in the Army, was married to Emma Lou Carter Freeman for 34 years and worked at McLean Trucking, Sea Land Service and owned multiple restaurants in his working career.

A private memorial service will be held by friends and family.

William Stokes “Billy” Houck, Jr. ’50

Billy Houck '50William Stokes “Billy” Houck, Jr., MD, passed away peacefully at home in Florence, SC, on Friday, November 2, 2018, just 6 days before his 89th birthday.

He was born on November 8, 1929, to the former Charlotte Weston and William Stokes Houck. He was raised in Florence and graduated in 1946 from Florence High School where he excelled in sports, particularly football and baseball.

He received his B.S. degree from Davidson College in 1950, and received his M.D. from the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston in 1956.

After an internship with the St. Louis (MO) City Hospital during 1956-57, Billy married the former Ann Ward of Rock Hill on June 22, 1957.  Billy fulfilled a five-year residency at Duke University in 1962.

Shortly thereafter, he joined the US Army Medical Corps and served his country as a Captain and the Section Chief of Surgery based in Fort Leavenworth, KS.

During that time period, he completed his boards in General Surgery and Thoracic Surgery. He was discharged in December 1964 and spent one year in private practice in Richmond, VA.  He moved home to Florence in 1965 and began a practice in General, Thoracic, and Cardiovascular Surgery that would last until 1990.

Billy maintained memberships in a number of medical organizations, including the prestigious American College of Surgeons, and especially the Southern Surgical Association; he cherished the friendships he made with these doctors from throughout the southeast.

In 1977, he was given a faculty appointment at MUSC Clinical as an associate professor of surgery, and was elected as vice-president of the South Carolina State Board of Medical Examiners.

In 1986-87, he served as president of the SC Chapter of the American College of Surgeons, and was president of the South Carolina Surgical Society in 1988-89.

At the urging of his good friend and state representative Malloy McEachin, he ran for and won SC House Seat 63 in the fall of 1990, and represented Florence County as the only physician in the state House or Senate for two terms.

He spent his remaining 24 years enjoying his family and good friends, either playing golf at his beloved Florence Country Club with Joe, playing tennis with Tommy and Jimmy, catching fish at DeBordieu with Took and Lukie, watching the Gamecocks play football in Columbia with his boys and their Davidson buddies, tending to his greenhouse, or reading anything he could get his hands on.

Along with his parents, Billy was predeceased by his brother, the Honorable Charles Weston Houck.

He is survived by his wife of 61 years, Ann Ward Houck; their four children and spouses: Jacqueline Houck Borowicz and Eric Justin Borowicz (Greenville, SC), Dr. William Stokes Houck, III, and Betsy Hoffman Houck (Charlotte, NC), Robert Bates Houck and Shannon Stevenson Houck (Mount Pleasant, SC), Dr. Ward Vaughn Houck and Caroline Blackhurst Houck (Murphreesboro, TN); and fourteen grandchildren: Sarah, Kate, Emma, and Robert Borowicz; William IV, Lee, and Mary Houck; Charlotte and Ann Wallace Houck; and Megan, Klara, Isabel, Liam, and Scarlett Houck; nephew and niece, Charles Houck and Elizabeth Houck; as well as dozens of truly beloved in-laws in the extended Ward family of Rock Hill.

The family wishes to thank Agape Hospice Care and Tommy Porter who helped tremendously with Billy’s care in the last years of his life.

Funeral services will be 11:00 a.m., Wednesday, November 7, 2018, at First Presbyterian Church with burial following in Mount Hope Cemetery.  The family will receive friends from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m., Tuesday, at Waters-Powell Funeral Home.

Memorials may be made to Agape Hospice, 1516 W. Palmetto St., Florence, SC  29501; or to First Presbyterian Church, 700 Park Ave., Florence, SC  29501; or to a charity of one’s choice.