James “Jim” Pressley Lawson ’58, 75, of Mooresville, N.C., passed away on Dec. 3, 2010, at Lake Norman Regional Medical Center. Born Sept. 22, 1935, in Troutman, N.C., he was the son of the late James C. and Ruby Hinson Lawson. Lawson was retired from Walmart. He is survived by his aunts, Joyce Sigmon and Edna Beaver, 235 E. Catawba Ave., Mooresville, NC 28115-2658.
Charles Monroe Yager ’35, of Sun City Center, Fla., passed away Dec. 3, 2010. He was born in McCrory, Ark., on April 4, 1914, grew up in Baltimore, Md., and went to Florida from Dahlonega, Ga., where he had a distinguished career at North Georgia College (now North Georgia College and State University).
He is survived by his wife, Frances King Yager, 912 American Eagle Blvd., Apt. 101, Sun City Center, FL 33573, with whom he enjoyed 69 years of marriage; two daughters, Margaret Dufeny (Max) and Virginia Baxley (Robert); four grandchildren, Mark Dufeny, Charles Dufeny, Julia Camp (John), and Frances Atighi (Maz); and three great-grandchildren, Anabel Camp, Ben Camp, and Owen Dufeny.
He received degrees from the University of Maryland and Duke University. In 1935, in Jonesboro, Ga., Yager began his lifelong career in education, teaching mathematics and serving as superintendent at Jonesboro Consolidated Schools. In 1940 he went to North Georgia College and subsequently became professor of physics, chairman of the physics department, director of admissions and registrar, and director of development. He was especially proud of the nursing program begun during his tenure of director of development.
Yager was active in the community. He was a member of the Dahlonega United Methodist Church, where he taught Sunday school for many years and served as chairman of the board of stewards during the construction of a Christian education building. He served on the city council for one term and was a member of the zoning commission for many years. He was instrumental in securing funding for the construction of a public welcome center in Dahlonega.
Yager worked tirelessly to bring a regional hospital to Dahlonega and was a charter member of the Lumpkin County Hospital Authority. He was the first secretary-treasurer of the hospital commission and served two terms as chairman. In 1981 Yager was awarded the Governor’s Volunteer Award from the State of Georgia for his community involvement. In 1984 he received a Distinguished Service Award from the Georgia Hospital Association because of “his vision and perseverance in the enhancement of health care in northeast Georgia.”
In 1994, he and Frances moved to Sun City Center, Fla., where he became a member of the Sun City United Methodist Church. As a resident of the Freedom Plaza Community, Yager focused his energy on the scholarship committee, which provides scholarships for employees to further their education.
William Owen Cooke ’38, of Greensboro, N.C., died Nov. 29. He was born in Greensboro on Oct. 8, 1917. He was the son of A. Wayland and Annie Owen Cooke. He graduated from Davidson in 1938 and UNC School of Law in 1941.
After service in the Pacific Theater during WWII, he returned to Greensboro, where he engaged in the practice of law. In 1948, he formed the firm of Cooke and Cooke with his brother, Arthur O. Cooke ’37. Cooke was joined in the firm by his sons, Barden W. Cooke ’72 and William O. Cooke, Jr., with whom he practiced until his retirement in 2005.
He was a lifelong member of First Presbyterian Church, where he served as an elder. Cooke is survived by his wife, Eleanor Winstead Cooke, 4100 Well Spring Dr., Apt. 1201, Greensboro, NC 27410; his sons, Barden W. Cooke ’72 (Terri T. Cooke) and William Owen Cooke, Jr. (Jane E. Perrin); and four grandchildren, Christina E. Cooke ’03, Laura O. Cooke, Thomas Perrin Cooke, and William W. Cooke. He was preceded in death by his parents and his brother, Arthur Owen Cooke ’37.
Frederick Warden Best, Jr. ’51, 82, retired Army colonel of Fayetteville, N.C., passed away Nov. 26 in his home. He graduated in 1951 from Davidson, where he played in the band. After Davidson, Best entered active duty again and served until 1975, culminating a career as a colonel at Fort Bragg. During active service, he attended graduate school at Syracuse University in business and finance, which prepared him for understanding how organizations function best. During his military service, he received three Legions of Merit, the Combat Infantryman Badge, and numerous awards and decorations. He also received the Bronze Star while serving in WWII, Korea, and Vietnam. After retirement, Best’s long and exceptional service to North Carolina began. Over those years, there were two Freds: the “larger than life” Col. Frederick W. Best, Jr., who served with vigor and was a taskmaster to those around him. The other Fred was the quiet professional, who ensured that those in need were taken care of. In those periods where need was identified, Best could always be counted upon to contribute his time, talents, and money. For many years after retirement, Best was deeply involved in several organizations in various leadership positions. He served as president of the Board of Realtors in Fayetteville; as a leader in the Association of the U.S. Army, Braxton Bragg Chapter; as a trustee of Cape Fear Valley Medical Center; as a Mason and Shriner; as a founder and leader of the Tallywood Neighborhood Watch in the 1980s, which was a blueprint for Fayetteville; as part of the Episcopal Congregation at Fort Bragg; and as president of the Kiwanis Club of Fayetteville in 1997-98. He served as lieutenant governor of division 11 of the Carolinas district of Kiwanis International. It was his long service to Kiwanis and his generous financial contributions that Best will have a long and lasting impact to North Carolina. He joined the Fayetteville Kiwanis in 1977 and maintained 33 years of perfect attendance. For many years, he was the number one fundraiser for their annual reverse raffle, personally raising more than $100,000 that benefited the children of North Carolina. As a committee member, he helped raise and fund nearly 500 bikes in Cumberland County for the Terrific Kids program, a model program adopted by Kiwanis International. During his term as president of the Fayetteville club, he raised $22,000 to benefit iodine deficiency disorder. During that period, he was also recognized as a Kiwanis International Hixson Fellow by the Fayetteville club for his service to Kiwanis and Cumberland County. As president and lieutenant governor in Kiwanis, he was personally responsible for raising and awarding tens of thousands of dollars to worthy causes in North Carolina. His volunteerism contributed hundreds of hours annually and some years more than a thousand hours. Few have maintained the stamina and fervor that Best had in serving Cumberland County and North Carolina. He was recently awarded the Order of the Long Leaf Pine. Best recently established a scholarship fund for military families to further their education at FTCC. He was also a Mason in a Masonic lodge in Fort Benning, Ga., for 54 years, and was also a member of MOAA. He is survived by his wife, Gladys J. Best, 3107 Drury Ln., Fayetteville, NC 28303; daughters, Carla Stanley Griffin and Denise Stanley Brisson; sons, Roger Stanley and Craig Stanley; eight grandchildren; and special friends, Rebecca and Michael Albert, Trent Laviano, and Michael Dibbert.
Igor Nicholas Sviatoslavsky ’54, of Madison, Wis., passed away on Nov. 21, 2010, at UW Hospital. Sviatoslavsky was born in Jerusalem on Oct. 11, 1932, the son of Nicholas and Alexandra Sviatoslavsky. He came to the U.S. on a Fulbright scholarship in 1952 and attended Davidson. He served in the U.S. Army from 1954-55. He married Wanda Blejwas on May 13, 1956, in New Jersey. He received his master’s degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Wisconsin in 1958 and worked for UW Madison from 1956 until he retired as a senior scientist in 2005. He was the 1998 recipient of the John G. Bollinger Award for his contributions to fusion engineering, for developing innovative design solutions for fusion reactors, and for developing methods for recovering lunar resources. Sviatoslavsky loved going on his annual Canadian fishing trip with his work friends and going to his cabin, Pete’s Place, in Northern Wisconsin. Sviatoslavsky loved reading and writing poetry. He loved attending his grandchildren’s musicals, baseball, soccer, and basketball games. He was a loving husband, father, and grandfather. Survivors include his wife of 54 years, Wanda Sviatoslavsky, 1249 Meadow Sweet Dr., Madison, WI 53719-4516; sons, Andy Sviatoslavsky (Meg) and Greg Sviatoslavsky (Cindy); grandchildren, Lydia, Elena, Peter, and Alex; brother, Nicholas Sviatoslavsky (Marina); sister, Olga Nazaroff (George); and by a number of nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his parents and son, Peter (29) in 1991.