Charles Edward Ratliff, Jr. ’47

Charles Edward Ratliff, Jr. '47

Charles Edward Ratliff, Jr., 94, died March 17, 2021.

He was born October 13, 1926 in Morven, NC to Charles Edward Ratliff, Sr. and Mary Katherine Ratliff.

The son of a cotton farmer, he graduated from Davidson College in 1947 and earned his PhD from Duke University.   He served as an Aviation Supply Officer in the US Navy from 1944-46.  

One of the longest-tenured members of the Davidson College faculty, he taught Economics, spanning six decades, from 1947 until his retirement in 1992.  He devoted his life to teaching and serving others, for four years in the 1960s, he served as an educational missionary at Forman Christian College in Lahore, Pakistan. 

Seeing the abject poverty in Pakistan led him to his involvement in many non-profit organizations including:  Habitat for Humanity, CROP, the Davidson Housing Coalition, Bread for the World, Mecklenburg Ministries, and Rural Advancement/National Sharecroppers Fund. 

He was very active in the Davidson United Methodist Church serving on numerous conference boards.

Following retirement, he and wife Mary Virginia moved to Florida Presbyterian Homes in Lakeland Florida, joining many of their close friends from their days in Pakistan.

He was preceded in death by his wife Mary Virginia.

Survivors include his wife Ruth Miller and his children, Alice, Kate, John and his wife Kathy, and four grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.

Services will be at a later date.

Memorials may be made to Davidson Housing Coalition or the Ratliff Endowment for Economics at Davidson College.

John Erle McDonald, Jr. ’47

John Erle McDonald, Jr. '47

John Erle McDonald, Jr. died as he lived, in the hope of the resurrection of the dead in the Lord Jesus Christ.

A native and long-time resident of North Carolina, he served in the US Navy during World War II.

Post-war, he attended Davidson College and the University of Michigan law school. Upon graduation, he served as an FBI agent. After a long career as an attorney in Charlotte, NC, John taught business law at UNC-C.

At age 94, he died of COVID-19. John was predeceased by his beloved wife of 70 years, Aileen (Earp) McDonald, and is survived by three children, three grandchildren, and one great-grandchild.

Copyright (c) 2021 The Charlotte Observer

George Wilson Gunn, Sr. ’47

George Wilson Gunn, Sr. '47

On October 5, 2020, the Rev. George Wilson Gunn, Sr. of Black Mountain, NC, was welcomed into the roomy mansion of Christ after 94 years here reflecting the very grace of God. 

Born June 15, 1926, to Eliza Drayton (Woodside) Gunn and the Rev. Dr. Charles Groshon Gunn in Bluefield, West Virginia, baptized and nurtured in the covenant community of Westminster Presbyterian Church where his father was pastor, shaped by Miss Blanche’s kindergarten, Bluefield Public Schools, McCallie School, Davidson College, and Louisville Seminary.

George went on to provide a lifetime of service in the Presbyterian Church. His passion for campus ministry was evident at the University of Georgia, the University of Arkansas, and at Lees-McRae College.  He was a founder of the National Campus Ministry Association and also headed the Office of Higher Education of the Presbyterian Church, U.S.

Rev. Gunn pastored congregations across Arkansas, Texas, and North Carolina – the last being with the beloved saints at Fletcher Presbyterian Church, Newland, NC.  He was honored with the Distinguished Alumni Award by Louisville Seminary in 1998.  He was a prolific writer, a poet, photographer, oil painter, numismatist, and philatelist.  

Married to Sara Louise (Smith) Gunn for 67 years before her death in 2017, he is survived by his children Wilson (Pam), Herb (Joan Dennehy), Genie (Jude), and Knox.  He is also survived by his brother-in-law James Sidney Langrall, nieces, nephews, six grandchildren, and three great grandchildren. 

He was predeceased by his parents, his brothers Charlie (Ginny), Jim (Shirley), and sister Libby Langrall. He will forever be remembered for his quick and relentless wit, his vast intellect, his passion for social justice and racial reconciliation, and his unconditionally loving engagement with family and friends.

In lieu of flowers please give to “Fletcher Presbyterian Church” – memo “Malawi Mission.” Send to the Fletcher Presbyterian Church, PO Box 493, Newland, NC 28657

Lamar Williamson, Jr. ’47

Lamar Williamson, Jr. '47

Lamar Williamson, Jr. died peacefully July 11, 2020, at Givens Highland Farms, Black Mountain, N. C.

He is survived by his children, Fred, Martha, and Allen Williamson, and Ruth Simmons; his grandchildren, Nathan, Ryan, Rachel, Tim, Ben, Hannah, Will, Sam, Bonnie, Charlie and Michael; and great-grandchildren Tucker, Elliot, Emma, Benji, Kaia, Eli, Samuel, Max, and Heidi.

Lamar was born in 1926 in Monticello, Ark., attended college in Davidson N. C., followed by seminary in Richmond, Va., where he married Ruthmary Bliss in 1949.

He served as a pastor in Harveyton, Ky.; as a professor at several institutions in the Democratic Republic of Congo; and as professor at PSCE (UPS) Seminary in Richmond, Va.

Lamar was first and foremost a man of God, whose love of the Lord was seconded only by his love of wife and family, enriched by his love of knowledge and his extraordinary wit.

He and Ruthmary were a devoted couple whose lives reflected their faith. They strove to live the gospel honestly and humbly, with love and respect for all peoples, embracing a world of joy and of service, of music and dance, of travel and diversity, of Sunday School and volunteer work, of walks and fishing. They were active members of All Souls Presbyterian in Richmond and Black Mountain Presbyterian.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Black Mountain Home for Children, IMCK.ORG, or the charity of your choice.

Published July 26, 2020

David Richardson ’47

David Richardson '47

David Walthall Richardson, passed away peacefully on July 3, 2020, at Westminster-Canterbury in Henrico County, Virginia.

Dr. Richardson was born on March 22, 1925, in Nanking, China, the youngest child of Presbyterian missionaries Donald William Richardson and Ella Virginia McIlwaine Richardson.

Besides his parents, Dr. Richardson was predeceased by his wife, Frances Lee Wingfield Richardson, who died in January, 2007. Sons, David Morris Richardson and John Lee Richardson predeceased their father. Dr. Richardson’s beloved older sisters, Orene Monette Richardson McRae and Florence Virginia Richardson Robertson predeceased their brother. He was also predeceased by niece, Virginia McIlwaine McRae Long Dodson.

Survivors include daughter, Sarah Carter Richardson and wife, Nancy Anne Jack, of New Kent, Virginia; son, Donald Wingfield Richardson and wife, Anne, of Norfolk, Virginia; and grandchildren, Lesley Hastings Richardson of Seattle, Washington and Caswell Wingfield Richardson of Norfolk, Virginia. Dr. Richardson was very proud of his three great-grandchildren, Sofia Frances Richardson of Virginia Beach, Virginia and Otis Richardson Lang and Elouise Morgan Lang of Seattle, Washington.

Dr. Richardson’s last 12 years were immeasurably enhanced by his abiding friendship with Frances Walker Holladay. Also left to cherish his memory are his nieces, Sandra Robertson O’Neal of Columbia, South Carolina and Donna Virginia Robertson of Chicago, Illinois.

Dr. Richardson is also survived by his nephews, Charles Henry Robertson of Richmond, Virginia and Bruce McRae Robertson of Eden Prairie, Minnesota.

Dr. Richardson graduated from Thomas Jefferson High School in Richmond in 1942 and began his studies at Davidson College. The Second World War intervened, and he served in the U.S. Navy as an electronics technician from 1944 to 1946.

After returning from service, Dr. Richardson finished his bachelor’s degree at Davidson and began his medical training at Harvard Medical School. He married Frances Wingfield in June 1948, after his first year.

Upon graduation, Dr. Richardson completed his internship and residency at Yale University Medical School. The young family then returned to Richmond, where Dr. Richardson received his cardiology training at Medical College of Virginia and also served there as Professor of Cardiology for 35 years.

He was Chairman of Cardiology at MCV from 1972 to 1988, retiring in 1995, but continuing to work one afternoon a week as Emeritus Professor for another decade.

Two European academic sabbaticals were highlights for Dr. Richardson and his family. From 1962 to 1963, he served with the Queen’s Professor of medicine, Sir George Pickering as a visiting investigator at the Radcliffe Infirmary in Oxford, United Kingdom.

In 1971-72, Dr. Richardson served as visiting investigator at the Institute of Cardiovascular Research, University of Milan with Professor Alberto Zanchetti. His children, Sarah and Donald recall those adventurous years with fondness.

Dr. Richardson’s academic accomplishments are too numerous to mention. He was either the main author or co-author of 109 medical articles published from 1957 to 1999.

He was inducted into Phi Beta Kappa at Davidson and Alpha Omega Alpha, a group honoring high achievement in medical studies, while at Harvard. He was a member of 15 medical investigative groups and was either principal investigator or co-investigator in 12 major clinical trials.

He was most proud of his role as principal investigator for the Aspirin Myocardial Infarction Study in the late 1970s. His contributions to Medicine were honored by being made Laureate of the American College of Physicians and the American College of Cardiology and being elected as a member of the American Society for Clinical Investigations, among many others.

Memorial contributions may be made to the David Richardson Professorship in Cardiology at Virginia Commonwealth University,, and to Ginter Park Presbyterian Church.

A Zoom memorial service will be held, with more information at

View online memorial

© Copyright 2020, Richmond Times-Dispatch, Richmond, VA