John Wilson Moore ’41

John Wilson Moore, a biophysicist who made important contributions to understanding neurotoxins and was a pioneer in the field of computational neuroscience, died on Saturday, March 30. He was 98.

John was born on November 1, 1920 in Winston-Salem. He graduated from Davidson College in 1941 and received his Ph.D. in physics from the University of Virginia in 1945. His graduate work was directed toward the war effort: assisting in the effort to enrich uranium by centrifuge, and building a radar-directed gun system for ships.

As a young scientist, John worked at the RCA Laboratories, the Medical College of Virginia, the Naval Medical Research Institute, and the National Institutes of Health, gaining unusual expertise that combined physics, feedback systems, electronics, and biology. He also began a lifelong tradition of summer research at the Marine Biological Laboratory in Woods Hole, MA.

In 1961, John joined the Department of Physiology at Duke, where he made his greatest contributions to the field. He developed a new experimental method of measuring electrical current in neurons. Using this technique, he studied the actions of various neurotoxins with collaborators from around the world. Most notably, he and Toshio Narahashi discovered the method by which tetrodotoxin, the puffer fish venom, blocks nerve signals. John received the Cole Award from the Biophysical Society in 1981 for this and other work.

John also saw the potential for using computers to simulate the electrical signals in neurons. With help from student programmers, and using the recently developed Hodgkin-Huxley equations as a basis, he began in the late 1960s to run computer simulations in parallel with each lab experiment.

This groundbreaking method proved to be highly successful both in predicting the outcomes of experiments and in showing that the equations had wider applicability than previously known. With Michael Hines he developed the neuronal simulation software NEURON which remains one of the most popular tools for computational neuroscience instruction and research.

After his retirement from Duke in 1990, John focused his efforts on education. With his wife, Ann Stuart, a neurobiologist at UNC-Chapel Hill, he developed Neurons in Action, a digital textbook that includes interactive experiments using NEURON. It is now widely employed to teach neurophysiology.

Throughout his life, John struck up friendships wherever he went. He was beloved by family, colleagues, employees of the institutions where he worked, musicians he admired, and his many caregivers during his final year.

John is survived by his wife, Ann Stuart; their son, Jonathan Stuart-Moore (Megan Guiliano); three children from his first marriage, John Reid Moore (Beth), Marjorie Moore Kastrinsky (Howard), and Stephen Wilson Moore (Kathy); eight grandchildren, Jennifer, Josh, Matt, Kimberly, Elizabeth, Michelle, Steve, and Julian; and two great-grandchildren, Henley and Emily.

A memorial service will be held on Saturday, May 4, 2019, at 2 PM, at the Church of Reconciliation in Chapel Hill.

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Thomas B. and John W. Moore Scholarship Fund at Davidson College or to the The John W. Moore and Ann E. Stuart Endowed Fund at the Marine Biological Laboratory.

Published in The News & Observer on Apr. 7, 2019

Freeman R. Jones ’49

Freeman R. Jones, 92, a native and longtime resident of Charlotte, passed away March 27, 2019 at Well-Spring Retirement Community in Greensboro, NC.

For the past 10 years, he and his wife have lived at Well-Spring to be closer to their children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren.

He has been married to Helen Bouldin of Clarksdale, Mississippi for almost 70 years. Freeman was a natural leader, an athlete and a compassionate man of principle who was not afraid to take a stand. He committed his life to service and promotion of his hometown, the Queen City. He was also the perfect gentleman and a father and husband who showered his family with unconditional love. 

The son of Edwin Epes Jones and Mary Williams Carson Jones, Freeman grew up on Hopedale Avenue in Charlotte along with a neighborhood gang of 17 boys. His father built a boxing ring in the back yard to keep them busy and because he believed “every boy needs to know how to take care of himself.”

After graduation from the Darlington School in Rome, Georgia, where he excelled in basketball and golf, Freeman briefly attended Davidson college before enlisting in the US Naval Air Corps. He served from 1944-1946 in the South Pacific as radio operator and nose gunner in a PB4Y-2 Privateer bomber squadron. He also put his boxing skills to work as a lightweight boxer in the navy.

He returned to Davidson in 1947 where he played on both the golf and basketball teams. In later years, after establishing his business career, he graduated from the Harvard Business School Management Development Program. 

Freeman began his 30 year career in broadcasting during the early 1950’s in Atlanta as partner in an advertising sales firm that covered the southeast for radio networks and for the rapidly emerging television market.

In 1960, he returned to Charlotte and entered business with his father, E.E. Jones, a founder of the WSOC television and radio stations. Freeman became sales manager for WSOC-TV and AM-FM Radio, then Vice President and General Manager of WSOC. Later, when the station merged with a larger broadcasting firm, he became a Vice President of Cox Broadcasting Corporation.

The station was affiliated with ABC Television and he and his wife Helen entertained the likes of Barbara Walters and Howard Cosell at their farm in Cabarras County. He was also the editorial spokesperson for the station and gave weekly television broadcasts focused on local and national topics during the local evening news hour. 

Freeman was a tireless community servant. He was a Vice President and Director of the Charlotte Chamber of Commerce and served on the boards of First Citizens Bank, Charlotte Speech and Hearing Center, Charlotte Council on Alcoholism, Charlotte Mecklenburg Hospital Authority, and the Charlotte United Community Services.

He served on the Board of Trustees for the Alexander Children’s Center, Johnson C. Smith University, The Foundation of UNCC, Inc. and the Board of Visitors for Davidson College. He was Public Relations Chair for a multi-million dollar statewide campaign for Queens College (now Queens University) and Davidson College and was Chairman of the Charlotte ABC Board. 

He believed in “family first” and in 1971 with his brother and sister, started a family real estate investment firm, EFC Corporation, with the express intent of using business to keep the family together over the generations. It remains a small firm but is the reason that far flung family members of now 4 generations still get together for the annual meeting.

He was a man who rarely discussed his deep and abiding faith, but clearly expressed it in the many blessings he gave for gatherings of family and friends. He taught Sunday School and served as an Elder and Vice Moderator for First Presbyterian Church in Charlotte. 

Freeman was a lifelong golfer and for many years he maintained his membership at the Peachtree Golf Club in Atlanta. He was from childhood an avid fisherman. At the age of 12, he was the youngest angler to receive a gold button from the West Palm Beach Silver Sailfish Derby for catching a sailfish over 8 feet long.

He loved dove hunting in the Mississippi Delta, fishing the Santee Cooper and, every year for over 20 years, he and three of his best friends would make the fall bluefishing pilgrimage to Cape Hatteras in a Carolina Blue International Scout named “Ol’ Blue.”

After his retirement from WSOC, he and Helen enjoyed the quiet country life at Cedarvale Farm in the historic 1860’s farmhouse they restored and listed with the National Register for Historic Properties. They owned a 45 ft. Hatteras yacht, the Tiger Lily, and enjoyed cruising the inland waterway from their home port of Coquina Harbor, SC. 

He is predeceased by his parents, Mary Carson and Eddie E. Jones, brother Eddie E. Jones, Jr and wife Marjorie, sister Mary Carson and husband J. Norman Pease, Jr., nephews J. Norman Pease III and Edwin Epes Jones III.

He is survived by his wife Helen Bouldin Jones, son Randy Jones (Lee Lucas), daughter Lauren Worth (David), 5 grandchildren and four great grandchildren.

The family would like to offer a special thanks to the nursing staff at Well-Spring Assisted Living and Rehab for giving Dad such loving care.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be sent to: Union Presbyterian Seminary, Jones Scholarship, 3401 Brook Road, Richmond VA 23227; First Presbyterian Church, Television Ministry, 200 West Trade St., Charlotte, NC 28202; or Hospice and Palliative Care of Greensboro, Payable to Hospice Foundation of Greater Greensboro, 2500 Summit Avenue, Greensboro, NC 27405.

A Memorial Service will be held at 2:00 p.m. Tuesday, April 2nd at the First Presbyterian Church, 200 West Trade Street, Charlotte, NC. 

Published in Charlotte Observer on Mar. 28, 2019

Chester Huskins ’48

Chester was born near Lowesville in Lincoln County, son of the late Levi Anthony Huskins and Lelah Mae Womac Huskins. He was a graduate of Rock Springs High School, Davidson College and The University of Florida. He served in the US Army Air Force during World War II.

After receiving his degree in organic chemistry from The University of Florida, he was employed by the Department of Agriculture, Citrus Experiment Station in Winter Haven, Florida and was involved in the development of frozen orange juice concentrate which brought an economic boom to the orange growing section of Florida.

In 1952 he transferred to the Department of Army at Red Stone Arsenal in Hunstville, Alabama. There he was a solid propellant research chemist in the propulsion laboratory, US Army Missile Command. During his career there he authored numerous technical reports and was the recipient of 25 patents.

He was the Army’s representative to the NATO countries in the exchange of Rocket Meritorious Civilian Service. He was a long-time member of the American Chemical Society, serving as secretary and as president of the North Alabama section of the society. He was a member of Golden K Kiwanis Club of Huntsville and served as president.

Survivors include step-daughter, Phyllis Kay Harper Denton and husband, Fred Denton; granddaughters, Dorothy Denton and Julia Denton. A graveside service to celebrate Chester’s life will be held at 2:00 pm on Saturday, March 30, 2019, at Salem United Methodist Church, Denver, NC.

Condolence messages may be sent to the family by visiting Woodlawn Funeral Home of Mount Holly is serving the family.

Copyright (c) 2019 The Charlotte Observer

Thomas Poindexter Speas ’46

Thomas P. Speas, 94, passed away at Salemtowne in Winston-Salem, Tuesday, March 19, 2019.

A memorial service will be held Saturday, March 23 at 2:00 p.m. in Amos Room/Babcock Health Center, Salemtowne.

Mr. Speas graduated from Reynolds High School in 1942. He attended Davidson College and graduated from University of Virginia in 1944. He received his master’s degree from Drexel Institute of Technology in 1963.

Mr. Speas was in the United States Army Signal Corps from 1943-1946. He was employed with Western Electric and retired from RCA in 1987.

Surviving are his wife of 70 years, Ruth L. Speas; children: P. Lynne S. Messenger (William) and Thomas P. Speas, Jr. (Suzan); grandchildren: Bert Haifley (Jeanette), Justin Haifley, Brad Messenger (Mary Charles); Sara Messenger, and Laura Messenger (Amber); and great-grandchildren: Maya Haifley, Maverick Haifley and Eli Messenger.

He was preceded in death by his parents, Dr. William P. Speas and mother Nora E. Dixon; brothers: Frederick W. Speas, Dr. W. P. Speas, Jr., Charles A. Speas and Richard D. Speas.

In lieu of flowers, memorial may be made to Parkinson’s Association of the Carolinas, 2101 Sardis Road North, Suite 102, Charlotte, NC 28227 or the Boy Scouts of America, Old Hickory Council, 5058, 6600 Silas Creek Pkwy, Winston-Salem, NC 27106.

Online condolences may be sent to

Bryant B. Skinner ’45

Bryant B. Skinner '45

Bryant B. Skinner, Sr., a lifelong resident of Jacksonville, Florida, died on March 10, 2019 at the age of 96.

Born October 12, 1922, he was one of the first babies born at the new St. Vincent’s Hospital in Riverside.

He was a well know businessman and civic leader, spending his career in commercial real estate development and giving his time and talents to innumerable political, civic and charitable organizations.

He attended the public schools in Jacksonville, but graduated high school from The Webb School in Bell Buckell, Tennessee. He attended Davidson College until the outbreak of WWII, which led to his transfer to the University of North Carolina under the naval officers training program.

He shipped out to the south Pacific as a newly minted “ninety-day wonder” ensign on board the LST 1009. He was in numerous campaigns in the amphibious war and was part of the occupation forces in Japan.

Returning home, he graduated from UNC and went to work for Stockton, Whatley & Davin, Co., a large real estate development company based in Jacksonville, were he spent 10 years involved in the company’s state-wide operations. He was a vice president of the company when he left in 1959.

He married Betty Walthour of Birmingham, Ala., in 1948. They had many happy years together and raised three sons and a daughter. Betty was a strong and dedicated supporter of Bryant’s many adventures.

In 1960 he commenced development of the Deerwood Club, a gated residential community in the then “middle of nowhere” wilderness called the Southside of Jacksonville. Deerwood was a great success and is credited with being the vanguard of development in what was to become the city’s most dynamic quadrant.

In 1981, he commenced a commercial development called “Southpoint”, at the interchange of I-95 and the newly opened J. Turner Butler Blvd. It too was a success, and established JTB as the city’s main growth corridor to this day.

Together with his three sons, he established Skinners Wholesale Nursery, a nursery specializing in large container grown trees.

His early involvement in the local Republican Party, when a Republican was an oddity in Jacksonville, was another expression of his visionary life. He met every Republican president from Dwight Eisenhour to George Bush and visited President Nixon and President Reagan in the White House. He was Reagan’s Duval County campaign manager in his successful 1980 campaign.

He loved the Gators, especially football, rarely missing a game. An avid sportsman, he loved hunting and fishing, tennis and golf, but did not like hiking or walking, saying that the person who was walking was just a person who had missed his ride!

He was active in business and civic life, serving as a director on the boards of Baptist Hospital, St. Luke’s/Mayo Hospital, Flagship Bank and as chairman of the board of Sun Bank. He served as president of the River Club, downtown Rotary Club, Jacksonville Country Day School, Young Life and the University of Florida Gator Boosters. He headed the committee to establish the Jacksonville Navy Memorial.

In all his many adventures-business, civic, travel, sports, etc., he never failed to be scrupulously honest. He loved to “work hard, play hard.”

Almost every social or family event was punctuated by his storytelling, tales which grew more fantastical and hilarious with each telling. He was a man of his times, a proud member of the Greatest Generation. He will be missed!

He is survived by Betty, his daughter, Betsy, his son Russell (Sandy), his son Bryant, Jr. (Joan), and his son Charlie (Laura), eleven grandchildren and eleven great-grandchildren, and his brother Dr. Richard Green Skinner Jr.

Close to his heart are his “do it all” companion for over 30 years, Heyward Jones, his dedicated live-in caregiver Beth Jones Batistin, and his secretary/house manager Cydnie Forrest.

A memorial service will be held at 11:00 am on Thursday, March 28, at the First Presbyterian Church of Jacksonville, 118 East Monroe St., Jacksonville, FL 32202.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to Young Life Jacksonville.

Arrangements by Hardage-Giddens, THE OAKLAWN CHAPEL, 4801 San Jose Blvd., Jacksonville.

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