William Erwin Spainhour ’64

William Erwin Spainhour '64

The Honorable William Erwin Spainhour died September 26, 2020, from complications of a traumatic brain injury, surrounded by his family’s love. To his last days, Erwin lived a vigorous life of faith, integrity, intellectual curiosity, service, and compassion. He was a patriot and devoted son, husband, father, grandfather, and friend.

Erwin is survived by his devoted wife of more than fifty-four years, Jane; their beloved children Richard Andrew, Elizabeth Erwin, and John Edward; cherished daughters-in-law Missy and Heather; adored grandchildren Anna, Caroline, Daniel, and Celia; treasured cousins; and innumerable dear friends.

Erwin was born in Lenoir, North Carolina, to Richard Edward and Mildred Erwin Spainhour, who predeceased him, and reared in Erwin, Tennessee, an area settled by his ancestors prior to statehood. The beauty of the surrounding mountains, rivers, and creeks instilled in him a lifelong love of the outdoors.

Erwin graduated in 1964 from Davidson College, where he studied Economics and was President of Pi Kappa Phi fraternity. Upon graduation, he was commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant in the U.S. Army and completed his first year of law school at the University of North Carolina. Due to the escalation of the conflict in Vietnam, he began active duty in 1965 and was stationed primarily at the Pentagon, attaining the rank of Captain.

In 1965, Erwin reconnected with Jane Poston, who was living in Washington, D.C., and whose maternal grandparents had lived next door to his maternal grandparents. They were married on July 30, 1966, in Chattanooga, Tennessee. Erwin and Jane remained in Washington for the early years of their marriage.

In 1968, Erwin returned to Chapel Hill with Jane, and he graduated from the University of North Carolina School of Law in 1970. Erwin and Jane then moved to Concord, North Carolina, where he joined the Hartsell, Hartsell & Mills law firm. In 27 years of private practice, Erwin represented varied clients-those ranging from indigent accused persons to large corporate interests-with equal zeal. Erwin particularly excelled as a litigator and relished every opportunity to try a case. In 1997, Governor James B. Hunt appointed Erwin to the Superior Court of North Carolina, and Erwin served as Senior Resident Superior Court Judge for Judicial District 19A until retiring in 2014. Prior to retirement, Erwin served on several three judge panels, including a panel of the State’s Innocence Inquiry Commission that determined two individuals were wrongfully convicted of serious crimes they did not commit. The panel exonerated them and set them free. The Governor granted Erwin the honor of The Order of the Long Leaf Pine for his 17 years of public service as a Judge.

Erwin’s 50 years in Concord were defined by his commitment to his faith, his family, his profession, his state, and his local community. Among his many activities, Erwin served as a current Elder at First Presbyterian Church, to which he was devoted; Boy Scout Troop 3 scoutmaster; Jane’s tireless caregiver; his children’s overall superfan; a corporate and non-profit Board Director; President of the Concord Rotary Club; Stokes Lodge member; President of the Cabarrus County Bar; President of the North Carolina State Bar after 8 years as Councilor; President of the Davidson College Alumni Association and Trustee; President of the UNC School of Law Alumni Association; Chair of the North Carolina Sentencing and Policy Advisory Commission for 18 years; President of the North Carolina Conference of Superior Court Judges; Member of the North Carolina Board of Law Examiners; and chronicler of all things grandchild related.

Among his other achievements and honors, particularly meaningful were Fellow, American College of Trial Lawyers; North Carolina Delegate to the American Bar Association; Friend of the Court award presented by the Chief Justice; a North Carolina Bar Association 2020 Citizen Lawyer Award; Eagle Scout; Silver Beaver Award; and Davidson College Alumni Service Award.

In his life and work, Erwin adhered to the tenets of Micah 6:8 and Matthew 25, revered the Constitution and its aims for a more perfect union, and studied history voraciously and carefully. He was a proud descendant of Pilgrim, Scots-Irish, Swiss Reformed, and Huguenot immigrant ancestors who in difficulty settled wildernesses and formed families.

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, a private graveside service at the family cemetery in Erwin, Tennessee, will be followed by a memorial service and celebration of Erwin’s life at First Presbyterian Church, Concord, in 2021 (date to be determined).

The family expresses deepest appreciation to Erwin’s great friend Dr. Douglas G. Kelling for his extraordinary care.

In lieu of flowers, memorial gifts may be made to First Presbyterian Church, P.O. Box 789, Concord, NC 28026-0789 or to Davidson College, P.O. Box 7170, Davidson, NC 28035.

Robert Irvin Payne ’80

Robert Irvin Payne, 61, of Greensboro, NC passed away peacefully at home, after a brief illness, on Thursday, April 30, 2020, with his loving wife and daughter by his side.

Robert Irvin Payne '80

Born in Atlanta, Georgia, he was the son of Ralph and Nell Payne. Robert was married to his love and best friend Sandy Hurt for 25 years.

He was a graduate of Davidson College. While at Davidson, he was active as a DJ at the then student-run WDAV radio, which set the path for a life-long appreciation and art for curating and sharing music with family and friends.

Robert had 35 years as an associate with the Principal Financial Group (Principal), where he worked with a mix of family-owned, private and public businesses with a focus on business succession, estate, retirement, investment and selective executive compensation planning.

He was also a qualifying and life member of the Court of the Table of the Million Dollar Round Table.

Robert was a devoted member of Holy Trinity Episcopal Church in Greensboro for 35 years and served on the church vestry. For the length of that 35 years, he was an enthusiastic volunteer with the Youth Ministry programs, the Building Commission and the Adult Pilgrimage Ministry, to name a few.

An important part of his youth work was his involvement with Glory Ridge, a nondenominational camp in the mountains of North Carolina where he took groups of teens and adults to do outreach work projects over the course of 33 years. Robert was also an active member of the Glory Ridge Board of Directors.

As a 17-year survivor of leukemia (CLL), he participated in cycling and hiking fundraising events for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, Team in Training, an organization near and dear to his heart.

Robert will be remembered by his family and friends for his sense of adventure and wonderful documentation of those adventures through photography and video.

Robert was preceded in death by his mother, Nell Irvin Payne.

Robert is survived by his loving wife, Sandy, devoted daughter Hallie Payne, son-in-law David Goldsmith and granddaughters Nell and Hazel and his father, Ralph M. Payne.

As gathering restrictions are lifted, upcoming celebration of life service plans will be shared by the family.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to any of the following: Glory Ridge, P.O. Box 363, Marshall, NC 28753; Holy Trinity Episcopal Church, 607 N. Greene St., Greensboro, NC 27401 to either the Episcopal Youth Ministry care of Rev. Nathan Finnin, or the Robert Payne Pilgrimage Scholarship Fund care of Rev. Gregory Farrand; Authoracare Collective (Hospice), 2500 Summit Ave., Greensboro, NC 27405; Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.

Hanes Lineberry North Elm Chapel is serving the Robert Irvin Payne family. Online condolences may be sent to www.haneslineberryfuneralhomes.com.

Copyright (c) 2020 Greensboro News & Record

Thomas Wilson Warlick ’56

Thomas Wilson Warlick '56

Thomas Wilson Warlick, 85, a Newton attorney and prominent cultural, civic, historical, and educational leader on both the local and state level, died on Tuesday, August 20, 2019, after a brief illness.

Funeral services will be conducted at 2:00 p.m., on Friday, August 23, 2019, at Newton First Presbyterian Church by the pastor, the Rev. Dr. David A. Roquemore. The family will receive friends in the church social hall following the service. There will be a private interment in the family plot at Eastview Cemetery.

Warlick was born in Newton on July 4, 1934, the son of the late Wilson Warlick, for many years a federal judge overseeing US courts in the Western North Carolina District, and the late Kittie Reed Hipp Warlick.

He is survived by a sister, Martha Reed Warlick Brame of Rockville MD., and a niece, Brandon Brame Fortune of Bethesda MD, as well as grandnieces Martha Fortune and Elizabeth Fortune and one great grandnephew, Leo Frankenberger.

In 1999 Warlick was the recipient of the North Carolina Governor’s Award in the Arts and Humanities, presented during a ceremony in Raleigh by Governor James B. Hunt. In 2002 he was the recipient of the North Carolina Order of the Long Leaf Pine, bestowed by Governor Michael Easley. Warlick was a Colonel in the United States Army Reserve. He served as attorney for the Town of Catawba from 1985 through 2003. He was chairman and is currently treasurer of the Newton Conover Auditorium Authority and was vice-chairman from 1995 to the present of the Newton Depot Authority.

He was also on the North Carolina Rail Council from 1994 to 2004. Warlick was chairman, vice chairman and director of the Catawba County Economic Development Corporation (formerly Catawba County Industrial Development Commission).

He is a former president, vice president, and director of the Catawba County United Way. He was president, vice president, treasurer, and trustee of the Historical Association of Catawba County (formerly Catawba County Historical Association) where he served as a trustee for 40 years. He served on the Newton Old Soldiers Reunion committee for many years. He was a member of the Sons of the American Revolution.

As a life-long member of First Presbyterian Church of Newton he was an elder and had been treasurer, a deacon and served on the Campaign Steering Committee and the Building Committee for the new sanctuary. He particularly enjoyed serving on the Organ Committee. He had been a director of the Catawba County Chapter of The American Red Cross.

He was president and a director of the Newton-Conover Jaycees and was recipient of the Distinguished Service Award (Outstanding Young Man of the Year) for 1968, presented by the Newton-Conover Jaycees. With a perfect attendance for 56 years record of the Newton-Conover Rotary Club, he served as president, vice president, secretary, and director of the organization. He is the recipient of the Rotary Club Vocational Service Award and the Dr. William T. MacLauchlin Humanities Award. Warlick was a member of the Board of the Directors of the Alexander Railroad Company.

He has been a director and was now a director emeritus of Sipes Orchard Home. He has been chairman, vice-chairman, and a trustee of the Catawba County Library Board of Trustees. He has been the second vice-chairman of the Catawba County Democratic Executive Committee and was president and treasurer of the Catawba County Young Democratic Club. Warlick was a former president, secretary and vice president of the Catawba County Bar Association and has been director and secretary of the Twenty-fifth District Bar Association.

He holds the Bachelor of Science degree from Davidson College, where he was admitted to Phi Beta Kappa, and the Doctor of Jurisprudence Degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill where he was in the Order of the Coif. He was admitted to the North Carolina State Bar and the United States District Court in 1959.

The family requests that any memorials may be given to Newton Depot Authority, P.O. Box 611, Newton, NC, 28658.

Gary Long ’73

Gary Stephen Long, 68, of Kiawah Island, South Carolina, passed away Thursday, July 4, 2019. 

Gary was born January 13, 1951, in Gastonia, North Carolina, son of the late James Darvin Long and Thelma Reneau Long. He had a BA with honors from Davidson College, where he later served as a Trustee and an MBA from Harvard University. 

Gary was Managing Partner & CEO of Pulse Capital Partners. He previously served as President and COO of Investcorp and as SVP at American Express. During his career, he worked in Toronto, New York, Bahrain, and London, where he was a longtime resident. He was a keen wildlife photographer and travelled often to Africa. 

He is survived by his wife, Lee Carpenter-Long; his sisters Maxine Long Hill, Toby Long Bryant, and Ellen Long Faulk. He was predeceased by brother James Darvin Long, Jr. 

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the Gary Long Memorial Fund, Davidson College, PO Box 7170, Davidson, NC 28035. 

His Memorial Service will be held at Davidson College at a later date.

Arrangements by J. Henry Stuhr, Inc. Downtown Chapel.

Jessica-Elise Turner Austin ’03

Jessica-Elise Turner Austin, born October 29, 1980, in Monroe County, Mississippi, passed away Tuesday, April 16, 2019, at George Washington Medical Center, Washington, D. C. She was many amazing things!

Her personality can only be described as “boundless” in nature, begging the question, “How did so much personality find its way into one body!?” She had a dangerously shrewd sense of humor and a frustratingly sharp intellect, and yet, she had room in her heart for all of those who had room in their hearts for others. She was fearless. She was a force of nature. She was everything to her family.

She greedily devoured and enjoyed life and her spirit lives on with us. Jessica was the second of four children born to Honorable Curtis H. Austin, Sr. and his wife, Qua Mattix Austin of Columbus, Mississippi.

She was educated in the Mississippi public school system and attended Demonstration School of Mississippi University for Women, Columbus Municipal School District in Columbus, Mississippi and Mississippi School of Mathematics and Science. Advanced degrees included a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Biology from Davidson College, Davidson, North Carolina, and masters degrees from the University of Pennsylvania in Criminology and Georgia Institute of Technology in International Affairs.

She worked as a reporter for Argus Media. She worked as a market editor for The Oil & Gas Year. She worked as an analyst for Gryphon Scientific.

Throughout her childhood, Jessica attended Sanders Chapel CME Church.

Jessica-Elise is survived by her grandmother, Earline C. Mattix; mother, Qua Austin; brother, Curtis H. Austin and his wife, Emily Austin; sister, Whitney Austin Pointe and husband, Chauncey Pointe; beloved niece and nephew, Mikayla Pointe and Austin C. Pointe; aunts and uncles, John Edwina Mattix, Florette D. Mattix, Virginia Austin Howard, Mary A. Woodrick and husband, Rev. Bobby Woodrick, Peggy Austin Greene, Ineather Austin, Carol Austin Bryant, Dr. Cynthia Austin Melvin, Janice Coleman Ewiing and husband, Dr. Willie B. Ewing, Brenda Coleman Randolph and husband, Jerry Randolph and Dr. Carolyn Coleman Denard and husband, Don Denard.

The following relatives predeceased Jessica: her father; sister, Amelia Rebecca Austin; grandparents, Herman Austin and wife, Lucretia Brewer Austin, Nellie Turner Mattix and John E. Mattix; uncles, Harvey L. Austin, and Charles W. Austin.

In lieu of flowers, we would like for Jessica’s community to celebrate her life and commitment to being an Auntie by contributing to what she considered the most worthy of her priorities, the education of her niece and nephew. So please contribute to the GoFundMe Campaign titled “Education Fund in Memory of Jessica Austin”. The URL for the campaign is as follows: https://www.gofundme.com/education-fund-in-memory-of-jessica-austin.

Gifts in the form of checks can be made out to and mailed to her brother, Curtis H. Austin, at the following address: Curtis H. Austin, 1128 Florida Ave. NE, Washington, DC 20002.

Copyright 2019, The Commercial Dispatch, All Rights Reserved.