Obituaries, June 13, 2014

Jun. 12, 2014 @ 05:07 PM


William M. Nance
DURHAM — William M. “Billy” Nance, age 62, a resident of 3501 Wake Forest Highway, died Wednesday morning at his home.
Born January 24, 1952 in Durham, Billy was the son of the late Garland Maitland Nance, Sr., and Myrtle Ammons Nance. He had been a resident of the Oak Grove Community all his life and for the past 20 years had operated Nance Auto and Truck Repair. Billy was a member of Olive Branch Baptist Church.
Surviving are his daughter, Wendy Nance Watson of Durham, his son, Michael J. Nance of Durham, two brothers, Paul T. Nance and Garland M. “Maitland” Nance both of Durham, and two grandchildren, Ashlynn Watson and Robert Vaughan Wilson.
Funeral services will be held Saturday at 2:00 PM at the Howerton & Bryan Funeral Chapel, Dr. Gerald Goodwin, Rev. Ed Denton, and Rev. Tim Wheeler officiating. Burial will be in the Olive Branch Baptist Church Cemetery.
The family will receive friends at Howerton & Bryan Funeral Home Friday from 6 to 8 PM.
Online condolences may be submitted to Select Obituaries.

Vernette Wittenberg Propes
DURHAM — Vernette Wittenberg Propes of Durham, NC, died peacefully on June 11, 2014 at the age of 85. Born in Alexander County in the community of Bethlehem on November 9, 1928, to Letha and Ransom Wittenberg. Vernette grew up in a family of eight brothers and sisters. She was a devoted daughter, sister, mother, and grandmother and great-grandmother who loved her family most of all. As an adult Vernette lived in several North Carolina cities, but she spent the majority of her life in Durham. She was a longtime employee of Hillcrest where she was Social Director for residents. An extension of her own vivacious personality, Vernette loved bringing joy, fun, and activity into the residents’ lives. Vernette is survived by her three sons, whom she loved first, last, and always: Dascheil Darrell Propes and wife, Mary, of Raleigh, NC, Blair Wittenberg Propes and wife, Karen, of Rougemont, NC, and Dewitt Drew Propes and Regina Stehlik, of Wake Forest, NC. Vernette is also survived by four grandchildren and one great-grandchild of whom she was proud as only a grandmother can be: Mary Margaret Propes of Raleigh, NC; Rebecca Ann Terry, husband Vernon and daughter Aubrey Ann, of Rolesville, NC; and Brooke Anneliese Propes and Adam Drew Propes, of Wake Forest, NC. A memorial celebration of her life will be held on Sunday, June 15, 2014 at 2 p.m. at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in Durham, NC. A reception for family and friends will follow the service. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to St. Paul’s Lutheran Church. Arrangements are by the Cremation Society of the Carolinas.

Grover Smith
DURHAM — Grover Smith of Durham, NC passed away on June 10, 2014 at The Forest at Duke Healthcare Center. With his wife, Barbara, he had been a resident of The Forest at Duke Retirement Community since 1998. Professor Smith was born in Atlanta, GA on September 6, 1923, the son of Grover Cleveland Smith, Sr. and Lillian Julia McDaniel Smith. He attended Boys High of Atlanta and had the distinction of four times winning the annual statewide high school competition in Latin. Upon graduating from high school, he attended Columbia University in 1941 on a full scholarship but was soon singled out for an even more generous one, the Henry Evans. He joined the Debate Council and wrote for Jester and Columbia Review. Elected to Philolexian in 1943, he was awarded the Society’s poetry prize. In 1944 he received the B.A. with honors in English Literature, in 1945 the M.A., and in 1950 the Ph.D. He was the Alexander M. Proudfit Fellow in Letters during 1945-1946. Smith taught at Rutgers and at Yale and then for forty-one years at Duke University, becoming Emeritus professor in 1993. His publications included T.S. Eliot’s Poetry and Plays, Letters of Aldous Huxley, The Waste Land, and T.S. Eliot and the Use of Memory. He held Guggenheim and NEH fellowships and was a member of the National Association of Scholars. Smith was a noted T.S. Eliot scholar both nationally and internationally, and served as president of the T.S. Eliot Society of St. Louis from 1989 to 1991. He will be greatly missed as a teacher and for his brilliant mind, erudition, wit, and stimulating conversation. He was a devoted husband, father, and grandfather, and meticulous about remembering special events both personal and literary. He will be remembered by everyone who encountered him in life, and in death, will be quoted many times. He is survived by his second wife of forty-nine years, Barbara Soper Smith; his daughter, Alice Elizabeth Smith and grandchildren, Ean and Ellie Smith, of Hallowell, Maine; his sons, Charles Grover Smith and Stephen Kenneth Smith of Durham; and his daughter, Julia Margaret Smith of Huntersville. The family wishes to express great gratitude for the care that Smith received at the Healthcare Center and the support and practical help from all the staff at The Forest at Duke. There will be a private celebration of his life sometime in the fall. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Salvation Army and to the National Alliance for Mental Illness of Durham.


Dale Clark Smith
OXFORD — Dale Clark Smith died Thursday at her home. She was a native of Vance County and was the daughter of the late Harry Hunter and Joyce Forsythe Clark. Dale was a house wife and a member of Oxford Baptist Church.
Funeral services will be conducted Saturday, June 14, 2014 at 11:00 AM in Oxford Baptist Church by Rev. Chris Aho. Burial will be in Elmwood Cemetery.
Surviving is her husband, Edward Ossie Smith; daughters, Jennifer S. Keith and Elizabeth S. Land (Sheldon) all of Oxford; three grandchildren, Lauren Keith Madeline Keith and Holden Land; three sisters, Diane Owen, Denise Corbitt and Julia Brooks; two nephews.
The family will receive friends Saturday from 10:00 AM until 11:00 AM prior to the services in the parlor of the church. At other times they will be at the home.
The Smith family is under the care of Gentry-Newell & Vaughan Funeral Home. Online memorials at Select Obituaries.


Mahlon D. Williams, Sr.
CHAPEL HILL — Mahlon D. Williams, Sr., 63, of Chapel Hill, passed into glory on June 9, 2014.
Born on May 13, 1951, he grew up in Rocky Mount. He attended North Carolina Central University (NCCU) as a football player, graduated with a B.S. in Chemistry, and was in the 1973 NFL football draft. He retired in 1996 from the Carrboro Police Department. In recent years, Mahlon worked at Club Nova, a Carrboro non-profit serving the mentally ill.
He was an adored and respected man who, somehow, did it all, and loved the Lord. His favorite saying was, God is!!
Mahlon is survived by his wife of 42 years, Veronica, 7 children, 2 grandchildren, and several loving extended family.
A Celebration of his life will be Monday, June 16, 2014 at Grace Church, 200 Sage Rd., Chapel Hill, 27514, at 1pm, with visitation at 12pm. Jones Funeral Home in Chapel Hill is providing visitation on Sunday until 7pm and Monday morning starting at 8am.
Condolences can be sent to 107 Gristmill Lane, Chapel Hill, NC 27514.


Samuel Earl Whitfield
HURDLE MILLS — Samuel Earl Whitfield, 84 of 1662 Robert Whitfield Road died Wednesday, June 11, 2014. He was born in Person County to the late James Arthur and Pearl Long Whitfield. Also preceding him in death was his wife of 60 years, Betty Jean Carver Whitfield, his grandson, Shane Whitfield, eight brothers and two sisters. Mr. Whitfield retired from Western Electric, was a farmer, and a member of CWA.
Surviving are five children, Ann W. and John Murray, of Burlington, Jerry E.
and Lisa Whitfield, of Hurdle Mills, Janet W.and Walter Watkins, of Louisburg, Barry L. and Deborah Whitfield, of Hurdle Mills, and Tammy W. and Gary Carroll, of Hurdle Mills; three brothers, Fred L. Whitfield, of Roanoke Rapids, David E. Whitfield, of Hurdle Mills, and Richard A. Whitfield, of Hurdle Mills; ten grandchildren, Sam Murray, Amanda Rose, Trinity Whitfield, T.C. Whitfield, Tracy Solomon, Jeremy Whitfield, Suzanne Whitfield, Christopher Whitfield, Elizabeth Carroll, and Justin Carroll; and six great-grandchildren.
Funeral services will be held 3:15 PM Friday, June 13, 2014 at Brooks and White Chapel by the Rev. Mike Whitt and Rev. Joel Bradsher. Burial will follow in Clement Baptist Church Cemetery. Visitation will be held prior to the service from 1:00-3:00 PM at Brooks and White Funeral Home.
Pallbearers will be grandsons: Sam Murray, Jeremy Whitfield, Tracy Solomon, Trinity Whitfield, Christopher Whitfield, T.C. Whitfield, Justin Carroll, and Roger Rose, grandson-in-law.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to Clement Baptist Church Building Fund, c/o Dawn Howard, 1445 Robert Whitfield Road, Hurdle Mills, NC 27541 or Hurdle Mills Volunteer Fire Department, P.O. Box 160, Hurdle Mills, NC 27541.
Condolences may be sent to


Kathleen Smith Burch
ELLIJAY, Ga. — Mrs. Kathleen Smith Burch, age 99, of Ellijay, GA, formerly of Atlanta, GA, died on Tuesday, June 10, 2014, at Cameron Hall in Ellijay, GA. Born January 12, 1915, in Cherokee County, Georgia, she was the daughter of the late Agustus Smith and the late Susan Legg Smith. Mrs. Burch was a member of the First Baptist Church of Ellijay and former member of the Second Ponce de Leon Baptist Church in Atlanta, GA. She served as the President of Georgia State College Women's Club and was a member of several civic organizations including the Daughters of the American Revolution and Daughters of the Confederacy. Mrs. Burch is preceded in death by her husband, J.C. Horton Burch, and seven brothers and sisters.
Surviving are daughters and sons-in-law, Nancy and Ronnie Gheesling of Ellijay, GA and Susan and Rev. Thomas Clark of Jackson, MS; son and daughter-in-law, Jim and Susan Burch of Savannah, GA; eight grandchildren; four great-grandchildren; sister-in-law, Jenny Smith of Fayetteville, GA.
A graveside service will be at 2:00 PM on Friday June 13th, 2014 at the Maplewood Cemetery located at Duke University Road, Durham, NC, and a Celebration of Life service will take place at 11:00am on Saturday, June 14th, from the First Baptist Church of Ellijay, GA with the Rev. Thomas Clark and Dr. David Drake officiating. Music will be by Lisa Lacey and the soloist will be Dana Burton. In Lieu of Flowers, the family requests that donations be sent to Baptist Global Response or the Lottie Moon Offering For International Missions C/O First Baptist Church at 164 Dalton Street, Ellijay, GA 30540 in memory of Mrs. Burch.
The family will receive friends from 10:00am-11:00am on Saturday June 14th, 2014, at the Welcome Center of the First Baptist Church in Ellijay.
Online condolences may be made to the family at

Dewey F. Harris
FAIRFIELD, Penn. — Dewey F. Harris, 82, passed away peacefully at the home of his son, Carl Harris, on June 11, 2014, in Fairfield, PA. Dewey was born in Durham, N.C. in 1931, to parents Charlie and Pearl (Griffin) Harris. Dewey pursued a degree in mechanical engineering at NC State and completed it at USC, where he went on to be a successful engineer and manager with Kaman Sciences and Whittaker Corporation. Dewey was one of the inventors of the high-frequency cable that was used in the first capsule to orbit the earth, manned by John Glenn. His cable design is still being utilized in many military and industrial programs today. Dewey, a loving husband, father and grandfather, enjoyed fishing, boating, target practice and installed a great love for the outdoors in his children. A child survivor of scarlet fever, Dewey had a severe hearing loss, which never deterred him from a successful career and taught others to always do their very best. Dewey was preceded in death by his parents, brother Charles, and best friend and brother Carl. He is survived by his three children, Daryl (Michelle) of Lincoln, California, Carl (Jennefer) of Fairfield, Pennsylvania, and Janice (Bill) of Andover, Kansas; former wife, Barbara Harris of Apple Valley, California; grandchildren, Dustin, Emily, Karly, Jonathan, Samuel, Joshua and Tristan; sister, Lorraine (Herb) Smith; and loving cousins, Martha Olive and John “Wesley” Paschall Jr.; and his precious Aunt Goldie Peeler. A memorial service is being planned at Yates Baptist Church, 2819 Chapel Hill Rd., Durham, N.C., on Saturday, July 26, 2014 at 11AM followed by a light luncheon served by the church members. In lieu of flowers, the family asks for donations to be made to any local hospice organization. Dad, you will be greatly missed. We love you so much and are excited for your hearing to be restored so that you can hear all the beautiful sounds of Heaven. Online condolences may be made at