Obituaries, February 15, 2014

Feb. 14, 2014 @ 05:20 PM


Mary Esther Williams Harward
DURHAM — Mary Esther Williams Harward, 96, died at home Tuesday. A Durham native, she was born January 6, 1918 in Watts Hospital to Claude B. and Ruth (Gentry) Williams. Mary Esther was educated at George Watts Elementary, Carr Junior and Durham High Schools. Following graduation in 1940 from Meredith College, she began a 37-year career as a third grade teacher, spending most of her tenure at Watts Street School. She adored children and will be remembered as one of Durham’s beloved and gifted teachers with an enduring positive influence.
Mary Esther was a lifelong member of First Baptist Church, where she sang in the choir and taught Sunday school to 5-year-olds for more than 30 years. In later years she was a member of the church’s Loyalty Class, where she valued her many friendships.
After retirement Mary Esther enjoyed working as a volunteer at Duke Hospital’s gift shop and the Caring Center at First Baptist. She was a member of Alpha Delta Kappa teachers’ sorority, Alpha Mu chapter.
Mary Esther stayed busy throughout her long and productive life. She spent hours-on-end doing beautiful handwork, working in her yard, reading, and taking trips with friends and family.
Surviving are her daughters, Susan Harward and Cheryl Harward, both of Durham; her brother, Claude B. Williams of Durham; and several nieces and nephews. She was predeceased in 1999 by her husband, Ray Harward. Mary Esther was devoted to her many pet dogs over the years, all of whom she considered a part of her family.
Funeral services will be 2:00 PM Saturday in the Chapel of Hall-Wynne Funeral Service, with friends received in the funeral home 1-2:00 PM Saturday. Burial will follow in Maplewood Cemetery. Memorial contributions may be made to the Independent Animal Rescue, or PO Box 14232, Durham 27709. Online memorials:

Lydia “Elizabeth” Barton Utley
DURHAM — Lydia “Elizabeth” Barton Utley, born Dec. 5, 1922, was joyfully received in Heaven Feb. 14, 2014. Loved and cherished by all who knew her, she will be dearly missed. She will always be remembered as an inspiration in her unwavering faith in God, love of her family, and her ability to bring a joy of life to all she encountered. She amazed us all with her strength and humor.
In 2007, Ole West Durham Resident, Mrs. Utley, was recognized for her feisty and generous contributions to the neighborhood by the InterNeighborhood Council of Durham with a Neighborhood Hero Award. She was a force to be reckoned with as head of the West Durham neighborhood group in the 1970s, 80s, and early 90s working with others to get things done. This included working and succeeding with Carolina Action in getting West Main Street paved and stopping fast food restaurant and filling station from coming to West Main in the 1980s.
She volunteered to speak about the history of the Erwin Mill village for Preservation Durham and agreed to be interviewed for a college senior’s paper on the history of West Durham. (The paper won Yale University’s outstanding history award for 2007.)
Mrs. Utley was predeceased by her parents, Alex Hubert “Hue” Barton and Minnie Rasberry Barton; husband, James Paul Utley, Sr.; daughter, Linda Utley Wright; brothers, Walter, Hubert Gene, and Malcolm Barton; sisters, Lela Mae Barton, Lola Greenhill, Dorothy Chestnutt and Virginia Tolley.
She is survived by her children, Myra U. Harris and husband, Thomas of Durham, James P. Utley, Jr. of Myrtle Beach, SC, Susan Utley of Durham, Ernest Wright, husband of Linda of Timberlake; grandchildren, Danny Greene, Jr., Terry Greene and wife, Donna, Elizabeth “Lisa” Wright Varner and husband, Bryan, Jennifer Harris, Amy Wright Gregory and husband, Russell, Jessica Dick; seven great-grandchildren and four great-great-grandchildren.
Services will be held, Tuesday, Feb. 18 at 11:30 a.m. at West Durham Pentecostal Holiness Church, located on the corner of Hillsborough Rd. and Oakland Ave. in Durham with gravesite rites at Maplewood Cemetery. Family will receive friends in the church sanctuary prior to the service from 10:00 to 11:30 and in the home on Sunday, February 16 from 1 to 4 p.m.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made to Duke Home Care and Hospice, 4341 Medical Park Drive, Suite 101, Durham, NC 27704.
The family is being assisted by Clements Funeral Service, Inc., in Durham, N.C. Online condolences may be made at


William Preston Green
CREEDMOOR — William Preston Green, 93, a resident of 1587 Dove Rd., died on Monday at Duke Regional Hospital. He was the son of the late Willie T. Green and Ila Bullock Green.
He is survived by two daughters, Fran Brown, Windsor Mill, MD and Ruby Eaton, Apex, NC; one son, William Preston Green, Jr., Butner, NC; four sisters, Evelyn Green, Louise Gray, Maureene Landis and Geraldine Gooch, all of Creedmoor, NC; one brother, Willie Tony Green, Creedmoor, NC; three grandchildren and six great-grandchildren.
Funeral services will be conducted Saturday at 12:00 noon at Wright Funeral Home Chapel by Pastors Gattis and Jeannette Faulcon. Burial will be in Pine Grove Baptist Church cemetery. Viewing will begin Friday from 11:00 A.M. until 6:00 P.M. at Wright Funeral Home. The family will receive visitors one hour prior to services at the funeral home.