Obituaries, June 4, 2014

Jun. 03, 2014 @ 05:18 PM


Maria Cuttino
DURHAM — Ms. Maria Cuttino, 97, passed on Saturday, May 31, 2014 at the Carver Living Center.
Services will take place on Friday, June 6, 2014, at Victory At Calvary Covenant Church, 500 N. Driver Street, at 1 p.m. The family will meet with friends one hour prior to the service.
Arrangements are by Scarborough and Hargett Memorial Chapel and Gardens, Inc.

Lee T. Sellars
DURHAM — Mr. Lee T. Sellars, 97, peacefully passed away on May 31, 2014 at Duke Hock Family Pavilion. His service will be conducted at 12pm on Thursday, June 5, 2014 at St Mark A.M.E. Zion Church, 531 S. Roxboro St. Interment will follow in Lee Memory Gardens, Sanford, NC. The family will receive friends from 11am-12pm on Thursday at the church one hour prior to the service and all other times at 5106 Old Well St.
Mr. Sellars is survived by his godson, David T. Sellars, Sr. (Gloria), two brothers, four sisters and a host of nieces, nephews and other loving relatives and friends.
Arrangements by Burthey Funeral Service.

Benjamin Tillman Russell Wilkes
DURHAM — Mr. Benjamin Tillman Russell Wilkes, age 49, died Monday, June 2, 2014. He was born on July 5, 1964 in Dillon, S.C. He has been a lifelong resident of Durham, N.C.
The funeral service will be held at 3:00 pm, Saturday, June 7th at The Church of God of Prophecy, 4907 Denfield St., Durham.
Survivors are the mother of his children, Lisa Bowling; two sons, Chris and Josh Wilkes of Franklinton, N.C.; mother, Sue Rios; two sisters, Pansy and Tammy Gray; two brothers, Johnny Gray and Rustie Pratt; and many nieces and nephews, all of Durham.

Bishop Angela Williams
DURHAM — Bishop Angela Williams passed on Friday, May 30, at UNC Hospital surrounded by her family.
She is survived by two sons, her mother, step-father, two grandchildren, two sisters, three brothers and other relatives and friends.
Services for Bishop Angela B. Williams will be held on Thursday, June 5, 2014 at Church of God In Christ, 815 Fargo St., Durham, NC at 11:30 am with visitation from 10:30 am to 11:30 am.
Arrangements entrusted to Holloway Memorial Funeral Home.


John Manley Dennison
CHAPEL HILL — John Manley Dennison, 80, went to be with his Lord on Monday, June 2, 2014 at his home. John M. Dennison was born in Keyser, West Virginia on April 13, 1934. He was the second of two children by Raymond Lewis Dennison and Edna Sturm Dennison. He was preceded in death by his brother, Byron Dennison.
An early interest in rocks and fossils on the dairy farm where he was raised led to a career in geology. He attended West Virginia University for his undergraduate degree. Schooling was interrupted by two years in the Army, where he served as a rocket engine test engineer at what is now Marshall Space Center. After leaving military service, he learned that two of the engines he worked with as weapons systems had also been diverted to become the second and third stage launch engines of the first U.S. satellite in 1957. After his military service, he went to the University of Wisconsin and earned his Ph.D. in geology in 1960. He then taught at the University of Illinois, the University of Tennessee, and finally, from 1967 until 2002, at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill. His investigations were varied, but focused on the strata of the Appalachians from Alabama to New York and their associated fossils, mineral resources, and the geologic history of their developing structures and topography. His research spanned over half a century of scientific publications, more than a hundred in number. He humbly received many professional honors.
From 1957 until 1972, he was married to Wilma Kay Bailey. That marriage resulted in a son, John Robert Dennison, who is now a physics professor at Utah State University. That lineage produced granddaughter, Sarah Dennison, and grandson, Jim Dennison.
In 1972, John M. Dennison married Sondra Wise, and that marriage endured until 1980. In 1989, he married Priscilla Anne Lechner and has resided since with her in Chapel Hill, NC. John and Priscilla Dennison have a daughter, Abigail Marie Dennison. They were married and worshiped these years at Ephesus Baptist Church in Chapel Hill.
John M. Dennison was the middle of a three-generation family of teachers in public colleges and universities, and he especially enjoyed working with students who were first experiencing the awakening of university education. Many of his students have become lifelong friends, and several have continued collaboration with John as their own research careers matured. John thought it was important that the university environment interact with the world of larger scope, and he was a strong participant in professional and industrial geologic groups, reasoning that his teaching would become more relevant to the practical world.
He enjoyed field work and probably examined more of the strata of the Appalachians than any other geologist. A favorite saying of John’s was that “Geology is made up of mostly people, a few rocks, and some interesting restaurants along the way.” Science is a creation of the human mind, and the joy of being a scientist is the active participation in the personal development of knowledge.
A funeral service will be held at 11 a.m. Thursday at Ephesus Baptist Church with Dr. Harry Byrd officiating. Burial will follow in the church cemetery. The family will receive friends prior to the service from 10 to 11 a.m. at the church.
Flowers are acceptable or memorial donations can be made to Carolina Covenant at
The family is being assisted by Clements Funeral Service, Inc., in Durham, N.C. Online condolences may be made at

Brenda Barker Pendergraft
CARRBORO — Brenda Barker Pendergraft was born in Durham, NC, on March 8, 1957, to the late Clifton and Mary Barker. She passed away, June 1, 2014, at UNC Hospitals after a brief illness, surrounded by her family. She enjoyed an active professional life as a dedicated employee of AT&T for 38 years. Along with her husband, Terry, she is survived by her children, Chris, wife Angela of Haw River; Jeremy, wife Kayla of Mebane; and Kelly Burton, husband Brad of Rougemont; as well as two grandchildren, Waylon and Memphis Pendergraft. Visitation will be held at Walker’s Funeral Home, Chapel Hill, Wednesday, June 4th from 6-8 p.m. Funeral services will be held Thursday, June 5th, 11 a.m. at Walker’s Funeral Home. Interment will follow at Westwood Cemetery Carrboro.


Christopher Cross Pennington
MORRISVILLE — Christopher Cross Pennington, 25, died Sunday, June 1, 2014. He was born in Albany, NY on September 14, 1988. He was self-employed delivering furniture.
He is survived by his mother, Chevion Taylor of Clayton; step-father, David Taylor; daughter, Saniah Pennington; girlfriend, Tenisha Evans; brothers, David Michael Taylor, Victor Muniz, Jose Muniz; grandmother, Deborah Pennington; grandfather, Terrence Pennington; great-grandmother, Rosemary Smith; aunts, Letitia Pennington, La-Toya Rose Pennington, Tiffany Pennington; uncle, Terrence Pennington and 7 cousins.
A memorial service will be held 2 p.m., Saturday at Clements Funeral Chapel in Durham with Mr. Gary Tyson officiating. There is no visitation planned.
The family is being assisted by Clements Funeral Service, Inc., in Durham, N.C. Online condolences may be made at