Obituaries, January 30, 2014

Jan. 29, 2014 @ 05:39 PM


Flora Ann Adams China
DURHAM — Flora Ann Adams China “Mama China,” of Durham, formerly of Angier, was given God’s grace, mercy and peace on January 24, 2014 at 12:50 PM at Duke Regional Medical Center in Durham, NC.
Funeral services will be held Saturday, February 1, 2014 at 1 PM at World Overcomers Christian Church, 2945 S. Miami Blvd., Durham. Burial will follow in Glenview Memorial Park, Durham. Viewing will be Friday, January 31, 2014 from 1 PM – 6 PM at Dafford Funeral Home, 50 Tippet Road, Angier, and from 12 Noon – 1 PM Saturday at the Church.
She leaves to cherish her memory her faithful and devoted husband, James China, Jr.; two daughters, Courtnay China Avery (Thurston) and Domonique Andrea China; honorary daughter, Melissa Jane Lennon; six sons, Demetricus O’Brien China, Derek Lemont China (Monica), Jonathan O’Neal China (Evelyn), Thurneson Lewis China, Tommy Darren China, and Brandon Deshon China, all of Raleigh/Durham, NC.
Arrangements by Dafford Funeral Home of Angier, (919) 639-2091,

Millie Jane Blacknall Kelly
DURHAM — Millie Jane Blacknall Kelly, 98, departed this life on January 27, 2014. She is survived by daughter Jacquelyn K. Glenn, adopted daughter Carolyn B. Williams and godson Milton Howell; a special cousin and a host of loving relatives and friends.
Services will be held at Mt. Olive A.M.E. Zion Church Saturday at 1:00 pm with visitation at noon.
Arrangements entrusted to Holloway Memorial Funeral Home.

Merle Dwane Knott
DURHAM — Mr. Merle Dwane Knott, 53, of 1700 Baptist Road, died on Monday, January 27, 2014.
Mr. Knott was a native and lifelong resident of Durham. He owned and operated Central Auto Sales and Service in Butner. He was a founding member of New Grace Baptist Church of Raleigh and a band member of Silver Wings and Fishers of Men. He was a member of the Piedmont Bass Classic Club. He was a devoted son, husband, father, grandfather and brother that loved kids and kids loved him.
He was preceded in death by his grandparents, Audrey Rigsbee and Lawrence Rigsbee; Aunt, Linda Mitchell.
He is survived by his wife, Dina Thomas Knott; his parents, John and Judy Knott; son, Joshua Dwane Knott of Durham; daughter, Allison Knott Hobbs and husband, Gene of Durham; twin brother, Gerald Wayne Knott of Durham; two sisters, Jill Knott Rhew and husband, Mike of Durham, Jan Knott Patrick of Durham; three grandchildren, Tucker Milligan, Landon Milligan and Camden Geddings; sisters-in-law, Wanda Shankle, Susan Oakes and husband, Bobby, Tina Stanley and husband, Pat; brothers-in-law, Clifford Davis and wife, Judy; numerous nieces, nephews; great-nieces, nephews and cousins.
Funeral services will be held on Saturday at 3 p.m. at Shady Grove Free Will Baptist Church. Rev. Jimmy Pulley and Rev. Tim McCreight will officiate. Burial will be in Oak Grove Memorial Gardens.
The family will receive friends on Friday from 6 to 8 p.m. at Hudson Funeral Home and other times at the home of John and Judy Knott, 2118 Baptist Road. Flowers are acceptable or memorial gifts may be made to New Grace Baptist Church of Raleigh, 12325 Old Creedmoor Road, Raleigh, NC 27613. Online condolences can be made at

Albert McFail
DURHAM — Funeral services for Albert McFail will be held Friday January 31, 2014 at Fisher Funeral Parlor at 2 p.m. with visitation being held one hour prior to service.
Survivors include son, William Edward McFail (Joyce), of Oxford, NC, one grandson, three granddaughters, 9 great-grandchildren, a host of nieces, nephews, relatives and friends.
Arrangements made by Fisher Funeral Parlor.

Alice Marie Richards
DURHAM — Alice Marie Richards, 86, died Tuesday, January 28, 2014 at her home. Born March 2, 1927 to John and Ella Robertson in Staten Island, NY, Alice was a legal secretary in NY City before moving to North Carolina in 1962. Her husband, John F. “Jack” Richards, died in July of 2013.
Alice was a 50-year member and received the Lifetime Membership Award from Catholic Daughters of America Court Durham Chapter. She joined Catholic Daughters in 1963, less than a year after moving to Durham. In typical fashion, she became active immediately and was elected to the office of treasurer in 1964. This was the first of many offices that Alice held, including Recording Secretary, Vice Regent and Regent. She served again as treasurer in 2006. Her enthusiasm and commitment to Catholic Daughters was evident to all as she served on many committees throughout the years. These included the Famous Fashion Shows, the Quilt Raffle, Duke Fundraisers, State Raffle Ticket sales, Bingo and Oldham Towers as well as many bake sales and yard sales. She demonstrated strong leadership as chairman of several committees. Whether in a supporting role or leading role, she was a Catholic Daughter everyone could always count on.
Surviving are two sons, Don Richards of Durham and Gary Richards and his fiancée, Kathryn Gurley of Durham; grandchildren, Elizabeth and Charles “Chuck” Richards; two sisters, Elsie Weist and husband, Ray of New Jersey, Evelyn “Rusty” Ennis and husband, Jim of New Jersey.
Family will be present 6-8 p.m. Thursday at Hall-Wynne Funeral Service, 1113 West Main St., Durham. A Funeral Mass will be celebrated 12 p.m. Friday at St. Matthew Catholic Church with Fr. Thanh Nguyen presiding. Interment will follow at St. Matthew Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, donations in Alice’s memory may be made to Duke Hospice, The American Lung Association, or to St. Matthew Catholic Church. Online condolences at See Obituaries.


Harvey Torain Jr.
CEDAR GROVE — Harvey Torain Jr., 61, son of Lottie Delevia Torain and the late Harvey Torain Sr., died Jan. 27, 2014 in his home.
The funeral will be conducted 2:00 PM Friday in Martin's Chapel Baptist Church with family visitation 1:30 until 2:00PM before the funeral. Burial in the church cemetery.
He is survived by his wife, Donna Jeffries Torain; two sons, Chance Torain (Kristin), Joshua Torain (Jenifer); a daughter, LaShawn Torain; his mother, Lottie Deliva Torain and five sisters, Wanda Russell (Wayne), Vanessa Summers (Leon), Anita Foust, Mary Garrison (Ricky), Gwendolyn Stewart (Tyrone), 11 grandchildren and 5 great-grandchildren, a host of relatives and friends.
Public viewing 12:00 until 6PM Thursday in Chavis-Parker Funeral Home.


Mary Louise Gordon Brown
GREENSBORO — Mary Louise Gordon Brown, 88, of Greensboro passed away Tuesday, January 28 at The Care & Wellness Center at Whitestone Place.
Mary Louise was born February 1, 1925 in Birmingham, AL to James Burton and Elizabeth Florence Holt. She was married to William Samuel Gordon in 1945 until his passing in 1976.
Mary Louise and Bill met early during World War II in Georgia where Bill was stationed during training as an officer before duty in the Pacific Theater. They were deeply in love and upon Bill’s survival and return, they were married in Birmingham, AL on June 25, 1945. During the war, Mary Louise worked for the US Navy in Key West, FL. Bill was later stationed in Greensboro in advance of deployment from ORD (Overseas Repository Depot), fell in love with Greensboro and noted what a wonderful place Greensboro would be to raise a family. After the war, following short stints in FL and VA, they settled in Greensboro for good.
Mary Louise was a free spirit and embarked on a lifelong educational journey, spending a great deal of time with her close friends at UNC-G and Guilford College. She was involved in many projects, particularly the Weatherspoon Art Museum during its strongly formative years. Later, she was active in the English Speaking Union. A long-time political thinker, Mary Louise never saw a war she liked and was quick to voice her opinions on just about any topic. She would often say that she was one of the last of ‘yellow dog Democrats.’ She would yell at neighbors for cutting down trees.
Mary Louise was devoted to her family and her home. She spent many days with her grandchildren and was blessed with two great-grandchildren.
Mary Louise married Richard Brown on April 19, 1986 and they settled into her home on Henderson Road where they remained until recently. Dick Brown took great care of Mary Louise for many years, and the family will remain forever grateful for Dick’s love and kindness.
Mary Louise is survived by husband Richard (Dick) Brown, sister Elizabeth Kay (Austin, TX); sons Dr. William Holt Gordon and wife Carol of Durham, NC; Richard Curtis Gordon and wife Martha of Greensboro; grandchildren Lauren Gordon Fry (James) of Greensboro and great-grandchildren Sylvan and Owen, William Gordon (friend Elizabeth Vernon) of Greensboro; Caroline Gordon Barlow (Richard) of Pittsboro, NC; Holt Gordon of Durham; nephews James Kay of Austin, TX and Bobby Kay (Austin, TX).
There will be a private service. Memorial contributions may be made to Hamilton Lakes & Parks Association, P.O. Box 10123, Greensboro, NC 27404 in memory of Mary Louise Gordon Brown.
Online condolences may be sent to Hanes Lineberry North Elm Chapel is assisting the Brown family.

Catherine Faye Mabry Ellis Howerton
TAYLORSVILLE — Mrs. Catherine Faye Mabry Ellis Howerton, 75, passed away Tuesday, January 28, 2014 at Valley Nursing Center. She was born in Durham County to the late John Paul Mabry and the late Effie Mae Carlton. Mrs. Howerton was also preceded in death by her husband, Sandy Ellis; daughter, Debra Ellis; and brother, Ronald Mabry. She was a Project Manager for Duke University for 27 years.
Mrs. Howerton is survived by her brother, Arnold Mabry, Sr. and wife, Serilla; sister, Carolyn Ellis; previous spouse, Wayne Howerton; 11 nieces and nephews and her special friend and companion, Fluffy.
Graveside service will be held 2 p.m., Saturday at Ellis Chapel United Methodist Church Cemetery.
The family is being assisted by Clements Funeral Service, Inc., in Durham, N.C. Online condolences may be made at