Obituaries, February 9, 2014

Feb. 08, 2014 @ 05:56 PM


Odessa Brown
DURHAM — Odessa Brown passed on Tuesday, February 4, 2014. She is survived by her daughter, Sandra B. Jones. Services will take place on Tuesday, February 11, 2014 at Emmanuel A.M.E. Church, 2018 Riddle Rd, Durham, NC 27713 at 1:30 p.m. The family will receive visitors at 12:30. Services are entrusted to Scarborough and Hargett Memorial Chapel and Gardens.

Becky Heron
DURHAM — Becky Heron, longtime County Commissioner of Durham County, died peacefully in her home in Durham Thursday, January 23, 2014. Becky was 86 years old. She is survived by her husband of 66 years, Dr. Stephen Duncan Heron, Jr., Duke University Emeritus Professor of Geology, her daughter, Stephani Emmons, her son, Stephen Duncan Heron III, and four grandchildren.
Becky was raised in Cheraw, South Carolina. She graduated from the University of South Carolina in 1948. After being active in the community for many years, Becky was elected to the Durham County Board of Commissioners in 1982. “Keep Her On” was her slogan, and kept her on they did. She served Durham County for 29 years.
During her time in office, Becky instigated animal shelter reform, fought to protect Durham’s Eno River, helped to establish the Durham Center for Senior Life, worked to secure environmentally friendly development in Durham County, and brought about more open government. Her dedication and hard work will resound through the community for many years to come.
To continue Becky’s efforts in Durham County, the family requests that in lieu of flowers donations be sent to The Becky Heron Hands and Paws Assistance Fund, 2117 East Club Boulevard, Durham, NC 27704. Monies from this fund will be used to continue Becky's lifelong work to care for animals in need and unite them with loving families. Donations are also accepted online by going to the Animal Protection Society home page and clicking on the tribute to Becky.
In celebration of Becky’s life, a Memorial Service will be held at Duke Chapel on Saturday, February 15, at 10 a.m.

Wanda Ercha Jacula
DURHAM — Wanda Ercha Jacula, 97, of Durham died Saturday, February 8, 2014 at Hillcrest Convalescent Center following a brief illness.
Born in Herkimer, NY she was the daughter of the late Peter Ercha and Anna Hovda Ercha. She and her mother survived the flu pandemic of 1918. Growing up as a child she learned to speak Ukrainian, Polish, and English.
She was a graduate of De Paul University School of Music, a member of Sigma Alpha Sota National Music Sorority. Wanda was also one of the founding members of the Ukrainian Arts Club of Chicago, Program Chairman of the Lyric Opera, La Grange Chapter and President of the Allied Arts Club in La Grange, IL.
She was an accomplished violinist teaching music at St. Teresa College in Kansas City, Missouri and establishing the music department at Lincoln Jr. High School in Berwyn, IL.
Wanda loved music, feeding wildlife, but most of all her family.
She was preceded in death by her husband, Dr. Stephen Jacula, and her son, Stephen Michael Jacula.
She is survived by her daughter, Ann Sotolongo and husband, Carlos; her granddaughters, Emilia Sotolongo and Annamaria Sotolongo and her grandson, Stephen Sotolongo.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be offered 11:00 am on Tuesday, February 11, 2014 at Holy Infant Catholic Church with the Rev. David Devlin, OSFS. Burial will follow in St. Matthew Catholic Cemetery in Durham.
Friends may visit from 6:00 – 8:00p.m. Monday at Hall-Wynne Funeral Service, Durham.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to Blinded Veterans Association, 477 H Street NW, Washington, DC 20090 or a charity of your choice.
Online condolences Select Obituaries.

Jonathan Robert Luis, II
DURHAM — Jonathan Robert Luis, II passed from this life at his home in Melbourne Florida on January 25, 2014. He was the proud father of eight-year-old KayLee Michelle Luis, and six-year-old Evelyn Renee Luis. He further leaves his sister, Regina Prentice, his niece, Luna Rose, and his mother, Carole Logan, all of Satellite Beach, Florida; his father, Jonathan R. Luis, and brother, Joseph Kapriel Luis, of Durham, North Carolina; and many other family members and friends.
Jonathan was born August 22, 1982 and lived in Durham until 2003. He graduated from Riverside High School in 2001. He earned an associate’s degree from Brevard Community College in Melbourne, Florida.
Jonathan was an avid Boy Scout, achieving the rank of Eagle Scout in 1999. He strove to live by the values of the Scout Oath and Law throughout his life.
A funeral service will be held in his honor at 4:00pm on February 15th at St. Matthew's Episcopal Church, 210 St. Mary’s Rd., Hillsborough, NC, where he will be laid to rest.
A memorial fund to benefit Boy Scouts will be set up in his name.

Hazel James Miller
DURHAM — Hazel James Miller, 84, passed away Thursday, February 6, 2014 at Hock Family Pavilion. She was born in Durham County to the late Perry Watson James and the late Ella White Bobbitt James. She was also predeceased by her husband, Charles W. Miller, Sr.; daughter, Susan Bridges; and sister, Dorothy James. Mrs. Miller retired as a secretary from Duke University.
Mrs. Miller is survived by her daughter, Kirsten Beeker and husband, Edward, of Spartanburg, SC; son, Charles W. Miller, Jr. and wife, Jennifer Swanson, of Durham; and a grandson, Will Beeker of Spartanburg, SC.
A graveside service will be held Tuesday 2 PM at Maplewood Cemetery.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to Hock Family Pavilion, 4023 N. Roxboro Rd., Durham, NC 27704.
The family is being assisted by Clements Funeral Service, Inc., in Durham, N.C. Online condolences may be made at

Gordon Neil Peedin
DURHAM — Gordon Neil Peedin, 65, died February 2, 2014 at the UNC Hospital in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. Neil was the son of the late Gordon Neil Peedin, Sr. and the late Lucile Davis Capps from Smithfield, North Carolina. Neil resided most recently in Durham, North Carolina. A Remembrance Donation can be given to your local NAMI ‘National Alliance on Mental Illness’ chapter in his name. Gordon Neil Peedin’s sister, Deborah Capps Black, currently resides in Wilmington, North Carolina.

Juanita Powell
DURHAM — Juanita Powell, 77, departed her life on February 4, 2014. She leaves to cherish her memory five daughters, five sons, twenty-six grandchildren, ten great-grandchildren and a niece.
A wake will be held on Tuesday, February 11, 2014 at Lipscomb Grove Baptist Church at 12 noon and funeral service at 1:00pm.
Arrangements entrusted to Holloway Memorial Funeral Home.

(Ret.) Colonel Thomas “Tom” Michael Pratt
DURHAM — U.S.Air Force (Ret.) Colonel Thomas “Tom” Michael Pratt, 65, of Durham NC, passed away Wednesday, February 5, 2014 at Hock Family Pavilion Duke Hospice.
Tom was born February 12, 1948, in San Antonio, Texas. He was the son of the late Brigadier General William C. Pratt and Catherine Briggs Pratt. Tom graduated from Georgetown Preparatory School, Garrett Park, Maryland in 1966. He then graduated from the United States Air Force Academy in June 1970 with a Bachelor of Science degree in engineering management, and earned a master's degree in personnel management from Central Michigan University in 1977. Tom is also a 1989 graduate of the National War College, Fort McNair, Washington, DC.
He attended undergraduate pilot training at Laughlin Air Force Base, Texas, earned his wings in August 1971, and retired from active duty August 31, 1996, after 26 years of service. His duty included flying F-4 fighter aircraft in the Philippines and Germany. He trained new pilots and other flight instructors in Mississippi and Texas where he commanded the 37th Flying Training Squadron. From 1991 to 1993 he was Base Commander of Columbus Air Force Base, Mississippi, and completed his final military duty in Norfolk, Virginia, where he served as the Inspector General of United States Atlantic Command.
Tom is a command pilot with more than 3000 flying hours. His commendations include the Air Force Commendation Medal with one oak leaf cluster, Meritorious Service Medal with 3 oak leaf clusters, Air Force Training Ribbon, Air Force Overseas Short Tour Ribbon, Air Force Overseas Long Tour Ribbon, National Defense Service Medal with one oak leaf cluster, Air Force Longevity Service Award with 6 oak leaf clusters, Air Force Outstanding Unit Award with 5 oak leaf clusters, Joint Meritorious Unit Award, Defense Superior Service Medal and other commendations.
After his retirement from active duty Tom moved to Palm City, FL where he lived for 9 years. He was a dedicated supporter of Holy Redeemer Catholic Church and served as sacristan, lector, alter server and trainer, wedding and funeral coordinator. Also, as a member of the board of Molly's House in Stuart, FL he organized the annual Clambake and BBQ fundraiser and participated in many other charitable events. During this time, Tom was especially pleased to learn that by being on the National Bone Marrow Donation List he was able to donate to a young man whose life was extended several years. Prior to moving to Durham in 2007, Tom lived at Lake Gaston, NC where he served in many positions at St. Joseph the Worker Catholic Church.
Tom is survived by his wife of 39 years, Kathleen McNally Pratt of Hamilton, OH; his daughters, Kelly Jacobs and husband, Ron of Palm City, FL; Katie Custer and husband, Max of Durham; his brothers, Ted Pratt and wife, Peg of Chapel Hill; Andy Pratt and wife, Frances of Smith Mt. Lake, VA; Jamie Pratt and wife, Denise of Dayton, OH; his sister, Susan Pratt of Smith Mt. Lake, VA; his grandchildren, Sophia Jacobs, Jack Jacobs, Chloe Custer, and Kira Custer.
Friends may visit Thursday, February 13, 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. at Hall-Wynne Funeral Home, Durham, where a vigil will be held. A Mass of Christian Burial will be offered Friday, February 14, 11:00 a.m. at St. Thomas More Catholic Church, 920 Carmichael Street, Chapel Hill, NC 27515. Interment with Full Military Honors will be Tuesday, February 18, 1:00 p.m. at the United States Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, CO.
In lieu of other remembrances, donations may be made to Class of '70 Gift Fund, USAFA Endowment, 3116 Academy Drive, USAF Academy, CO 80840-4475 or The Hock Family Pavilion Hospice at Duke Hospice, 4023 North Roxboro Road, Durham, NC 27704.
Arrangements for the Pratt family are under the care of Hall-Wynne Funeral Service. Online condolences at Select Obituaries.

Catherine Murtha Robbins
DURHAM — Mrs. Catherine Murtha Robbins, 90, passed away peacefully Friday evening at home in Durham with her family at her side. Mrs. Robbins was born in Philadelphia, PA, the daughter of the late John Joseph Murtha and Catherine Beatty Murtha. She was also predeceased by her husband, Dr. Jack G. Robbins, and four brothers and three sisters from Philadelphia.
Mrs. Robbins trained at Hahnemann Hospital where she met her husband, Dr. Robbins. They then moved to Durham where they married. In the early 50s Dr. Robbins opened his dermatological practice on Broad St., where she was his nurse and office manager and continued to be his office manager until they retired in 1992. Both were avid Duke sports fans and would travel with the team to all the National Championship games. They were lifetime members of the original Iron Dukes Club. Catherine was a founding member of the Watts Wives, now the Pink Ladies at Duke Regional Hospital, and was a big supporter of the Nearly New Shop.
Catherine is survived by her children, Sharron Atkinson and husband, Tom, and Stephen Robbins and wife, Tracy; four grandchildren, Seth Atkinson and wife, Brittany, Dara Davis and husband, Eric, Jacob Robbins, and Adam Robbins; two great-grandchildren, Dakota Atkinson and Myles Atkinson; and also extended family in the Philadelphia and New Jersey area.
The family will have a memorial service at a later date.
The family is being assisted by Clements Funeral Service, Inc., in Durham, N.C. Online condolences may be made at


Charlie Curtis Baldwin
CHAPEL HILL — Charlie Curtis Baldwin, 91, entered into eternal life on February 6, 2014 at Chapel Hill Rehab.
The wake will be held on February 10, 2014 from 7 to 8 PM at Jones Funeral Home. The service will be held February 11, 2014 at 12:00 noon at Hamlet Chapel CME Church, 2855 Hamlet Chapel Road, Pittsboro, NC 27312.
He was preceded in death by one son, Chico Baldwin. He leaves to cherish his memories one daughter, Keith Moser; six sons, Charlie (Howard), Joe (Wesley), Willie, Henry, Curtis, and Dale Baldwin.
Arrangements by Jones Funeral Home, Chapel Hill, North Carolina.

Helmy Hamdollah Baligh
HILLSBOROUGH — Dr. Helmy Hamdollah Baligh passed away Monday, January 27 at his home surrounded by his loving family following a long battle with Parkinson’s Disease. He was born in Cairo, Egypt on October 17, 1931 to Hamdollah Baligh and Aziza Tewfik. He was preceded in death by his parents, and two siblings, Samiha Baligh Hafez and Mostapha Baligh.
Helmy matriculated at the English Mission College in Cairo. He studied at Dulwich College and then Brasenose College at Oxford University where he received a BA with Honours. Following graduation, Helmy worked for Standard Oil in Egypt in the management training program.
In 1956, Helmy left Egypt to attend the University of California at Berkeley. He received a Master's of Business Administration in 1958. After fulfilling his military duty in Egypt, he returned to California and enrolled in the Business Administration PhD Program at UC Berkeley. Helmy married Sara Jane Walker in September 1959. He received his PhD in 1963 and became a naturalized citizen in 1965. Helmy was an Associate Professor of Business at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign from 1962 to 1967. He moved the family to North Carolina in 1967 when he took a position at Duke University, where he was recruited to assist in the development of the Graduate Business School at Duke. He developed the first curriculum, became a Full Professor in 1970 and served as the Associate Dean from 1971 to 1973. Helmy took his family to Cairo on sabbatical in 1973 where he taught at Cairo University. Returning to NC in 1974 he continued teaching until his retirement and appointment to Professor Emeritus in 2002. During his tenure he published numerous articles and several books.
Helmy enjoyed spending time with his family, horses, horse racing, foxhunting, soccer, swimming, boxing, rugby and squash. He was a longtime member of the Chapel Hill Tennis Club and the Red Mountain Fox Hounds. He is survived by his wife of 54 years, Sara Jane (Sally Walker) Baligh; three daughters, Aziza Baligh Clark and her husband Scott, Magda Baligh and her husband Nabil Bensimmou, Laila Baligh Patrick and her husband Jay; and four grandchildren, Kenzi and Nazli Clark, and Talib and Adaira Patrick.
In lieu of flowers contributions may be made to the Parkinson’s and Movement Disorders Center, Department of Neurology, School of Medicine, Duke University, Durham, NC. Plans for a celebration of his life will be announced later.

Lowell Edmund Toreson
CHAPEL HILL — Lowell Edmund Toreson, of Chapel Hill, passed away February 5, 2014. He was born on April 20, 1933 in California to Oscar and Kathryn Toreson. He is a 1954 graduate of West Point Military Academy. He married Mary Ellen Hardin on December 23, 1954. They recently entered their 60th year of marriage.
He faithfully served his country for twenty years, retiring as a Lieutenant Colonel. He then served as an Administrator for the Durham Parks and Recreation Department. He was a diehard UNC Tarheel Women’s Soccer and Men’s Basketball fan. One of Lowell’s greatest thrills was his time ushering at the UNC Basketball Games. He also enjoyed providing service visitations with his therapy dog, Lily. During their many years in the military, Lowell and Mary Ellen were fortunate to see much of the world; however, they were most at peace at Yosemite National Park and the NC mountains. Over the years, he enjoyed reading, gardening, bird watching and spending time with his loved ones.
He is survived by his wife, Mary Ellen Toreson; his sister, Nancy Bolan; his five daughters and their husbands, Kathy and Peter Blakney; Karen and Kurt Schaub; Kirsten and Chris Fickel; Lynn and David Hecht; and Laurie Toreson; his grandchildren, Robin, Teresa, Andrew, Samantha, Melissa, and Ryan; as well as three great-grandchildren, Nathan, Camryn, and Isaiah.
A visitation will be held on Tuesday, February 11, 2014 from 6PM until 8PM AT Walker's Funeral Home. Burial will be private at a later date.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to Duke Hospice: Hock Family Pavilion, Duke Homecare and Hospice, Office of Development, 4321 Medical Park Drive, Suite 101, Durham, NC 27704 and the UNC Hospice, P.O. Box 1077, Pittsboro, NC 27312.


Virginia Johnson Lunsford
TIMBERLAKE — Virginia Johnson Lunsford, age 79, of Timberlake, NC passed away peacefully Thursday night, February 6, 2014 at Person Memorial Hospital with her family by her side after a courageous battle with cancer.
Mrs. Lunsford was a native of Chatham County, NC, daughter of the late Ralph Leslie & Cass Fox Johnson and wife of 15 years to Cheatham Donald Lunsford who survives. After retirement from Roxboro Manufacturing she helped her son with catering and prep work at The Homestead Steakhouse. She loved her family and especially her great-granddaughter, Charleigh Burke, and was a member of Antioch Baptist Church. Her hobbies included her yard and working in her flowers.
Surviving in addition to her husband are two sons, Randy L. Cash & wife, Debby of Timberlake, NC, James W. Oliver, Jr. of Roxboro, NC, two step-daughters, Donna Ray Atkins & husband, John of Cocoa, FL, Wanda Faucette of Timberlake, NC, brother, Joe Leslie Johnson of Roxboro, granddaughter, Calyn Cash Burke & husband, Charles, great-granddaughter, Charleigh Catherine Burke and great grandson, Casen Cash Edmund Burke.
In addition to her parents, Mrs. Lunsford is preceded in death by a sister, Hilda Johnson Chambers, granddaughter, Catherine Christy “Cassie” Cash and a step-daughter, Deborah Lunsford Ellis.
A celebration of life and homegoing service will be conducted at 7:30 p.m. Monday, February 10, 2014 at Antioch Baptist Church by the Dr. M. David Chambers. A visitation and meal will be from 5:00 till 7:00 p.m. prior to the service in the church fellowship hall. The public may visit and view Mrs. Lunsford after 2:00 p.m. Monday, February 10 at the church. The family will receive friends other times at the home of Randy & Debby Cash, 155 Frank Timberlake Road, Timberlake, NC. A private interment at Burchwood Cemetery will be held at a later date.
Pallbearers will be Jimmy Bryant, Andy Chambers, Rick Chambers, Eddie Eubanks, Rick Foushee, Paul Hair, Pete Horne, Bryan Moore, Bo Smith and Jeff Taylor. Employees of The Homestead Steakhouse and The Roxboro Homestead Florist will serve as honorary pallbearers.
Flowers are acceptable or memorial gifts may be made to the Antioch Baptist Church Prayer Shawl Ministry, P.O. Box 185, Timberlake, NC 27583.
Arrangements are by both Strickland Funeral Home, 1314 North Main Street, Roxboro, NC 27573 and Brooks & White Funeral Home, 907 Durham Road, Roxboro, NC 27573. Online condolences may be made at or


Douglas H. E. Dicconson Sr.
GARDNERVILLE, Nev. — Douglas Dicconson passed away peacefully just before sunrise on January 24, 2014 in his home in the presence of family. Douglas was born the son of Edgar Harry Dicconson and Edith Wenett Dicconson in Walthamstow Village, in North East London, UK on March 23rd, 1928. He lived through the Battle of Britain in London, then served in the Royal Air Force from 1945 – 1949, stationed primarily in central Africa. After leaving the RAF he joined Morgan Crucible Ltd., eventually working his way up to the ranks of executive management within the company while managing manufacturing operations in Mexico, Brazil and the U.S.A. in the late 1960s and early 1970s. While serving as the President of Morganite, Inc. in North Carolina, he married his wife Elizabeth Wright Dicconson who survives him. They lived in North Carolina for 25 years raising their four children together, all of whom survive him: John Sherwood Dicconson, Elizabeth Dicconson Cohen, Edith Anne Dicconson and Douglas Harry Edgar Dicconson Jr. In 1993 Douglas and Elizabeth retired to the Carson Valley in NV to spend time with their children and grandchildren, all of whom survive him: Katharine Elizabeth Dicconson, Benjamin Davenport Cohen, Ava Elizabeth Cohen, Parker Douglas Dicconson and Jackson Philip Dicconson. All who knew him will remember his intelligence, resolve, wit and unwavering focus on matters concerning his family.