Obituaries, December 18, 2013

Dec. 21, 2013 @ 04:58 PM

Hugh "Babell" Bell Jr.
DURHAM — Hugh "Babell" Bell Jr., 74, departed his life on December 14, 2013.
He leaves behind his dear wife, Cleo Bell, three daughters, 3 grandchildren and 2 great-grandchildren.
A viewing will be Thursday, one hour prior to the funeral services at 1 p.m., St. John MBC, 917 Onslow Street, Durham, NC 27705.
Arrangements entrusted to Holloway Memorial Funeral Home.

Mary Elizabeth Nichols Cline
DURHAM — Mary Elizabeth Nichols Cline was born on January 13, 1929, in Oak Grove Township in Durham County to William Henry Nichols and Chloe Jane Evans Nichols. She went home to be with her Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, in the early morning hours of December 15, 2013.
She had resided in Durham, Hillsborough and Oxford, N.C. She was a Registered Nurse doing Private Duty Nursing in Durham for about 40 years. When she retired from the Nurse’s Registry she served on staff at McPherson’s Hospital for a number of years, and then at Duke University Medical Center, retiring in 1994.
She was preceded in death by her parents, her husband of over 50 years, John Hendon Cline, and 7 brothers and sisters. She is survived by a daughter, Patty Cline Currin (Larry) of Oxford; a son, Mark D. Cline (Debbie) of Hillsborough; sisters Betty Nichols Enscore (Bill) of Durham and Malinda Nichols Teasley (Ralph) of Wake Forest; 3 grandchildren, Christopher S. Cline (Molly) of Raleigh, Jess H. Currin and Wyatt A. Currin and special friend, Erin Reisch, of Oxford and several nieces and nephews.
Many of her favorite times were spent riding through the Blue Ridge, camping and relaxing with friends and family. Her wish was to be cremated and her ashes scattered in the mountains along with her husband’s. She loved to tell everyone how special they were and how much she appreciated them and loved them. She would talk for hours and argue with a fence post. She always apologized for her cooking, but made up for it in personality.
Her sweet laugh, beautiful smile and good hugs were her gifts to everyone. She was especially thankful for her children for taking care of her. Patty, Larry, Jess and Wyatt took her into their home and provided care for her 24/7 for 3 years. Special thanks also goes to Charlene Dickey who provided additional nursing services from the heart. Thank you, Charlene.
Per her wishes there will be no services. Friends and family are invited to visit at her daughter’s home, 4112 Salem Farms Road, Oxford, NC 27565. Online condolences may be sent to Mark at or Patty at
Cremation Services provided by Cremation Society of the Carolinas.

Julia Thompson Freeland
DURHAM - "Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come." 2 Cor. 5:17
Julia Thompson Freeland, 88, passed away on Tuesday morning, December 17, at Uni-Health Post Acute Care in Durham.
She was married to the late Theodore "Duke" Freeland, Sr. and the mother of Theodore Jr., Larry, and Wendy (deceased).
A service of remembrance will be held on Saturday, December 21, at noon at West Durham Baptist Church, 1901 Athens Street in Durham. Family visitation is set for 11 a.m.
Arrangements have been entrusted to Holloway Memorial Funeral Home.

Billie Marie King Gullie
DURHAM - Billie Marie King Gullie, 78, of Durham died, on Sunday, December 15, 2013. She was the daughter of the late Luther James King Sr. and Pauline Wilkins King. She worked for 43 years as a seamstress for LCI. She was a member of Fellowship Baptist Church. She was preceded in death by her brother, Lorenzo King, and sister Gloria McDaniel.
She is survived by her loving husband of 58 years, George William Gullie, Sr.; two sons, Don and Ron Gullie; five daughters, Debbie Keith (Steve), Sharon Fields (Bennie), Paula Gullie, Tina Watson (Steve), Lynne Copeland (Wayne); one brother, Jimmy King; two sisters, Lavanda Harward and Katherine Shelton; six grandchildren, Kristy Fabean (Matt), Taelor Fields, Luke and Michael Copeland, Morgan and Alexia Gullie; three great-grandchildren, Dylan, Micah and Kaylee Fabean; nieces and nephews.
Funeral services will be held on Wednesday at 2:00 p.m. at Fellowship Baptist Church. Dr. Rick Finley and Rev. Don Harward will officiate. Burial will be in Oak Grove Memorial Gardens. Active pallbearers will be Phil Harward, Mark Harward, Brock King, Jeremy King, Andy Watson and Ricky Oakley. Honorary pallbearers will be employees of LCI.
The family will receive friends on Tuesday from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 pm. at Hudson Funeral Home and other times at the home. Flowers are acceptable or donations can be made to Fellowship Baptist Academy, 515 Southerland St., Durham, NC 27703 or Duke Hospice, 4321 Medical Park Dr., Suite 101, Durham, NC 27704. Online condolences can be made at

Jill Stutzman Ratchford
DURHAM - Jill Stutzman Ratchford, 52, passed away peacefully on Sunday, December 15, 2013. She was a loving wife, mother and friend. She is survived by her husband, Tom Ratchford, and daughter, Anna Ratchford, of Durham. She grew up in Edenton, N.C., the daughter of Marjorie Stutzman and the late Blair Stutzman. She is also survived by sisters Sue Picus of St. Louis, Mo., and Nan Powell of Wilmington, N.C.
A private family memorial service will be held at a later date. In lieu of flowers, contributions in Jill’s memory can be made to Duke Hospice, 4321 Medical Park Dr., Suite 101, Durham, NC 27704.

Mary Ruth T. Tilley
BAHAMA - Ruth Tilley, 86, passed away Tuesday, December 17, 2013, at her home. She was born in Durham County to the late John Lewis Tilley and the late Nellie Jeffries Tilley. In addition to her parents, she was preceded in death by her former husband, Robert “Bob” Tilley; maternal grandparents, Rufus and Emma Bowen; and two infant siblings. Ruth was raised by her maternal grandparents since the age of 3 following the death of her mother. Ms. Tilley was the owner and operator of Lakeview Service Station at Lake Michie since 1954 and retired from Duke Hospital in 1986 after 20 years of service.
Ms. Tilley is survived by her daughters, Mildred Tilley Walker (Robert Blalock) of Rougemont, Barbara Tilley Crabtree (Richard) of Rougemont; son, Robert Allen Tilley (Paula) of Bahama; granddaughter, Debbie Hylton Jacobs (Dale) of Rougemont; great-grandchildren, Kelsey Michelle Ellis and Daniel Thomas Ellis, both of Rougemont; and cat, Stormy.
The family will be accepting visitors at her home, 2804 Bahama Road.
The family is being assisted by Clements Funeral Service, Inc., in Durham, N.C. Online condolences may be made at

Benjamin Ward
DURHAM — Dr. Benjamin Ward, professor of philosophy, Arabic, and German Studies, passed away this weekend. He had been battling cancer for the past four years.
Raised in Montgomery, Alabama, Ward grew up during the height of the Civil Rights Movement. From 1973-1980, he taught philosophy and served as Dean of Berkeley College at Yale University, his alma mater. He departed New Haven for Durham in the fall of 1980, arriving on Duke’s campus as an Associate Professor and Assistant Dean for Resident Life, a position through which he spearheaded the faculty-in-residence program. In all thirty-four of his years at Duke, he lived on campus, initially in Trent Residence Hall and later in Edens.
Ward is fondly remembered for his impact with students. He was a faculty mentor to several varsity athletic teams including Track & Field, Cross Country, Men’s Soccer, Baseball, and Wrestling. Until the realignment of residential groups in 2012, he served as the faculty-in-residence for the Arts Theme House since the group’s founding. This past year, he played an instrumental role in helping the Black Men’s Union become a recognized student group.
When Ward arrived at Duke in 1980, a group of students asked him to be the faculty advisor to their year-old a cappella group, the Pitchforks. By the end of 1981, he had become a full-fledged member of the group, leading them as Music Director, a position he held for four years before handing down the pitch pipe to undergraduates. Every year since, Ward sang with the group, forging lasting friendships with many of its 200 alumni. The Pitchforks’ Gothic Christmas Concert, held annually before winter exams in the Gothic Reading Room, has become a Duke tradition, and for more than thirty years Ward directed the performance.
Music was an important part of Benjamin Ward’s life. As he frequently said, it was “the one thing I could not live without.” A concert pianist, he was invited throughout his life to perform classical concerts around the world. His living room contained two grand pianos and a massive collection of CDs. The great classical composers were his idols, and he spoke of them like dear friends. Very often students would spend an evening in Ward’s apartment, talking for hours on end about music and philosophy and, if they were lucky, listening to him play the piano.
Ward was a community man, serving on the board of visitors for the Governor’s School of North Carolina and the North Carolina School for the Arts, both in Winston-Salem. He was a diehard fan of the Durham Bulls, attending the majority of Bulls’ games over the past fifteen years. He shared friendships with many of the ballpark staff members and every year would “adopt” a new Bulls player, taking the young man under his wing and offering both friendship and mentorship. His adoptees include Randy Winn, Carl Crawford, Desmond Jennings, and most recently star prospect Tim Beckham.
But perhaps most dear to Ward was his volunteer work in the Durham community. In 1997, Duke honored him with its Humanitarian Service Award for his work with the House of Positive Endings. He received the Duke Employee Community Service Award in 2008 for his dedicated service to Urban Ministries of Durham, a shelter where he spent about ten hours every week cooking meals for the homeless.
Benjamin Ward leaves behind a vibrant legacy marked by human connection. A true intellectual, he wore his curiosity on his sleeve. The point of learning is not about arriving at the right answers, he would often tell his students; it is about asking the right questions. He treated everyone with kindness and, even when his health began to erode, always found a way to light up a room. He is sorely missed but held dearly in memory by all those he touched.
Ward was interred at a simple service in Maplewood Cemetery, just south of Duke’s West Campus, on December 16. The Duke community will celebrate his life with a Service of Remembrance on Saturday, January 18, 2014, at 3 p.m. in the Duke Chapel. Immediately following the service is a Reception of Remembrance at Penn Pavilion. Both events are on Duke’s West Campus and open to the public.
In lieu of flowers, contributions can be made to the Benjamin F. Ward Endowment for the Arts at Duke University. Visit to make a donation or share a written tribute.

Ronnie Kirkland Davis
HILLSBOROUGH - Mr. Ronnie Kirkland Davis, 60, passed peacefully with his wife and daughter by his side Monday, December 16, 2013, at Duke Regional Hospital. Ronnie was born in Granville County on October 27, 1953, the son of the late Jesse Clayton Davis and the late Vera Rhew Davis. He was preceded in death by a brother, Earl Wayne Davis. Ronnie was the co-owner/operator of Davis Brothers Plumbing Company, Inc.
Ronnie is survived by his loving and devoted wife of 38 years, Janie “Liz” Morrison Davis; daughter, Melissa “Missy” Davis Brown; son-in-law, Joseph Charles Brown; brothers, Jimmy Winston Davis and wife, Gayle, and Ray Davis; sisters, Glenda Davis Thomasson and Kaye Davis Thomas and husband, Archie; several nieces, nephews, great-nieces, great-nephews, aunts, uncles, cousins and many dear friends he considered family.
Ronnie’s hard work and loyalty to his family, friends, and his work will always be remembered. A great man has been taken from us too soon, but his love and memory will always be with us.
The family will receive friends Thursday evening from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at Clements Funeral Home in Durham and at other times at the home. There is no service planned.
The family is being assisted by Clements Funeral Service, Inc., in Durham, N.C. Online condolences may be made at

Michael Mayo
HILLSBOROUGH — Michael Mayo, 64, of Hillsborough, N.C., died Friday, Dec. 13, 2013, at the Veterans Hospital in Durham, N.C.
The funeral will be conducted 1 p.m., Friday, with family visitation 12 until 1 p.m. in Mt. Bright Baptist Church, 211 W. Union Street, Hillsborough, NC 27278.
Surviving are his mother, Thelma Mayo of Hillsborough, N.C.; three daughters, Rhonda Mayo of Matthews, N.C., Michelle Sykes-Parker of Burlington, N.C., and Secret Mayo of Englewood, Calif.; 6 grandchildren; 4 great-grandchildren; and other family members.
Interment at 4123 Carr Store Road, Cedar Grove, N.C., located across from White Oak Primitive (Progressive) Baptist Church.
Public viewing 10 a.m. until 7 p.m. Thursday in Chavis-Parker Funeral Home. Family receiving friends at 203 Lakeshore Drive, Hillsborough, N.C.

William A. Newell
NEWTON — William A. Newell, 93, longtime resident of Abernethy Laurels, Newton, N.C., passed recently. Mr. Newell’s career was associated with the textile industry. After having served with honors in WWII, he graduated from the School of Textiles, N.C. State College.
A capable technical writer, his initial position was as Assistant Editor, then Managing Editor of Textile World, McGraw-Hill’s technical publication for the textile industry. (He had first been published by McGraw-Hill at age 18). He then served eight years as Director, Textile Research Center, School of Textiles, N.C. State College, Author, Textile Research in Japan, 1960. He was once listed in American Men of Science. While at N.C. State, during early discussions of industrial development involving research, he was the first to propose and write the prospectus for Gov. Hodges for the establishment of an industrial park for research and development in the area between the three Universities that subsequently became Research Triangle Park. Link:,_NC. In August of 2013, he was awarded the Order of the Longleaf Pine by the Governor for this contribution to the state.
He later served as Product Manager, Whitin Machine Works, manufacturers of textile machinery. The final 17 years of his career were with Kendall Company, manufacturer of health and hospital products, including three years as General Manager, Mulsant S.A., Villefranche sur Saone, France, a Kendall subsidiary. He spoke French fluently. In retirement he once served as President of Abernethy Village Association, where he also edited and published a monthly newsletter.
In addition to his parents, Robert and Ethel Honeyford Newell, he was preceded in death by his wife, Muriel Decker Newell.
He is survived by his daughter, Beverly Cadieux of McKinney, Texas; 2 sons, Robert Newell of Greenville, S.C., and Jeffrey Newell of Charlotte N.C.; 8 grandchildren; 5 great-grandchildren.
A memorial service will be held on Sunday, December 22, 2013, at 2 p.m. at Spirit Place at Abernethy Laurels in Newton, N.C., with Chaplain Larry Bolick officiating. A private burial will be held in Abernethy Laurels Memorial Gardens. The family will receive friends on Sunday following the service.
Memorials may be made to Abernethy Laurels Foundation Benevolent Fund, 100 Leonard Ave., Newton, NC 28658.
Visit to register your condolences online. Burke Mortuary in Newton is serving the Newell family.