Obituaries, December 3, 2013

Dec. 02, 2013 @ 07:26 PM


Mary Geneva “Gee” Rigsbee Horton
DURHAM — Mary Geneva “Gee” Rigsbee Horton, 91, passed away Monday, December 2, 2013 at the home of her niece and nephew, Leonard and Kay O'Briant. She died as a result of a stroke she had early in November. Mary was born in Durham County on October 20, 1922 to Mollie and Robert Rigsbee. She was preceded in death by her parents; her husband, Eben U. Horton; 3 sisters, Frances R. Parrish, Thelma R. Waller, Alberta R. Farr; a brother, Jarvis Rigsbee; a niece, Peggy R. Hamlet and a nephew, William Jarvis (Buddy) Rigsbee.
She graduated from Bragtown High School. She worked at the American Tobacco Company from 8-7-42 until her retirement on 2-28-85. Mary was a member of Bragtown Baptist Church where she and Alberta and Thelma were known as "The Three Sisters" or just "The Sisters". In the later years of her sisters' lives she was devoted to them and during their illnesses she gave them personal care that she would let no one else do. Now she and all of the sisters are together once again, never to be parted, as they were here on earth.
Mary is survived by her nephew Bobby R. Rigsbee (Rosa) of Timberlake, and two nieces; Betsy R. Cox of Durham and Kay P. O'Briant (Leonard) of Bahama. Also, surviving are a special great niece, Melinda O. Leimone (Ken), great nephews, Daniel O'Briant (Eresha), Tod O'Briant (Akemi), and Jim O'Briant (Wanda) and a great great niece, Darian O'Briant, and great great nephews, Josh O'Briant, Andrew Leimone, and Cole Leimone. These children loved her and visited her almost every day. They will always remember their "Aunt Gee" as a sweet, loving lady they cared so much about.
As per Mary's wishes there will be no visitation at the funeral home. She requested a graveside service which will be held 11 a.m. on Wednesday at Woodlawn Memorial Park. The service will be officiated by the Reverend Eric Burmahl, pastor of Bragtown Baptist Church and a close family friend. Pallbearers will be Ken Leimone, Andrew Leimone, Cole Leimone, Charles Rigsbee, Dan O'Briant, Tod O'Briant, and Ray Fara.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in Mary's memory to a cause that is so close to all of our hearts: EMERGENCY CHAPLAINS for the BRANTLEY SCOTT PEARCE MEMORIAL FUND at Box 14762, Durham, NC, 27709,
We would like to thank three people, without whom we could not have gotten through this; Donna Walker, friend, housekeeper, sitter, are just a few of the things she does for me, without her and her friendship my life would be in total chaos; Jane Rhew, friend and sitter, she has helped me through the sicknesses and deaths of my two aunts, Alberta and Geneva; and Margaret Lee, new friend and sitter.
The family is being assisted by Clements Funeral Service, Inc., in Durham, N.C. Online condolences may be made at

Beverly Roseanne Olson Swanson
DURHAM — Mrs. Beverly Roseanne Olson Swanson was born on May 20, 1934, in Hermantown, Minnesota. The Olsons were a family with 11 siblings, six boys and five girls. It was a home where everyone was invited in, with Swedish foods cooking and coffee brewing. In the winter there was sledding, tobogganing and ski-jumping, and always there was singing around the piano. Bev loved to sing. She sang alto in the choir at the Salem Covenant Church, where she was active in the Junior High Group, Young People’s Group and Sunday School. She was confirmed there as well.
It was at Salem Covenant that Bev met Vernel Swanson, and it was there that she married him in 1955. The next year, they became happy parents to Gregory Verne, and two years later to Shelley Rae. In the 1960s, Vern’s work as a defense contractor took the family from Minnesota to the mid-Pacific island of Kwajalein, then back again before moving to Burlington, North Carolina in 1968, and then Durham in 1985.
Tall, blonde, gregarious, with an unforgettable and joyful laugh, Bev loved cooking and serving meals, especially on holidays, with centerpieces and table settings suited for the cover of Good Housekeeping. She loved making things, crafts of all kinds, and had an uncommon talent for Christmas-gift wrapping.
Bev also loved horses, Goldie was her favorite, and riding in “wagon trains” in western North Carolina. Both in Minnesota and North Carolina, Bev worked in real estate and ran Swanson Realty in Burlington. In retirement, she and Vern traveled many places, including an RV trip around the United States. A favorite vacation was a Caribbean cruise with a stop in Cozumel, Mexico, where they met up with Greg’s family for a day of swimming, sunning and laughter. In recent years, she and Vern were members of Grey Stone Church in Durham, where she sang in the choir. She had an abiding faith in God.
Bev is survived by her husband Vern, son Gregory Swanson (Gillian Floren), daughter Shelley Carraway, granddaughters Kaola Beth and Emma Swanson, and grandson Charlie Carraway. She is also survived by her sisters, Marlene Smouse, Nancy Wilson, Julie Malm and Bonnie Olson-Lane. Preceding her in death were her brothers: Alden, Leroy, Harvey, George, Dwayne and David Olson. Her precious granddaughter, Molly, also preceded her in death.
Funeral service will be held Saturday at 11 a.m. at Grey Stone Church with Dr. Clay Waters officiating. Burial will follow at Maplewood Cemetery. The family will receive friends prior to the service from 9:30 to 11 a.m. at the church parlor.
The family is being assisted by Clements Funeral Service, Inc., in Durham, N.C. Online condolences may be made at

Geraldine "Gerri" M. West
DURHAM — Geraldine "Gerri" M. West, 97, passed away unexpectedly on November 26, 2013. She leaves behind two sons Jerard and Berard West, one granddaughter, Sonya West; and one sister, Ruth Mainor; and one brother, Frankie D. Mainor. Services will be held at Community Baptist Church, Durham NC  at 11:00 am on Tuesday December 3, 2013. There will also be a brief graveside service in Rose Hill, NC at 3:30 pm, the same day. Flowers are welcomed or memorial contributions may be made in her honor, at the NCCU (North Carolina Central University)  Foundation of Durham, NC. Arrangements entrusted to Holloway Memorial Funeral Home.

LaWanda J. Winston
DURHAM - Miss LaWanda J. Winston, 46, passed away November 28, 2013, at Duke Medical Center surrounded by family. Her service will be conducted at 1pm on Friday, December 6, 2013 at New Jerusalem Baptist Cathedral at 3405 Danube Lane, Durham, NC 27704. The family will receive friends from noon to 1pm, one hour prior to the service. Arrangements entrusted to Scarborough and Hargett Funeral Home, Inc.

Thelma Thompson Mayo

HILLSBOROUGH –  Mrs. Thelma Thompson Mayo, 100 + 8 mos.  went home to be with the Lord Saturday, November 30, 2013, at Rose Manor in Durham, NC.  She was a native of Orange County and attended the Orange County Schools at High Rock Road School.  Mrs. Mayo was a member of Lambs Chapel Church in Haw River.  She was the wife of the late Knox Mayo.
Surviving are two sons:  Walter Mayo and Bobby Mayo, Sr. (Vivian); one granddaughter, Angela Mayo Wells; one grandson, Bobby Wayne Mayo, Jr.; one step-granddaughter, Chanita Williams (Kevin); two great-grandsons, Clifton J. Wells and Joshua Williams; and two great-granddaughters, Jordyn and Joya Williams.   She was predeceased by her husband, her parents, Mary Crisp and Walter Thompson, her daughter, Helen Marie Mayo, three sisters and five brothers.
Home going services will be held 1 PM Thursday in Lambs Chapel Church.  Visitation will be 12-1 PM Thursday in the church.  Burial will be in the Hillsborough Town Cemetery.