Obituaries, July 22, 2014

Jul. 21, 2014 @ 06:05 PM

Keyra Renee Johnson Ahmad

DURHAM — Keyra Renee Johnson Ahmad, 52, of Oxford, died on Saturday, July 19, 2014. She was the daughter of the late Eugene Onsdale Johnson and Margaret Benson McCormick. She was a private duty CNA.
She is survived by a loving companion Joe Ashby of Oxford; daughter Tonya Minor and husband Jeremy of Bedford,VA; four grandchildren, Austen, Luke, Elle and Grace Minor, brothers, Dennis Johnson (Terri) of Durham; Tommy Johnson (Pam) of Asheboro, NC; niece, Lisa Terry (Matt), nephew, Jon Johnson.
Memorial services will be held on Wednesday at 1:00 p.m. at Bethesda Baptist Church. Rev. Jeremy Minor will officiate.
The family will receive friends on Wednesday from 12:00 to 1:00 p.m. one hour prior to the service at Bethesda Baptist Church. In lieu of flowers donations may be made to Bedrock Community Church, PO Box 1335, Bedford, VA 24523. Online condolences can be made at

James H. "Jimmy" Dodd
DURHAM — James H. "Jimmy" Dodd died Friday, July 18th, 2014.  Mr. dodd was a native of durham.  He retired from durham Drapery.  Mr. Dodd was the son of the late Emily C. and Clarence C. Dodd.
He is survived by a sister; nephews Norman High and Ronald Wilson; a niece, Delores Malone; several great nieces and nephews and special friends Irene and Diane Honeycutt.
He was preceded in death by a brother, Wallace Dodd and sister, Katie D. Wilson.
Graveside services will be held Wednesday, July 23rd, 2014 at 11:00am at Woodlawn Memorial Park.  

Charles Fitzgerald "Fella" Evans
DURHAM — Mr. Charles Fitzgerald "Fella"Evans, 50, of 206 Mutual Court, died Saturday, July 19, 2014, at Duke Hock Pavilion.  His service will be held at 1pm on Thursday, July 24, 2014 at Burthey Funeral Chapel.  Interment will follow in Beechwood Cemetery.  The family will receive friends on Thursday from 12-1pm one hour prior to the service.
Mr. Evans is survived by his siblings, LeVonder Shaw, Joseph, Ronald and Reginald Evans.
Arrangements by Burthey Funeral Service

Vivian Louise Hawkins Grimes
DURHAM — Vivian Louise Hawkins Grimes began the second half of her spiritual life on Thursday morning, July 17, 2014. After a brief battle with cancer, Vivian passed away quietly, with family and friends at her side.
Vivian was born on November 26, 1945 in Pitt County, North Carolina.  She grew up on a farm and was extremely proud of her southern heritage. She was the fifth child of Norman “Shine” Hawkins and Willie Mae Taylor Hawkins. She was the spirited, caring sibling of seven others of the Hawkins clan: Elaine, Norma, Charles, Ellen, Diane, Kervin and Vickie. Vivian was the dedicated wife of Henry Leon Grimes, to whom she was married for twenty nine years until his death in 1996. Vivian was the caring and supportive mother of four children – Reginald, Kenneth, Stephanie and Jocelyn. She was a giving grandmother of six, VeShan, Elycia, Taylor, Orlando, Warren and Marcea, and wonderful great-grandmother to two, Jayden and Shaniya.
Vivian graduated from the Pitt Country Training School in 1963. Upon graduation, she enrolled at Saint Augustine’s College in Raleigh, N.C. and received a bachelor’s degree in business education in 1967. Vivian excelled academically; but, she also found time for other activities, including Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.    
Vivian’s initial career focused on teaching and business education. She began her teaching career at H.B. Suggs High School in Farmville, N.C.  She was also an instructor in typing and bookkeeping. She moved from education to law to fulfill an interest in social justice. After several years as a legal secretary and paralegal with firms including Paul, Keenan, Rowan and Galloway, Vivian moved on to the Legal Aid Society of Durham County.
Vivian worked tirelessly for more than 36 years at Legal Aid. Vivian provided advice and assistance to generations of clients. She focused her energies on helping those who could not always help themselves and enjoyed serving others. She skillfully navigated the legal system and was adept at explaining the unexplainable. Colleagues described her as a bridge – someone who could connect those in need with resources and solutions. Whether talking to a judge or defendant, executive or homeless veteran, Vivian always spoke with candor and compassion. She was truly an advocate for social justice. Vivian continued to work with Legal Aid of North Carolina until her death.
Vivian loved sports. She loved to watch and play and even coach. She was often heard at her children’s and grandchildren’s sporting events cheering on players and admonishing referees and even coaches. Vivian loved politics, ideas, crossword puzzles, word games and trivia, especially Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy. She cherished spending time with family and friends, especially over a good, home cooked meal.    
Vivian’s unselfishness and kindness serves as a model and inspiration for us all. Her wit, spirit and compassion will be missed by many. Vivian will be missed by many.
A memorial service honoring the memory of Vivian Louise Hawkins Grimes will be held on Thursday, July 24, 2014 at 6:00pm at the Hayti Heritage Center located at 804 Fayetteville Street in Durham, N.C. Vivian requested that well-wishers refrain from sending flowers.  To honor her legacy, the family asks that donations be offered, in memory of Vivian Grimes, to the following organizations that assist persons in need: Durham Rescue Mission (, P.O. Box 11368, Durham, NC 27703, 919-688-9641) and Urban Ministries of Durham (, 410 Liberty St, Durham, NC 27701, 919-682-0538).

Elizabeth “Lib” Thomasson Hamlet
DURHAM — Mrs, Elizabeth “Lib” Thomasson Hamlet, age 97, died Sunday morning at the Hillcrest Convalescent Center.
Born November 5, 1916 in Parkton, Mrs. Hamlet was the daughter of  the late Charles Bishop and Naomi Hagler Thomasson.  She moved to Durham as a child, and was a graduate of Oak Grove High School.  Prior to retirement, Mrs. Hamlet had been employed with the American Tobacco Company for over 40 years.  She was a member of McMannen United Methodist Church, and a former member of Carr United Methodist Church.  Her husband, Dorsey Lee Hamlet died August 24, 1990.
Surviving are her daughter, Mrs. Linda Hamlet Byrd and husband Sammy of Raleigh; her granddaughter, Kimberly Byrd of Charlotte; and a sister, Mrs. Katie Sink of Durham;  In addition to her husband and parents,  Mrs. Hamlet was preceded in death by another granddaughter, Karen Byrd,  two sisters, Mrs. Helen Moore and Mrs. Virginia Williams, and three brothers, William Arthur Thomasson, James Excell Thomasson, and Charles Griff Thomasson.
Graveside funeral services will be held Wednesday at 11:00 AM in Maplewood Cemetery, section 6, Rev. Ed Priestaf officiating.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the Joseph and Kathleen Bryan Alzeheimer’s Research Center, 2200 West Main Street,  Suite A-200,  Durham, North Carolina  27705.
The family would like to thank the staff of Hillcrest Convalescent Center for their kindness shown to Mrs. Hamlet and the care that was given to her by them.
Howerton & Bryan Funeral Home is assisting the  Hamlet family.  Online condolonces may be submitted to, select obituaries.

Kinchen Coffield Knight

CHAPEL HILL — Kinchen Coffield Knight, 83, a resident of Chapel Hill, died at home unexpectedly on July 19, 2014.
Coffield Knight was born February 25, 1931, to the late Ida Lowe Knight and the late Kinchen Coffield Knight of Whitakers, NC.  He graduated from Duke University in 1953, beginning a life-long passion for Duke Basketball. He served as a Sergeant in the U.S. Army in Korea and Hawaii from 1953-1955. On August 26, 1956, he married his college sweetheart, Sally Cooper Dean, in Louisburg, NC.  For over 30 years he worked in the Trust Department of Central Carolina Bank, retiring as a Senior Vice President.
In addition to spending time with family, caring for animals, and supporting Duke Basketball, Coffield’s passion was boating.   He was an active member and officer of the Durham Sail and Power Squadron.  Coffield was so devoted to boating education that as the six-time winner of the DSPS Education Award, in 2004 the award was renamed the K. Coffield Knight Education Award.  He was also named Teacher of the Year for the district in 2013.
He is survived by his wife of 58 years, Sally Dean Knight; daughter Martha Scott Knight of Chapel Hill; son Kevin Coffield Knight (Margaret) and three grandchildren, Anna, Caleb, and Bailey Knight of Arlington, VA; and his close cousin John (Lucinda) MacKethan of Raleigh.  He was preceded in death by his sister, Margaret Lowe Knight.  
In lieu of flowers the family requests that memorial donations be made to the U.S. Power Squadrons Educational Fund (PO Box 30423, Raleigh NC 27622 or, to the American Heart Association, or to a charity of choice.
Funeral services will be held Thursday July 24, 11:00 a.m., at Orange United Methodist Church, 1220 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd, Chapel Hill, NC 27514.
Online condolences may be made to the family at See Obituaries.  Arrangements are entrusted to Hall-Wynne Funeral Services of Durham.

Dr. Edward R. Perl
CHAPEL HILL — Dr. Edward R. Perl passed away on July 15th after a long life dedicated to science, education, and service at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Dr. Perl’s lifelong contributions to the sciences include his groundbreaking work on the mechanism of pain. He helped found the National Society of Neuroscience and served as its first president. He was the Chairman of the Department of Physiology where he established a vibrant and highly respected research team focused on neurosciences.
He was a dedicated teacher training over 7,000 medical and PhD students. Dr. Perl was the primary contributor to the establishment of the Perl/UNC Neuroscience Prize, honoring seminal achievement in the field of neuroscience. Since its inception, it has been awarded to today’s most successful neuroscientists, including four who have gone on to receive the Nobel Award.
Dr. Perl touched many lives including those of his family and friends. He was--and remains--deeply respected for his scientific accomplishments and personal contributions to UNC and the community. He was an inspiration to all those around him. He is survived by his wife, children, granddaughters, countless mentees, physicians and research associates. He will be sorely missed, and remembered dearly by all those who knew him.
In lieu of flowers, family suggests memorial contributions be made to Perl-UNC Neuroscience Prize through the  Medical Foundation of NC, 880 MLK Jr. Blvd., Chapel Hill, NC 27514.
Arrangements by Cremation Society of the Carolinas.


Virginia Duke Morris

ROXBORO — Virginia Duke Morris, 91, of Oxford Road, died Sunday, July 20, 2014. She was born in Person County to the late Brodie & Dorcas Day Duke. Mrs. Morris is preceded in death by her husband, James R. Morris, and son, J. Gary Morris. She was a member of Mt. Harmony Baptist Church.
Mrs. Morris is survived by her son, Danny F. Morris & Jane, of Hurdle Mills; daughter-in-law, Diane Morris, of Atlanta, GA; one sister, Clarice Carrigan & Clifford, of Port Charlotte, FL. Five grandchildren, Brent Morris & Hope, Beth Self & Scott, Kevin Morris, Amanda Kleine & Dave, Allison Dacus & Charles. Twelve great grandchildren, Cullie, Alissa, Amanda, Lance, McKinley, Anna-Blair, Wright, Payton, Grayson, Chase, Aidan, and Mason.
Visitation will be held from 6:30-8:00 PM, Tuesday, July 22, 2014 at Mt.
Harmony Baptist Church and other times at the her home (4373 Oxford Rd., Roxboro, NC 27574).
Funeral Service will be held 11:00 AM, Wednesday, July 23, 2014 at Mt.
Harmony Baptist Church by the Rev. Barry Chambers & the Rev. Donald Daniel.
Interment will follow in the Church Cemetery.
Pallbearers will be Dale Duke, Charles Dacus, Dave Kleine, Stover Morris, Keith Garrett, Scott Self, and Joe Day.
Memorials may be made to Mt. Harmony Baptist Church, 1655 Mt. Harmony Church Rd., Rougemont, NC 27572.
Condolences may be sent to

John Murphy May

WAKE FOREST — John Murphy May, 85, a retired sales manager for Stone Heavy Equipment Company died Sunday. He was a member of First Baptist Church of Garner for over 50 years, where he served as a Deacon. A member of the NC National Guard, 1947 – 1954, he always folded the flag for military honors. He served on the advisory board for Wake Technical College.
Mr. May is survived by his daughters: Robin Moore, husband Johnny of Durham; Kim McCaffity, husband Darwin of Wake Forest; grandchildren: Beth & Sarah Moore, Will, John Murphy and Maggie McCaffity; sisters: Dorothy Fenn, of Wilson, Geraldine Johnson (Mickie); Lucama, brother: Ray May (Deloris) Rocky Mount;  26 nieces and nephews and his Beloved Dog: Margo.  
He was preceded in death by his wife Christine Robbins May, parents Addie and Dan May, 5 sisters and 3 brothers.
Funeral Services will be held Tuesday, 11:00 at Wake Forest Christian Church, burial will follow at Montlawn Memorial Park with military honors.  
In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to Wake Forest Christian Church, 701 S. Main St., Wake Forest, NC 27587 and The Ronald McDonald House of Durham, 506 Alexander Ave., Durham, NC  27705.
Condolences may be made to