Obituaries, March 19, 2014

Mar. 18, 2014 @ 05:15 PM

Johnnie Mack Bryant
DURHAM — Mr. Johnnie Mack Bryant, 90, of Durham, died at Duke Regional Hospital on Sunday, March 16, 2014.
Mr. Bryant was born on June 23, 1923, the son of the late Posey Lester Bryant and Annie Faulkner Bryant. He retired from Black Industries as a Bookkeeper. He was a member of St Paul United Methodist Church. He was a member of the Durham Masonic Lodge 352, Durham York Rite, Sudan Shriners and the Durham Sports Club. He was a 1945 graduate of Durham High School and attended Duke University on a Basketball Scholarship. He was employed by the old YMCA downtown, Lakewood and Trinity Avenue branches, and was Director of the YMCA Easley-Pickens, SC. He was an avid participant in Senior Games of NC. He formerly umpired the Durham Bulls. He was predeceased in death by his brothers, Posey Leon Bryant, Alvin Bryant, Calvin Bryant, George Watts Bryant, Thomas Eugene Bryant, Alvesta Bryant, Julian Charles Bryant and William Gray Bryant. Sr. He was also predeceased by his niece, Martha Edgerton, and nephews, William Gray Bryant, Jr. and Douglas Bryant.
He is survived by two sisters-in-law, Ella B. Bryant and Lena B. Bryant; nephews and nieces, Ronald Alvin Bryant (Peggy), Gloria Bryant Brown (Buddy), Johnnie J. Bryant, Sheila E. Bryant, Deborah L. Bryant, Carol Bryant Alford (Chuck), Nick Bryant (Penny), Kent Bryant (Becky), Nianne Bryant Herring, Alice Bryant Epps (Terry), Anne Brown, Patricia Bryant, Pam Bryant and many loving great-nieces and great-nephews including Sterling and Chadwick who were very special to him.
Funeral services will be held on Friday at 1 p.m. at St Paul United Methodist Church. Rev. Mark Stephens will officiate with personal reflections by Albert Long. Burial will be in Woodlawn Memorial Park. Active pallbearers will be Sterling Bryant, Chadwick Bryant, Kyle Brown, Kirkland Brown, Tommy Hunt, Ed Pope, Herman Paschall, Jr. and Bill McClintock. Honorary pallbearers will be the employees of the YMCA, former employees of Black Industries, members of the Durham Sports Club, Kevin Bryant and Marcus Alford.
The family will receive friends on Thursday from 6 to 8 p.m. at Hudson Funeral Home and other times at the home of Rose and Tim Simpson “after 2 pm” on Wednesday and Thursday. Flowers are acceptable or donations may be made to St Paul UMC, 2700 N. Roxboro Rd, Durham NC 27704. Online condolences can be made at

David Lee Epstein, MD
DURHAM — David Lee Epstein, MD, MMM, the Joseph A.C. Wadsworth Clinical Professor of Ophthalmology at Duke University and Chairman of the Department of Ophthalmology at Duke University, died suddenly on his farm in Bahama, NC on March 4, 2014. He was buried on March 10, 2014, not far from his beloved Harding’s Beach, in Chatham, MA on Cape Cod. He was 69 years old.
Dr. Epstein was an internationally acclaimed and respected ophthalmologist, eye researcher, entrepreneur, and leader, as well as a beloved educator, mentor, and colleague--a passionate advocate of the central role of the clinician-scientist in translating laboratory discoveries into powerful new therapies to treat patients. He was a brilliant physician who devoted his career to the study and treatment of glaucoma, the leading cause of irreversible blindness in the world. Among his many honors was the Duke Distinguished Faculty Award, one of Duke University’s highest awards.
David was the son of the late Philip Samuel Epstein and Shirley Epstein Morris. He grew up in a close-knit community on the north side of Chicago. After graduation from Senn High School in 1961, he attended Johns Hopkins University and Medical School, graduating in 1968 as a member of Phi Beta Kappa and Alpha Omega Alpha honorary fraternities. While in his first year of medical school, he met Susan Matthews, a first-year nursing student at Johns Hopkins, when she aimed a snowball at him and accidentally knocked out his contact lens. They celebrated their 45th wedding anniversary on November 30, 2013.
After completing a medical internship at the University of Washington in 1969, David served as a flight surgeon in the USAF for two years at the Brooks School of Aerospace Medicine in San Antonio, TX. Upon completion of military service, he began his many years of residency and fellowship at the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary of Harvard Medical School, under the tutelage of Drs. Paul A. Chandler and W. Morton Grant, pioneers in glaucoma research and treatment. These two men remained David’s most revered professional role models for the rest of his life.
In 1978, David joined the faculty of Harvard Medical School, and quickly rose to the position of Director of the Glaucoma Service at the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary. He left Harvard to become Chairman of the Department of Ophthalmology at the Duke University School of Medicine in 1992. During his 22 years at Duke, the Duke Department of Ophthalmology faculty expanded sevenfold, as David recruited the most talented and motivated candidates from around the world. As Chair of the department, he led the drive to fund and build the state-of-the-art Albert Eye Research Institute at Duke. The day before he died, David was proudly watching over the construction of the Hudson Building, a new clinical eye care facility at Duke, currently under way as a result of his determined efforts.
In addition to his devotion to the Duke Eye Center and to his family, David loved his cocker spaniels Tinker and Max, his vast collection of antique clocks, his cottage on the Cape, and the Duke Blue Devils Men’s Basketball Team, especially when they beat the loathsome Carolina Tarheels, as was often the case. A proud Iron Duke, David never gave up hoping that Coach K might call upon him for his advice on how to best utilize his players, especially tall centers.
To his only child, Michael, an associate professor of human genetics at Emory University Medical School, in Atlanta, GA, David passed his love of academia, science, discovery and appreciation of the shared obligation of all humanity to heal the world (Tikkun Olam). In addition to his son, David leaves his wife Susan to cherish memories of their long and wonderful life together. His adored grandson Samuel, beloved daughter-in-law Lenea, one sister Sharon and brother-in-law Fred Drazner (Highland Park, IL) and their children, Uncle Harvey Fleishman (Davie, FL), many nieces, nephews, friends, colleagues, and the Duke Eye Center family, survive to honor the memory and life of this good man.
Memorial contributions may be made to the David L. Epstein MD, MMM Innovation Fund, either online at or may be mailed to: Duke Eye Center, David L Epstein MD, MMM Innovation Fund, Attn: Development Office, 2351 Erwin Road, DUMC 3802, Durham, NC 27710.

Mae Sue Ellis (Shepherd) Harward
DURHAM — Mrs. Mae Sue Ellis (Shepherd) Harward, 99, passed away peacefully on Thursday, March 13, 2014 at Duke Medical Center after a brief illness. She was born on October 1, 1914 in Durham County to the late J. Hosea Ellis and the late Bessie Burgess Ellis. She was preceded in death by her first husband, Daniel Boone Shepherd; son, Charles Daniel Shepherd; grandson, Charles Daniel Shepherd, Jr.; second husband, Ralph Coolridge Harward; brother, James Lewis Ellis; sisters, Mabel Ellis Darnell and Dorothy “Dot” Ellis Garrett.
Mrs. Harward attended Lowes Grove School and married Daniel Boone Shepherd on April 7, 1931. They resided in Durham for a number of years, rearing three of their children and subsequently moved to East Oceanview, VA where they lived for 9 years. In 1949, they returned to Durham, were reunited with family and had their fourth child. She was widowed in 1951 and married Ralph Coolridge Harward in 1969, with whom she resided in Durham until his death in 2011. She was a dedicated housewife and mother. Once her children were grown, she worked at the Broad Street Drug Store and the Remnant Shop in Wellons Village for over 25 years, retiring at age 72 when the shop closed. She was active in civic organizations, The Sons and Daughters of Liberty, and the VFW Post 2740, where she was the President of the Women's Auxiliary and actively volunteered with Buddy Poppy Sales. In her later years she spent much time at home and enjoyed going to Durham Bulls games and eating at Elmo's Diner with her two daughters.
She is survived by her daughters, Doris Shepherd Marriott (the late Philip A. Marriott), Patricia Ann Shepherd; son, Norman Carlton Shepherd (Carole); daughter-in-law Darlene Few (Theron); grandchildren, Diana Yow (Johnny), Sharon Shepherd, Kimberly Shepherd, Lisa Tysor (Cliff), Dean Shepherd, Rodney Shepherd (Diana), Elizabeth Prata (Rogerio); great-grandchildren, Brandon Yow, Seth Tysor, Jesse Shepherd, Austin Shepherd, Nathan Shepherd, Michelle Prata, Julia Prata and Lucas Prata.
A funeral service will be held at 2 p.m., Saturday, March 22nd, at Clements Funeral Chapel in Durham. The family will receive friends prior to the service starting at 12:30 p.m. at Clements Funeral Home.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests that memorial contributions be made to the UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center Specialized Program of Research Excellence (SPORE) in Breast Cancer CB #7295 UNC-CH, Chapel Hill, NC 27599-7295 or online at
The family is being assisted by Clements Funeral Service, Inc., in Durham, N.C. Online condolences may be made at


Wilma Wade Blalock
TIMBERLAKE — Wilma Wade Blalock, 79, of Pixley Prichard Road died, Monday, March 17, 2014.
Mrs. Blalock was born in Person County. Wilma was daughter of the late William Floyd & Mary Chambers Wade. She retired from Blalock's Appliances with over 30 years of employment; she was a member of the Roxboro Citivan Club for 25 years. Mrs. Blalock attenedd Somerset Baptist for 20 years.
Surviving is her husband, Elmer D. Blalock, of Timberlake; her five children, David Blalock (Judy) of Roxboro, Samuel Blalock (Clara) of Timberlake; Brenda B. Averette of Richmond, VA, Pam B. Day (Bradley) of Roxboro, Randall Blalock (Greta) of Elon College. Mrs. Blalock also has nine grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.
Visitation will be held 1:00 PM, Wednesday, March 19, 2014 prior to the service at Brooks & White.
Funeral services will be held 2:00 PM, Wednesday, March 19, 2014 in the Brooks & White Chapel by Pastor Robbie Dunn and the Rev. Martin Hall. Interment will follow at Wade's Family Cemetery.
Pallbearers will be Christopher Blalock, Jonathan Blalock, Jamie Averette, Ben Treanor, Phillip Kennedy, Rob Connolly, Mertis Blalock, Michael Blalock, and Ricky Cothran.
Memorials may be made to Somerset Baptist Church, 141 Somerset Church Road, Roxboro, NC 27573.
Condolences may be sent to


Christie Worcester Baxter
BOGART, Ga. — Christie Worcester Baxter went to be with the Lord and angels on March 10, 2014 at the age of 64. Christie was preceded in death by her parents, Paul and Leonelle Worcester, and her brother, George Worcester.
Christie is survived by her daughter, Alison Mckenzie; son, Nicholas Trotta; step children, Aaron Baxter, Vera Barnett, and Charlotte Baxter; sister, Carolyn Elfland; grandson, Conner McKenzie; step grandchildren Lilly Barnett, Ethan Barnett, Anna Barnett, and Bodhi Haywood; nephew, William Elfland; and grand niece, Casey Elfland.
Christie will be lovingly remembered by many friends, coworkers, and others whose lives she touched through her profession as a nurse. She had a zest for life and a passion for people. Christie brought out the best in everyone she met and everyone she crossed paths with.
Christie was born in Hanover, PA in 1949. She graduated from Hanover High School in 1967 and went onto Purdue University in Indiana to receive her bachelor’s degree in speech therapy. She continued her schooling at Carroll College in Montana receiving her nursing degree. After moving to North Carolina she attended the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill and received her master's degree in nursing.
Christie loved nursing and practiced in many areas of the profession throughout her years as a nurse. She enjoyed many hobbies; gardening, knitting, reading, and quilting were just a few. Her biggest loves above all else were her children and grandkids. She was a loving mother and Nana that will be truly missed.
Memorial services will be Saturday, March 22, 2014 at 3:00 at Lord and Stephens Chapel, West. The Family and friends will gather before the service from 2:00 until 3:00 pm. A reception will follow at the residence.
In lieu of flowers the family requests that donations be made to the American Cancer Society at
Lord and Stephens, West is in charge of arrangements.