Obituaries, March 28, 2014

Mar. 27, 2014 @ 05:42 PM


Lou Ellen Alston
DURHAM — Mother Lou Ellen Alston, 94, departed this life on March 24, 2014 peacefully at her home. She is survived by 4 children, 14 grandchildren, 20 great-grandchildren and 13 great-great-grandchildren. Visitation will be Friday, March 29 from 7-8pm at Markham Chapel Baptist Church, 3630 Old Chapel Hill Road, Durham, NC. Services will be Saturday, March 30 at 2 pm at the same location.

James I. “Jim” Coughlin
DURHAM — James I. “Jim” Coughlin, M.D., died March 26, 2014 after years of declining health from COPD and related disorders. He is survived by his wife, Sara “Sally” Coughlin; daughter, Kris Ann Meehling of Columbia, MD, son, Michael Coughlin of St. Louis, MO, and daughter, Karen Reeping of York, PA; and grandchildren, Karina, Kendrick and Keegan Pacchioni, and Kacy and Zachary Reeping.
Dr. Coughlin was born in Syracuse, NY and raised in Frankfurt, NY. He received his undergraduate degree in Biology from Utica College of Syracuse University in 1957 and was employed by the New York State Department of Health, and later, by Sloan- Kettering Cancer Institute. On November 16, 1958, he married Sara E. Wolff. While working for Sloan-Kettering in 1961, he and his wife, Sally, were sent to Nairobi, Kenya, to engage in cancer research.
Upon returning from Kenya he attended the State University of New York at Buffalo and received his medical degree there in 1966. Following an internship in Akron, OH, he enlisted in the U.S. Air Force and served as General Medical Officer at Minot, ND, with the rank of Captain. In 1969 he returned to Akron to complete a residency in Internal Medicine.
Dr. Coughlin practiced Internal Medicine and Geriatrics in San Antonio, TX from 1972-1990. He left private practice in 1990 to accept a position as medical director for Prudential in Detroit. Subsequently, he held similar positions in Chicago and Omaha, NE where he was a Vice President with Mutual of Omaha until he retired in 1998.
In his retirement, Dr. Coughlin moved to Durham and became an avid gardener, volunteering at Duke Gardens and the Master Gardener Volunteer Office. He also served on the Treyburn Residential Owners Assn. and enjoyed taking classes for retirees at Duke University, travel, maintaining the family genealogy and playing bridge.
Services are pending and will be announced. In lieu of flowers gifts in Dr. Coughlin’s memory may be made to Urban Ministries of Durham, 412 Liberty St., Durham 27701 ( or to Durham Rescue Mission, 507 E. Knox, Durham 27701 ( Arrangements are with Hall-Wynne Funeral Service & Crematory. Online memorials:

Clara Emory Davis
DURHAM — After 90 full and wonderful years with family and friends, Clara Emory Davis went to be with her Heavenly Father on March 25, 2014 while resting at home. A woman of exceptional faith, she devoted her life to her family, as well as praying for and encouraging others. Clara was born April 2, 1923 in Durham, NC to the late William Hubert & Clara Crane Emory. With 14 brothers and sisters, her parents instilled in her a strong work ethic, a love of family, and a deeply rooted faith that remained prominent throughout her life. Her family fondly referred to her as “Piggy” because she was such a tiny thing. In 1943, Clara married the late Warren Markham. Clara was a working mother and, while raising their three sons, held several jobs, including Durham Dairy and many years at the UNC. In 1966, Clara married the late Tom Davis and welcomed becoming a mother of three additional children. Clara and Tom later relocated to Atlantic Beach where they enjoyed many years together prior to Clara returning to Chapel Hill to be closer to family. Clara enjoyed the beach and loved being outdoors and gardening or “digging in the dirt,” but more than anything, Clara enjoyed being with her family and was always active in their lives. She was a lifelong church member no matter where she lived, and her final church was Aldersgate Methodist Church. Clara’s heart was passionate regarding the work of helping others. Through her love, prayer, and council, Clara’s life touched the hearts of all who knew her. Anyone who ever met her walked away a better person. She just had that kind of impact.
In addition to her parents and husbands who preceded her in death, Clara will be greeted in heaven by her siblings.
Clara will be dearly missed as she is survived by her sons, Pat Markham of Charlotte, Michael Markham of San Angelo, Tex., and Preston Markham of Burlington; step-daughter, Teri Horton of Apex; two step-sons, Tommy Davis of Raleigh and Richard Davis of Wilmington; one sister, Jean Williams of Durham; 14 grandchildren and 12 great-grandchildren. As Clara’s siblings passed, her relationship with numerous nieces and nephews grew even stronger and all were so very special to her. The family would like to especially thank Robert Jones and Angela Jackson.
A Memorial service in Celebration of Clara's life will be held on Saturday, March 29, 2014 at 1 p.m. at Hudson Funeral Chapel. Pastor Donnie Evans-Jones will officiate. The family will receive friends immediately following the service at Hudson Funeral Home. The family requests donations be made to Aldersgate United Methodist Church, 632 Laurel Hill Rd, Chapel Hill, NC 27514. Online condolences may be made at

Mary Ruth Hayes
DURHAM — Ms. Mary Ruth Hayes, 91, of Durham, died on Wednesday, March 26, 2014.
Ms. Hayes was born in Durham, the daughter of the late Ralph V. Hayes and Lula Mae Ladd Hayes. She lived in New York for 40 years and returned to Durham after retiring. She retired from the U.S. Postal Service as a mail sorter. She was predeceased by three brothers and two sisters.
She is survived by her daughters, Linda Apton of Brooklyn, NY and Debra Mancini and husband, Jay of Teaneck, NJ; brothers, Celph Hayes of Durham and John T. Hayes of Belmont, NC; grandson, Jason Apton; great-grandchildren, Max and Ruby Apton; and sister-in-law, Gretchen Hayes of Mebane.
Memorial services will be held at a later date. Online condolences may be made at

Marione Willene Jackson Herman
DURHAM — Marione Willene Jackson Herman, the oldest of three children of the late Genester Brown Jackson and the late William Arthur Jackson, was born September 30, 1941 in Kings Mountain, North Carolina. Her family relocated to Durham in 1954. She departed this life on March 26, 2014 after a long struggle with breast cancer.
Marione was a 1959 honors graduate of Hillside High School. She matriculated at North Carolina College (NCCU), taking a major in French and a minor in Spanish. At NCC she was president of the Pyramid Club and later a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. She was founding president of Pi Delta Phi (French Honor Society). She served as an Exchange student during the summer of 1962, studying Spanish at Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico. She graduated cum laude with the Bachelor of Arts degree in 1963. After attending NDEA Foreign Language Institutes at North Carolina Central, Kansas State Teachers College and West Virginia University, serving as a demonstration teacher in each, she was awarded the Master of Arts degree in French (1972) by NCCU. She did further graduate studies at Atlantic Christian College, UNC-CH, and East Carolina University.
She was employed by the Hertford County Board of Education in 1963 where she taught French and Spanish at the R.L. Vann School until 1970. With the advent of integration, she was transferred to the Ahoskie High School where she taught foreign languages until retirement.
Marione began her walk with the Lord at Mt. Olive Baptist Church in Kings Mountain. She later moved her membership to White Rock Baptist Church in Durham and then to New Ahoskie Baptist Church. Upon her move back to Durham, she reinstated her membership with White Rock where she was an active member with several ministries until her health prevented her participation.
Marione was always a “fighter in the army.” She was stricken with poliomyelitis at age seven. Though it left her with a paralyzed left arm, it was not a major difficulty for her. Because of the guidance of a caring professor, she referred to the “handicap as merely an “atypicality” and refused to believe that there was anything she could not accomplish.
She was married in 1964 to Harry T. Herman who preceded her in death; they were the parents of one son, H. Todd Herman who survives. She is also survived by her grandson, Gabriel Tariq Herman; her devoted former daughter-in-law, Shannon Monroe Herman; her loving brother and sister, Walter A. Jackson and Sue J. Jarmon (Mack). Other survivors include her nieces and nephews (whom she called her “other grandchildren”) Marcus A. Jackson (Berthelia), David A. Jarmon (Vanessa), Dennis A. Jarmon (Venita), and Delbert L. Jarmon (Carmen); 11 great-nieces and nephews; Susie Davis Jackson; Alisa A. Jarmon; a host of cousins; her White Rock Baptist Church family; her sisters of the Ahoskie Alumnae, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. and her Hillside High School 1959 classmates.
At her request, her remains have been cremated and there will be no services.
The family is under the care of Fisher Funeral Parlor.

James Allen Lambertson
DURHAM — James Allen Lambertson, 54, passed away on Monday, March 24, 2014 at Durham Regional Hospital in Durham, North Carolina. James was the son of Viola and the late James Wendell Lambertson.
In addition to his mother, he is survived by his children, Trevor and Tristen Lambertson of Raleigh, NC; a sister, Deborah Smith of Durham, NC; one grandson, Kalen Lambertson of Raleigh, NC; and finacée, Bettie Susan Jordan of Durham, NC.
He also leaves fives aunts, Rev. Dorothy Joyner (Raymond), Luvenia Brower, Gloria Moyd, Catherine Britt, and Onethia Manley; one uncle, Lee Vernon Manley; a special sister, Gayle Taliaferro of Durham, NC; and a host of relatives and friends.
He was employed by the Veteran's Administration (Veterans Helping Veterans). He was also a member of Groove Phi Groove Social Fellowship.
A funeral service will be held Saturday, March 29, 2014 at Second Baptist Potecasi Church, Potecasi, NC. Viewing will be an hour before the service at 12 noon.
Arrangements have been entrusted to H.D. Pope Funeral Service in Roanoke Rapids, NC.

Robert A. Willis
DURHAM — Robert A. Willis, 60, co-founder of Integrity Building & Maintenance Services, was called home on Saturday, March 22, 2014 in Durham, NC. Robert was born in Durham to the late Carroll and Virginia Saxon Willis, Sr. He graduated from Durham High and matriculated at UNC Chapel Hill before receiving his master’s from the University of Connecticut. He attended St. Titus Episcopal Church throughout his childhood, and rejoined the congregation upon his return to Durham in 2002.
Robert was pre-deceased by his brother, Carroll Willis Jr.
He leaves his wife, Carol Willis; daughter, Rheaya Willis; sister-in-law, Bernice Willis of New Haven, CT; niece, Holley Willis of New Orleans, LA; cousins, Donna Saxon of Apex, NC, Father JaVan Saxon of Laurinburg, NC, Jocelyn Williams of Durham, NC, Pamela Beech-Whaley of Atlanta, GA, Harvey Beech Jr. of Kinston, NC, along with a host of other family and friends. A wake will be held on Friday, March 28, 2014 at 6-8pm and the funeral will take place on Saturday, March 29, 2014 at 11am. Both services will be held at St. Titus Episcopal Church, 400 Moline St, Durham, NC 27707.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to Find-A-Kid Golf Club (Jerry Spence, 208 Stone Lion Dr, Durham NC 27703), Hillside High Tennis Program (NAAHHS, Post Office Box 51758, Durham NC 27717; check subject line: HHH Tennis/Robert Willis) and St. Titus Episcopal Church (400 Moline St, Durham NC 27707).
Services entrusted to Ellis D. Jones & Sons Funeral Directors. Condolences may be sent at


Susan F. Schwab
CHAPEL HILL — Surrounded in her North Carolina home by her family, Susan F. Schwab passed away peacefully on March 24 from pancreatic cancer. Born August 13, 1952, she was raised in Tonawanda, New York and attended St. Amelia School and Mount Saint Mary Academy. After graduating from the University of Buffalo, Susan began a 30+-year career in information technology for health systems and higher education institutions. Susan also spent her life being the irreplaceable glue and ever-supportive, constantly insightful touchstone for her family and friends. She is survived by her loving husband of 29 years, John Denardo, and their beloved animals Chrissy, Bella, Cinnamon and Shirley. Preceded in death by her father, Gilbert “Butch” Schwab, Susan is also survived by her mother, Dorothy A. Schwab; “seesters," Sally Nisser (Mike), Teresa “Honey” Schwab (Steve Hussey), Deanna Schwab (Mark Covaro); brothers, Joseph and Peter; niece, Katya Nisser, and nephew, Khalil Nisser; brother-in-law, Tom Denardo (Valorie Schwarzmann); sister-in-law, Theresa DiNardo Brown (Steven Brown); nephews, Tony Denardo, Steven Brown, Jr. and Benjamin Brown; niece, Maria Denardo. Susan leaves a host of aunts, uncles, cousins and beloved friends who were touched by her love and kindness and who join her family in cherishing her memory. The family expresses profound gratitude for the care Susan received at UNC Lineberger Cancer Center and UNC Hospice. A memorial service is being planned for May 17 to coincide with the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network’s PurpleStride Raleigh-Durham. In lieu of flowers, contributions in Susan’s name to the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network ( are deeply appreciated. Friends are encouraged to leave online condolence messages at Walker’s Funeral Home of Chapel Hill is serving the Schwab family.


Richard Neal Murray
WENDELL — Richard Neal Murray, 58, died at home on Wednesday. He was a native of Durham County. Neal was a great guy with a big personality. He always made you feel at home no matter where or who you were. He worked for many years at Ferrell Gas. He was preceded in death by a sister, Kathy.
He is survived by his wife of 28 years, Diane Georghiou Murray, son, Christopher Murray, both of the home, parents, Ralph & Ruth Hicks Murray, sisters, Deborah & Ellen.
In lieu of flowers memorials are requested to Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church, Lead Mine Rd., Raleigh, NC.
Funeral service 11 am, Saturday, Strickland Funeral Home Chapel, 211 W. Third St., Wendell, with visitation from 9am -11am, prior to the service. Interment, Greenmount Cemetery.