August 20, 2013

Aug. 19, 2013 @ 06:14 PM

Adriana Ciompi

DURHAM — Mrs. Adriana Ciompi died at her home at Croasdaile Village in Durham, NC, on Monday, August 19, 2013 after a brief illness. She was 91.
Born Adriana Prat on November 27, 1921 in Torino, Italy, she grew up as the adored only child of Ada and Antonio Prat. In school she excelled at languages and ballet, and was an especially gifted athlete, earning a place on two Italian national squads as both a skier (slalom) and swimmer (backstroke). Sadly, the outbreak of World War II and subsequent cancellation of the 1940 Olympics dashed her dreams of competing for her country in both disciplines.
That year turned out to be memorable for her in an entirely different way, though, as it was that summer when she met her future husband, the concert violinist and Florentine native Giorgio Ciompi, at the Italian Riviera resort of Forte de Marmi.   They were married two years later as war raged around them, and settled in Venice, where Giorgio was a professor at the Benedetto Marcello Conservatory. As members of the anti-fascist movement, they were forced to flee Venice in 1943, and took refuge at the Prat family home in Pollone, Italy, a small village at the foot of the Alps. It was there that their first son, Niccolo, was born in 1944.
After the war, Giorgio was invited to become a member of Arturo Toscanini’s renowned NBC Symphony, and the couple emigrated to New York, leaving young Niccolo behind in the care of his grandparents. After Giorgio solidified his American career by also joining the famed Albeneri Trio, he and Adriana were able to send for Niccolo, and the family was reunited in New York City in time for the birth of Arturo in 1949.
Adriana went to work for the Voice of America, at first doing celebrity interviews, and later graduating to roles in plays and soap operas, all broadcast via radio to Italy.  In that way, the family’s foreign relatives and friends were reassured, despite the ocean that separated them. In 1954, Giorgio, Adriana, and Niccolo proudly became American citizens.
The family moved to Cleveland, Ohio, in 1955, when Giorgio was appointed head of the string department at the Cleveland Institute of Music. Adriana was mostly a homemaker and loving mother to her two sons during the next 10 years, but was able to continue her ballet studies with Norman Cornick and Janet Collins.
One last relocation occurred in 1964, when Duke University offered Giorgio a position as artist-in-residence, and the chance to form his own string quartet. After settling in the new Hope Valley area of town, Adriana began teaching ballet at Allied Arts (the precursor to today’s Durham Arts Council). A generation of aspiring ballerinas profited from Adriana’s careful tutelage; many of them went on to professional careers and kept in touch with her right until the end. The Ciompis, along with James and Mary Semans, the Kenan family, Vittorio Giannini, and Gov. Terry Sanford, were among the prime movers and shakers who were instrumental in the founding of the North Carolina School of the Arts in Winston-Salem. Adriana was an early faculty member (she taught both Italian and French), and she and Giorgio shepherded dozens of student musicians overseas for the first years of NCSA’s summer session in Siena, Italy. Her NCSA and Duke families were quick to support her in myriad ways after Giorgio’s untimely death in 1983.
In 2003, Adriana gained a whole new set of friends and admirers of her quick wit and finely honed sense of the ridiculous, when she moved to Croasdaile Village. The family is deeply grateful to Dr. Heidi White and the entire caring and professional staff of Croasdaile’s Heritage House for their sensitive and unstinting attention to Adriana during the past 11 years. 
Adriana will be sorely missed by her son, Nick and his wife, Kate; her son, Arturo and his wife, Ellen; her grandson, Christopher and his husband, Patrick Huguenin, of Boston; her granddaughter, Laura, of Raleigh; and her granddaughter, Diana, of Durham. In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to the Friends of the Ciompi Quartet of Duke University, that they may continue to bring music and the Ciompi name to audiences in Durham, across the United States, and all over the world. No memorial service is planned but arrangements are being handled by Howerton Bryan Funeral Home of Durham; messages for the family can be left in their online condolence book,

Rae Ellen Francis
DURHAM — Rae Ellen Francis died peacefully on August 15 at the Hock Family Pavilion in Durham. She was born August 13, 1947 in Erie, PA where she grew up, graduating from Strong Vincent High School in 1965. She spent many summers at her Aunt Grace and Uncle David’s home in the Chautauqua Institution in western New York. Rae Ellen attended Grove City College, but her passion was to be a flight attendant. She received her “wings” from American Airlines in 1969, and was based in New York City until her marriage to her husband of 41 years, Bill, in 1972. Bill was a Lieutenant in the U.S. Army stationed in Stuttgart, Germany where the young couple began their life together.
Rae Ellen loved life and the many friends she made along the way. All knew her for her strong faith, warm smile and joyful laugh. Having lived in six states and two countries, she enjoyed travel. She and Bill saw much of Europe as campers, then much of the US east coast and Caribbean islands as cruising sailors. Rae Ellen was a pre-school teacher for 26 years, most of them with Westminster Kindergarten in Durham. She was very active as a volunteer serving with Meals-on Wheels, Southlake, TX Senior Citizens, National Charity League, and Women’s International Bible Study Fellowship, among others. Rae Ellen loved cooking and entertaining friends and family in her warm and welcoming homes. She especially loved her flowers, birds, sea life and just being around any water. She was a devoted wife and mother and coveted every moment with her precious grandchildren. Above all, Rae Ellen loved her Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. She was a long time member of Blacknall Memorial Presbyterian Church in Durham, where she shared her gift of service with the Women’s Guild. She completed 14 years of study with Women’s Bible Study Fellowship.
Rae Ellen was the daughter of John and Helen Walter, who preceded her in death. She is survived by her loving husband, Bill; her daughter, Abigail Schmidt (David) of Rhome, TX; two sisters, Lynn Schneider (Arthur) of Cary and Deborah Marsh (Harold) of Edinboro, PA; three grandchildren, Joshua, Joseph and Kimber Schmidt of Rhome, TX; and a host of other relatives.
A memorial service will be held 2 p.m. Saturday at Blacknall Memorial Presbyterian Church, 1902 Perry St., with a reception following the service in the church Fellowship Hall.
Bill wishes to sincerely thank everyone who so dearly touched Rae Ellen’s life, especially the loving thoughts, prayers and gestures in these last difficult years. 
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to Duke Home Care and Hospice or the Duke Cancer Institute.
Arrangements are with Hall-Wynne Funeral Service & Crematory. On-line memorials:

Joseph Leonard McCowan
DURHAM — Joseph Leonard McCowan, age 53, died Sunday at Durham Regional Hospital.
Born October 1, 1959 in Durham, Joe attended the Durham public schools, graduating from Hillside High School in 1978. He was employed with Kroger Grocery for 37 years, many of which were at the Hillsborough Road location.
A friend to all, he was a member of Grace Baptist Church, and was called an “angel of the church” by his pastor, because he never minded doing what he was asked to do, and often volunteered for church projects.
Joe loved spending time with his family and enjoyed boating with them. He was an avid Duke fan, and liked cooking and especially grilling outside.
He is survived by his wife, Phyliss Thomas McCowan; his son, Eddie Lane and wife, Jennifer of Hillsborough; his daughter, Brandi Atkins and husband, Scott of Efland; his mother, Anne Lane McCowan of Townsville; two sisters, Susan Brooks of Durham, and Kimberly McCowan and partner, Kathy Hurst of Oxford; his brother, John Michael McCowan and wife, Teresa of Durham; four grandchildren, Alexzandra, Madison, Jordan and Parker; and 10 nieces and nephews, Nicole, Matthew, Justin, Jerry, Gary, Jeff, John, Matthew, Mark, Adam, and Jessica; Also surviving is “Max” the family dog. He was preceded in death by his father, John Hugh McCowan Jr.
Funeral services will be held Wednesday at 3 p.m. at Grace Baptist Church in Cedar Grove, Rev. Charles Hamilton officiating. Burial will be in the church cemetery. The family will receive friends at the church from 1 to 3 p.m.
Pallbearers will be Matthew Brooks, Justin McCowan, Gary Ray, Jeff Ray, John Thomas III, and Matthew Thomas.
Flowers are acceptable or memorials may be made to Grace Baptist Church, 9922 NC Highway 86 North, Cedar Grove, North Carolina  27231.
Howerton & Bryan Funeral Home is assisting the McCowan family. Online condolences may be submitted to, select obituaries.

Kenneth Alton Roberts II
DURHAM — Elder Kenneth Alton Roberts, II, formerly of Durham and son of Kenneth and Lettie Roberts passed on August 15, 2013.
Services will be held on Wednesday, August 21st at 12:00 at United House of Prayer For All People, 1204 Church Street, Norfolk Va.
Services entrusted to Metropolitan Funeral Home 757-628-1000.

Marvin Wellons Coghill Jr.

September 8, 1933 – August 18, 2013
WILSON — Marvin Wellons Coghill Jr., passed away Sunday, August 18, 2013 at Rex Hospital after an illness of several months. Funeral services will be conducted 4 p.m. Saturday at the First Presbyterian Church, 414 Sunset Road, Wilson. The Rev. Dr. Tom Watkins and Rev. James McKinnon will officiate. The burial will be private.
Marvin was born September 8, 1933, in Henderson to the late Marvin Wellons and Emma Parham Coghill, and he grew up in the Bearpond Community of Vance County. He was a 1951 graduate of Henderson High School and attended North Carolina State University. He was a US Navy Veteran, serving during the Korean War.
Shortly after his discharge from the Navy, Marvin went to work overseas in the tobacco industry. He was highly regarded in the tobacco industry throughout the world and spent many years in the Far East with Standard Commercial Tobacco Company. He was living in Thailand in 1980 when the company transferred him to Wilson, where he retired in 2000.
He is survived by his wife, Anne Fleming Coghill of the home; his stepson, Jeffrey K. Fleming and wife, Kim, their children, Peyton and Harrison of Auburn, AL and Lauren of Raleigh; his stepson, Bradley H. Fleming and wife, Lara, their children, Noah and Abigail of Charlotte; his nephew, George P. Coghill Jr., and his daughter, Ashley of Cary; his niece, Betsy Marshburn and husband, Randy and their children, Robert and Michael of Cary; his niece, Martha Johnson and husband, Kenny and their children, Craig, Connor, Kyle and Korey of Elkhorn, NE. He is also survived by several first cousins.
In addition to his parents, he is preceded in death by his first wife, Tomoe Keoto Coghill; and his brother, George Parham Coghill and wife, Sara.
Marvin was one of the founders of Wilson Youth United – The SPOT, 910 Tarboro Street, Wilson, NC 27893, an organization that is devoted to caring for kids. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that memorials may be directed to this organization in his memory.
Condolences may be directed to