Obituaries, August 18, 2014
DURHAM — Ann Majestic passed away peacefully on August 16th at home with her husband of 37 years, Hank, by her side. She loved living in Trinity Park and being a partner at Tharrington Smith for over 30 years. At reunions, she took pride in saying that she had the same spouse, the same house, and the same job.
Ann had a brilliant mind and a wonderful, understated sense of humor. Sweet, loyal, and a great influence to many, she is deeply treasured and will be greatly missed by all who knew her.
A self-described Navy brat, Ann was born in Hawaii but lived in many places. Her family settled in Aiken, South Carolina when she was in high school, and from there she went to Duke University. It was there she met Hank, her husband to be, 44 years ago.
Upon graduating from Duke, Ann worked at the National Association of State Colleges and Universities in Washington, DC. She' then went to Harvard University where she earned a Master’s Degree in Education. For the next two years, while her husband was finishing his Ph.D. in clinical psychology, she worked in the College of Arts and Sciences at the University of Georgia.
At the encouragement of her long time mentor, Terry Sanford, Ann applied her passion for higher education to a legal career and received her J.D. from Duke Law School. Promptly after graduation in 1982, Ann joined Tharrington Smith, where she grew to become a legend among school attorneys. Ann dedicated her life to improving education - and special education in particular - in North Carolina where she represented several school boards, including the Wake, Durham, Orange, Alamance-Burlington, and Moore school systems. She also served as counsel to the North Carolina School Boards Association and the North Carolina Psychologists' Association.
In 1998, Ann received the Distinguished Service Award of the North Carolina Bar Association for outstanding service to the education law section. Most recently, Ann was presented with a Lifetime Achievement Award by the National School Boards Association Council of School Attorneys for her outstanding record of service to the Education Law community.
Ann brought to her work a fundamental sense of right and wrong and was always thoughtful and professional. With her incredibly sharp legal mind, she was always able to hone in on the critical issues in a case and to apply accurate and insightful legal analysis. Her commitment to excellence in the representation of her clients never wavered.
As one of the most respected and most prominent school attorneys, she was a frequent and sought-after speaker at both the state and national levels on a variety of school law topics. She was always willing to generously share her insights and her legal reasoning with her colleagues. She also understood that the practice of education law in particular and the practice of law generally is a public service that requires a selfless devotion to the needs of the people served.
Ann mentored an entire generation of young school attorneys in the state, who learned from Ann how to excel in their profession. She was a giant in her chosen field and will be missed. One school attorney recently said of Ann, "For many years, at gatherings of North Carolina School Attorneys, Ann was the biggest presence in the room."
In addition to fulfilling a demanding professional role, she was a wonderful wife to Hank, mother to Michael and Catherine, grandmother to Wes, mother-in-law to Nicole and Brooks, and dear friend to many. She was a wonderful sister to Mary, Bob, Jane, Barbara, and Mig; and a loving daughter of Gertrude “Kit” Little and the late Ashley Little. She also loved being a "Beauty Mother" with Nyra, Amanda, and Cathy.
Ann loved to garden, and her exquisite backyard was a testament to her sense of beauty. Catherine once accused her of being obsessed when long after the sun went down she was still planting with the aid of a flash light. When Ann protested this characterization, Catherine pointed out that denial was one of the first indicators of a problem.
Known as “Annie Pie” by family and friends, Ann loved to cook and made a Bourbon Pecan Pie that had no rival. She and Hank hosted many memorable Thanksgiving dinners for 20+ family members and friends. Ann also loved spending time at Bald Head Island, sitting on a rocker, conversing with friends and family. She loved reading, knitting, and playing games, especially Up and Down the River with Dave and Claudia. Ann was ever so appreciative of all the love and support she received from her friends Nancy, Karin, Marybeth, Vickie, Sissy, Karen, Jonathan, Rod and Allison.
Ann’s funeral will be 3:00 PM Wednesday from First Presbyterian Church, where she was a member. Private cremation will follow. The family will receive friends 6-8 PM Tuesday in the church. Ann requested she be memorialized at the Duke Gardens of Duke University. In lieu of flowers memorial contributions may be made to the Ann Majestic Memorial, Sarah B. Duke Gardens, c/o Teresa Dark, Box 90341, Durham, NC 27708. Arrangements are with Hall-Wynne Funeral Service & Crematory. On-line memorials: hallwynne.com
Mildred Riley Pope
DURHAM — Mrs. Mildred Riley Pope, 88, wife of the late James Elmus Pope, Jr., died Friday at her home, surrounded by her family.
Mrs. Pope was born and raised in Durham, graduating from Durham High School in 1943. After living away from the area since 1943, she and her family returned to Durham in 1959. For many years she was a homemaker, raising a family of five children. She then went to work as an Administrative Assistant for CCB, and Borden Brick and Tile, retiring in 1990. Mrs. Pope was involved with the neighborhood Bridge club and Garden Club. She volunteered her time with the Durham Crisis Center and the Blind Veterans Association at the VA Medical Center.
Mrs. Pope was a charter member of Glendale Heights United Methodist Church, where she was very active in the church and a member of the Joe Goehring Sunday School Class.
She is survived by her two daughters, Brenda P. Witten and her husband, Dave, of Reedville, VA, Angela P. Alford of Creedmoor; two sons, Kevin B. Pope and his wife, Mary, of Rougemont, and Gary T. Pope of Salt Lake City, UT; grandchildren, Julie, and her fiancée, Chance, Hahnna, Jennifer and her husband, Charles, Evan, Jiles, Jessica and her husband, Allen; five great grandchildren, Parker, Victor, Cole, Kaylyn, Braydyn; brother, Homer L. Riley of Durham; sister, Doris Perry of Fayetteville; and her daughter-in-law, Nancy Hutt, of San Francisco, CA.
In addition to her husband, Mrs. Pope was preceded in death by her son, James Elmus Pope, III; parents, Norfolk and Letha Brady Riley; and her step father, William Garris.
A funeral service will be held on Monday, August 18, 2014, at 11:00 AM at Glendale Heights United Methodist Church. Officiating will be Rev. Stacy Lundy. Burial will follow at Maplewood Cemetery.
Pallbearers will be Donnie Coefield, Scott Perry, Kevin Pope, Lin Riley, Page Riley, Steve Riley, Barry Smith, and Don Witten.
The family will receive visitors Sunday afternoon from 2-5 p.m. at the Howerton & Bryan Funeral Home. Flowers are accepted, or memorials may be directed to Glendale Heights United Methodist Church, 908 Leon Street, Durham, NC 27704 or to Parkinson Association of the Carolinas, 5970 Fairview Road, Suite 217, Charlotte, NC 28210.
The Pope family is under the care of Howerton & Bryan Funeral Home. Online condolences may be submitted at www.howerton bryan.com, select obituaries.
John Christopher (Chris) Johnson
CREEDMOOR — John Christopher (Chris) Johnson, 65, a longtime resident of Creedmoor passed away Friday, August, 15, 2014 at Duke Regional Hospital.
A native of Durham, the son of the late John Benjamin and Lois J. Johnson.
Memorial services will be conducted at 11:00 A.M. Tuesday, August 19, 2014 at Eakes Funeral Home in Creedmoor.
Visitation will be held Tuesday, August 19th, 2014 at 10:00 A.M. at Eakes Funeral Home in Creedmoor prior to the memorial service.
Surviving are his wife Kathy Johnson of the home, his sons; Ben Johnson (Jensen) and Matthew Johnson, step-children; Martha and Matthew Hall, a daughter- in- law, Landis Hall and three grandchildren; Lana, Landin and Lukas Hall. He was preceded in death by a step-father, Calvin Rhodes and half- brother, Jerry Johnson.
In lieu of flowers memorials can be made to the NC Wildlife Association.
Online condolences can be made to www.eakesfuneralhome.com
Eakes Funeral Home in Creedmoor is assisting the Johnson Family.
Thelma Christeen Watkins
HILLSBOROUGH — Thelma Christeen Watkins, 94, died on Friday, August 15, 2014, at UNC Hospitals She was born Saturday, June 19, 1920 in Alamance County to the late Tom & Nancy Whitmore Watkins.
The funeral will be conducted Tuesday 2:00 PM in Jones Grove Baptist Church with a family visitation one hour prior to the funeral in the church: 1:00 to 2:00 PM
Surviving are sons, Gotha Swann of Charlotte, NC and George Swann (Carnetta)of Mebane, NC, daughters, Malinda Wilson (Sherwood), Betty Steward, Yvonne Fearrington, Frances Rone all of Hillsborough, NC, Brenda Daye (Leo) of Rougemont, NC, Vanessa Swann of Butner, NC and Leslie Koonce
(Jereamy) of Mebane, NC., Sixteen grandchildren, nineteen great grandchildren and nine great-grand-children, Three sisters and three brothers.
Public viewing today , Monday 11:00 am until 7:00 PM in Chavis-Parker Funeral Home. Family receiving friends at the home 3012 Mooresfield Road Hillsborough, NC.27278
Reverend Ronald James Snider
ROXBORO —A Celebration of the Life and Ministry of Reverend Ronald James Snider will be held at 2:00 p.m. on Monday, August 18, 2014 at Mt. Sylvan UMC, 5731 North Roxboro Road, Durham. The family will receive friends at 1:00 p.m.
Edith Holloway (Polly) Zendel
RALEIGH — Edith Holloway (Polly) Zendel, 91, died Sunday, August 17, 2014.She was widowed in 1952 at the age of 29 and raised two small children on her own. Her working career spanned 65 years. She retired at age 82 as owner and operator of Rivermont Family Care Home. She was generous and caring to those in need, both people and animals.
Surviving are her daughter and son-in-law, Ann Z. and Robert C. Wheeler of Raleigh; her son and daughter-in-law, Robert L. and Andy Zendel of Hickory; two grandchildren, Ragan Ramsey and Zac Wheeler; and four great-grandchildren.
A funeral service will be held on Tuesday, August 19, at 11 AM at Bryan-Lee Funeral Home, 831 Wake Forest Road. The family will receive friends at the funeral home prior to the service from 10 until 11 AM. Interment will be private at Old Maplewood Cemetery in Durham.
Memorials may be made either to SPCA of Wake County, 200 Petfinder Lane, Raleigh, NC 27603 or to Transitions LifeCare, 250 Hospice Circle, Raleigh, NC 27607.
A special thanks to Dr. Charles Mangano and the staff of 3A at WakeMed and to Transitions Life Care of Raleigh.
Online condolences may be offered at www.bryan-leefuneralhome.com .
Catherine Elizabeth Sweitzer Gunter
WEST JEFFERSON — Catherine Elizabeth Sweitzer Gunter age 80 of West Jefferson, NC died on Friday, August 15, 2014 at Margate Health and Rehab Center. Mrs. Gunter was born in Baltimore, MD on May 13, 1934 to Aurthur William and Anna Josephine Sweitzer. In addition to her parents, Mrs. Gunter was preceded in death by, her husband, George Gunter, Jr. and brother, Henry Sweitzer.
Funeral services will be held on Tuesday, August 19, 2014 at 11:00 am at Ashelawn Memorial Chapel by Rev. Lloyd Day. Burial will follow in Ashelawn Memorial Gardens with military rites.
The family will receive friends from 5:00-7:00 pm on Monday, August 18, 2014 at Ashelawn Memorial Chapel.
Mrs. Gunter is survived by: four children, Susan Walker of Creedmoor, NC, Dennis Gunter of Warrington, NC, Greg Gunter of Hurdles Mill, NC and Tracy Williams of West Jefferson, two brothers, Aurthur Sweitzer of Dundalk, MD and Richard Sweitzer of Baltimore, MD. Also surviving are seven grandchildren, six great-grandchildren and several nieces and nephews.
Flowers will be accepted or memorials may be made to the American Diabetes Association.
Words of comfort or remembrance may be sent or viewed though our websitewww.ashelawn.com.
Ashelawn Memorial Chapel & Gardens of Jefferson, NC was entrusted with Mrs. Gunter's arrangements.