Obituaries, April 16, 2014
Ruby Jean Cates
DURHAM — Ruby Jean Cates, 78, daughter of the late Eddie C. and Harriett L. Thomas Toomer born August 15 1935, died on Sunday, April 13, 2014, at UNC Hospitals in Chapel Hill, NC.
The funeral will be conducted Thursday, 2:00 PM in Lattisville Grove Baptist Church with family visitation at 1:00 PM in the church. Burial in Glenn Grove Church Cemetery, Rougemont, NC.
Survivors are her devoted and loving husband, Johnnie Cates Sr.; one son, Johnnie Cates (Jennifer); daughters, Jacqueline Holeman (Bryant) and Brenda Jacobs; 9 grandchildren; 6 great-grandchildren; a host of other relatives and friends.
Public viewing today 11:00 AM until 7:00 PM at Chavis-Parker Funeral Home.
Barry Gale Greever
DURHAM — Barry Gale Greever, known for his twinkling eyes, his gentle touch, and his stubborn will, passed on April 6, 2014, at the age of 74. Through his ministry with the Fellowship of Light, work with Genesis House and other Durham homeless shelters, and immersion in Native spiritual traditions, Barry touched many lives with his counseling and healing sessions over the last several decades in Durham and Chapel Hill. His passion for justice, talent for technical hobbies from his nerdiness as a teenage ham radio operator on through his adult play with computer flight simulation, and love of puns and music are but a few characteristics that undergirded his eclectic and creative nature. In 1964-65 voter registration drives in Mississippi, he wrote songs and performed playing his guitar to confound the gun-carrying white supremacists and later penned the "Wrinkled Radical,” an inspirational ballad used by the Gray Panthers. His friend Rich Davis remembers Barry telling of substituting his body for that of a young black woman suffering a beating at the hands of the law in the civil rights struggles. The beating cost him his front teeth, but in jail, Barry fashioned a chess set out of plastic utensils to cheer his fellow inmates.
Born to Claude Walton Greever and Edith Love Williams Greever in Welch, West Virginia in 1940, in the heart of McDowell County coal country, Barry endured poverty through his keen mind and early Presbyterian faith. He graduated St. Andrews College in 1963 and married his first wife, Helen McPhail, in Laurinburg, NC. He had launched his ministry career at Earlham College, but moved deeply by nonviolent action in the south, he gave up seminary to do God's work. Not just a few weeks of Freedom Summer in Mississippi, Barry for several years dug his heels into the hearts of many, facing down the segregationists, strumming his guitar and culling the seeds of strategic thinking he brought to bear in the next two decades of his life.
From Mississippi civil rights to conscientious objector work and anti- Vietnam war mobilization in New York, to Maryland Action utility rate struggles, to Ralph Nader's nuclear power research and tax policy projects, to supporting Harlan County UMW labor strikes, to Oregon Fair Share, and to numerous other citizen-action groups, Barry researched, organized, and trained many organizers and activists. He wrote, and the Midwest Academy training institute published, the seminal "Tactical Investigations for Peoples' Struggles," a monograph that is still used around the world today to enhance the skills of thousands of organizers. His system of using a knitting needle to sort data on 3x5 cards with punch holes in precomputer days enabled many to get enrolled on Medicaid, remembers his friend Maura Doherty. His impeccable work in Westmoreland County inspired his lifelong friend Kathy Kadane to launch her career in investigations.
Yet his myriad efforts at spinning the wheels of justice in the material world took a toll on his body. His physical energy depleted by the complications of diabetes, Barry refocused his attention back to the spiritual world, studying with an influential shaman, attending a winter solstice ceremony in Mexico in 1985 and working during the 1990s with his friend Friederike Richards at the Alternative Bookstore in Carrboro. He marshaled all his physical and considerable spiritual strength to earn a black belt in karate in 2006, an amazing feat given his last two decades of strokes, heart problems and pain from spinal stenosis. He labored hard and long to change the world and his spiritual presence changed the inner world of many. Up through the time of his last illness, his daily discipline included practicing his katas, reciting many prayers on his rosary beads and tuning in to catch up on progressive news perspectives.
Barry leaves behind his daughter, Mabel Imani McCreary of Durham, and his older brother, Claude Walton Greever of Abingdon, Virginia, as well as his former wife, Cathy Howell, currently working in El Salvador; his good friends in the Triangle, Friederike and David Richards; his daughter's mother, Mardie McCreary; and numerous close friends around the country. Barry was predeceased by his parents and his younger brother, Jarrell. A memorial service and celebration of his life will take place in Durham on May 3, at 3:30 pm, in the chapel at Trinity Avenue Presbyterian Church, 927 West Trinity Ave., with a potluck gathering to follow at his daughter's home. Donations to Duke Hospice or to a peace or social change organization of one's choosing are welcome.
Susan Ella Haynes
DURHAM — Susan Ella Haynes of Durham, NC passed away on March 10, 2014. She was born in Baltimore, Maryland on November 2, 1943 to Mildred and Louis Hergenrather. Surviving are two older sisters, Millie Lou Patterson of Rosedale, Maryland and Audrey H. Cumberland of Durham, NC, six nieces and nephews, and numerous cousins.
Prior to relocating to Durham, 22 years ago, Susan was employed by Blue Cross Blue Shield. She retired in 2008 from Duke University Health System and PRMO where she was a computer programmer. After retiring, Susan volunteered with The Friends of the Durham Library.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the NC Library for the Blind, 1841 Capital Blvd., Raleigh, NC 27604-2188 or Doctors Without Borders, 333 7th Avenue, 2nd Floor, New York, New York 10001.
There will be a "Gathering" for friends and family on Sunday, April 27, 2014 from 2-5 to celebrate Susan's life. It will be held at The Clubhouse of Pebble Creek Condominiums, 702 Constitution Drive, Durham, NC. Please park on Constitution Drive as there is limited visitor's parking.
Alvin B. Johnson
DURHAM — Elder Alvin B. Johnson departed his life on Sunday, April 13, 2014. He leaves to cherish his memory, his loving wife, Delois, his mother, Dorothy Covington, three sons, one daughter, two step-daughters, four brothers, six grandchildren, three great-grandchildren and many other relatives and friends.
Funeral services will be held at 1:00 pm on Thursday at Mount Zion Christian Church, Durham, with visitation at 12:00 noon.
Arrangements entrusted to Holloway Memorial Funeral Home.
Eunice Wilkinson Parks
DURHAM — Eunice Wilkinson Parks, age 84, died Sunday, April 6 at Duke Regional Hospital following a period of declining health. Her husband, Harry Nelson Parks, was by her side at the time of her passing. She was born July 11, 1929 to J.C Wilkinson Sr. and Lucille Sansing, both preceding her in death. Eunice was also preceded in death by brothers J.C Wilkinson Jr. and Robert Wilkinson, sister Inez Fair, and nephew David Fair. In addition to her loving husband of 49 years, Eunice is survived by several nieces and nephews whom she adored.
In 1947, Eunice graduated from Durham High School. Her career included secretarial positions and bookkeeping. She was a volunteer with CONTACT for 25 years. As a longtime member of Glendale Heights United Methodist Church, she taught kindergartners in Sunday School. She and her husband shared the love of flying and cats. She loved to read and in addition to the friends she made through the years she also made friends all over the world via the Internet. Loved by many, she had a happy husband and a happy marriage. That is a life well lived.
A graveside service will be held at Maplewood Cemetery, Durham, NC, Thursday, April 17, 2014 at 11:30 AM. Officiating will be Pastor Adam Brinkley. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to your favorite charity. The family will receive friends at the home of Eunice's niece, Sharon Roberson, at 3108 Kenan Road, Durham, NC. Online condolences may be shared with the family at www.cremnc.com.
Dorothy Osborne Duke
CHAPEL HILL — Born to Ina Minatra Osborne and Foster Osborne in Giles County, Tennessee, the ninth of eleven children, Dot was an excellent student, and played on her high school basketball team. She often told her family about country life in Giles County, such as leading their red cow to the creek, and about her father’s small country store.
After graduating from high school, Dot attended two years of business college. Upon graduating, she married Lillard Claude Duke of Defeated Creek, TN. The couple settled in Old Hickory, TN where Dot began working for a large DuPont textiles plant as a forelady in the spinning rooms, and eventually as a secretary. She played basketball on the DuPont C-Shift women’s team. She retired from DuPont in 1980. Old Hickory was a beautiful little company-built town and Dot loved her life there.
Dot and Lillard became active members of the Old Hickory Church of Christ, traveling to small congregations to assist with vacation Bible schools. Later they became members of the Madison Church of Christ where they led a Fellowship Group and worked with Meals on Wheels. For years, each week they would boil two dozen eggs at home for the meals. Dot said, "The old people like eggs."
After 61 years of marriage to Dot, Lillard died in 2001. In 2005 she moved to Chapel Hill, NC to live with her family. In 2006 she moved into Spring Arbor Assisted Living of Durham. Even when her mind grew dim from dementia, she had a zest for life, remembered the songs to countless old hymns, and regularly attended church services at Spring Arbor. Her family is so grateful to the wonderful staff at Spring Arbor and to UNC-Hospice for their honorable and loving service.
Dot is survived by one sister-in-law, Anne Moorer Osborne of Nashville, Tennessee; one daughter, Linda Duke DeJongh (Paul) of Chapel Hill, NC; three granddaughters, Melinda DeJongh of Chapel Hill, NC, Vanessa Sutherland (Jack) of Chapel Hill, NC, and Olivia Raufman (Matt) of Atlanta, GA. She has three great-grandchildren, Eleri Sutherland and Luca and Sylvie Raufman. She is survived by numerous nieces and nephews, among them Kelley and Sheryl Wright of Old Hickory, TN who cared for Dot as if she were their own mother. Dot had an unusually sweet disposition, bright red hair, and was truly loved by all who knew her.
She will be interred in Hermitage Memorial Gardens in Hermitage, Tennessee beside her husband. A memorial service will be held on Saturday, April 26, 2014 at 2:00 (visitation at 1:00) at the Old Hickory Chapel of Phillips Robinson Funeral Home. In lieu of flowers donations to your local Hospice Association would be appreciated.
Elizabeth “Bettie” Wilhelmina Dorathea HoTong
CHAPEL HILL — Bettie HoTong, beloved wife and mother, passed away on April 14, 2014 at home in Chapel Hill NC, surrounded by those who deeply loved her after a courageous battle with cancer.
She lived and died with beauty and grace. Bettie was born in South Africa on April 16, 1962, studied in South Africa and after completing her Diploma in programming, moved to the USA and dedicated her professional life to programming in the financial arena.
She is survived by her husband, Anthony HoTong; her two children, Andrew and Rachel; her mother, Troosie Bezuidenhout; and her three brothers and sisters-in-law, Nollie and Maryna, Pieter and Rene and Joe and Tammy. Those she left behind are forever grateful and blessed for the light she brought into their lives.
A memorial service will be held on Friday April 18, 2014 at 11 a.m. at Walker's Funeral Home, 120 W. Franklin St, Chapel Hill NC 28516.
In lieu of flowers please send donations to “Pancreatic Cancer Action Network” (www.pancan.org) or
Walker's Funeral Home of Chapel Hill is honored to serve the HoTong family.
Bryant DeVon Gravitte
ROXBORO — Bryant DeVon Gravitte, age 75, of 615 Halifax Road died Monday, April 14, 2014 at Duke Medical Center Hospital. He was a native of Roxboro. Bryant was son of the late S. Bradsher and Aline Holt Gravitte. He is predeceased by his two brothers, S. Bradsher Gravitte, Jr. and Dwight Sherman Gravitte.
Bryant was an Army Veteran having served his country during peacetime. He was a member of the Providence Baptist Church. Bryant was retired from Universal Leaf Tobacco Company for which he had been Vice President and General Manager of Southern Processors, Inc. in Danville, Va. He was also a retired tobacco farmer.
He adored his wife of 52 years, Katie Neal Gravitte of the home; truly loved his two daughters, Amy Rose Gravitte (Delmer Rorie) of Raleigh and Carla Gravitte Garrett, husband Dr. Stephen Garrett of Roxboro; and his pride and joy granddaughter, Katie Ann Oakley; his sister, Ruth Gravitte Williams of Chapel Hill and his sister-in-law, Shirley Day Gravitte of Danville, Va.
The family will receive friends 7:00 PM to 8:30 PM Wednesday, April 16, 2014 at Providence Baptist Church.
The funeral service will be 4:00 PM, Thursday, April 17, 2014 at Providence Baptist Church with the Rev. Dennis McDonald officiating. Burial will be in the church cemetery.
Flowers are acceptable or memorials may be made to Providence Baptist Church, 1319 Virgilina Road, Roxboro, NC 27573.
Condolences may be made to www.brooksandwhite.com.
Virginia Love Tingen Bradsher Rhew
ROXBORO — Virginia Love Tingen Bradsher Rhew, 89, of 131 Benjamin Ct., Roxboro, died Tuesday, April 15, 2014. Mrs. Rhew is survived by her four children and their spouses. Funeral services will be held 3PM, Friday, April 18, 2014, at Brooks & White Chapel by the Rev. Herbert Brown and the Rev. Casey Adams. Burial will follow in Person Memorial Cemetery. Visitation will be held 2-3PM, Friday, at Brooks & White Funeral Home prior to the service and at other times at the children's homes.