James “Jim” Pinckney Whitson ’66

James Pinckney Whitson, 78, of Talladega, AL passed away on November 24, 2023, of heart failure. James, known as “Jim”, was a beloved husband, father, and grandfather.

Jim received his AB in Economics at Davidson College in 1966 while registered in the Reserved Officer Training Program. After graduation, Jim served as a Captain in the United States Army’s 3 D Infantry Division, stationed in Würzburg, Germany from 1966 to 1969. While in Germany, Jim met and married. his beloved wife, Josiane, of 51 years. Jim and Josi then returned to the US where Jim attended Harvard University Graduate School of Business Administration earning an MBA with Distinction. Upon Jim’s graduation from Harvard, they relocated to Charlotte, NC where Jim was employed by Arthur Andersen & Co and where he and Josi started their family. After eight years with Arthur Anderson, Jim moved on to join ITT Europe, Inc. in Brussels, Belgium as Director, Tax Operations. While in Brussels, Jim and the family found great joy in reconnecting with Josi’s family, traveling all over Europe and beyond, enjoying many fine meals, and being heavily involved in scouting and youth soccer. In 1985, Jim completed his assignment in Brussels and was transferred to ITT World Headquarters in New York City, where he rose to Vice President and Director of Taxes. In 1998, Jim accepted the position of Chief Tax Officer of Delphi Automotive Systems in Troy, MI and relocated to Oakland, MI where he and Josi. lived until they moved to Talladega in 2016.

Jim loved entertaining, cooking and eating fine food, enjoying great wines, and traveling far and wide. He especially loved spending time with his friends and family over a home cooked meal. Jim had a fierce intellect and a voracious appetite for learning on any subject and was a wealth of knowledge on a wide range of topics. Throughout his life, Jim loved to lend his time, talents, and knowledge to countless causes, individuals, and organizations. Even after a serious illness in 2021, Jim stayed engaged as head of Talladega’s Industrial Board and Treasurer of the Talladega Main Street non-profit organization.

He is preceded in death by his parents J. Pinckney Whitson and Sarah Totherow Whitson, stepfather J. Carson (Kit) Whitson, and his beloved wife Josiane Vanlerberghe Whitson. He is survived by his son John (Katy) Whitson of Birmingham, AL and his grandchildren Garrett Whitson and Sophie Whitson. A visitation will be held at the Whitson residence in Talladega on Friday, December 1, 2023, from 10:00 to 11:30. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made in Jim’s memory to Talladega First, Inc. – Friends of the Ritz in support of the Historic Ritz Theatre, an organization which he and Josi had supported wholeheartedly.

Marcus B. (Mark) Simpson, Jr. ’67

Marcus B. (Mark) Simpson, Jr. passed away November 19, 2023 in Hendersonville, NC.

Mark was born to Marcus B. Simpson, Sr. and Nora Grace Simpson 79 years ago in Sanford, NC and grew up in Statesville, NC.   Mark had an endless curiosity about the natural world that was especially inspired by his father and by his favorite teacher, Lois Goforth.  His love of nature and especially birds led him to join the Carolina Bird Club as a teenager in the 1960’s long before it was cool to be a young birder.  Legendary CBC contributor and author Eloise Potter encouraged his interest and an accidental meeting (staring at a bird and running into the car he was following on a birding trip) with ornithologist and author Roger Tory Peterson sealed the deal.

Mark went on to study biology at Davidson College where he met fellow birders and lifetime friends Doug Pratt, Sterling Southern, and Jim Davidson.  He studied biology under renowned professor Thomas (Bugs) Daggy, who further contributed to his interest in the natural world. From there Mark continued on to medical school at UNC-Chapel Hill and completed his internship and residency at Yale and Johns Hopkins Universities.  After serving in the US Army at Walter Reed Army Medical Hospital he had a highly successful and productive career as a Pathologist, both teaching and directinghospital laboratories at Duke University, George Washington University, the University of Pittsburgh, and finally returning home to North Carolina to retire from his final position at Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center.  He loved writing and was a prolific contributor to medical journals specializing in blood banking and transfusions.

As busy as his career kept him, medicine was never his only interest.  He always found time for his love of ornithology and natural history and was a frequent contributor to such publications as “the North Carolina Historical Review”, “the Archives of Natural History”, as well as decades of contributions to the quarterly publication of the Carolina Bird Club, “The Chat.”  His specialty in the birds of the Southern Appalachians culminated in his tour de force 1992 publication of Birds of the Blue Ridge Mountains (UNC Press).

Mark was preceded in death by his talented first wife, Sally Simpson, with whom he contributed articles on early whaling off the NC coast, and is survived by his second wife, Marilyn Westphal, who shared his passion for birds and the mountains and with whom he contributed articles on breeding Hermit Thrushes and Northern Saw-whet Owls in the Southern Appalachians.

Mark was a truly remarkable person who will be greatly missed by his friends and relatives, and he was a kind, loving husband and best friend to his heartbroken wife Marilyn.

A memorial service will be held for Mark in spring 2024 in his beloved Blue Ridge Mountains.  Exact location will be announced.  All are welcome to contribute to the memory of Mark with donations to the Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation or Conserving Carolina.

John “Bud” Bradley Cousar Jr. ’69

John “Bud” Bradley Cousar Jr. died peacefully surrounded by family in his home in Charlottesville, Virginia on November 17, 2023.

John was born on November 21, 1946 to John Bradley Cousar Sr. and Helen McMillian Cousar in Sumter, South Carolina. After the loss of his father when he was only nine, John went on to graduate from A.C. Flora High School in 1965 and Davidson College in 1969. Following in his father’s footsteps, John became a doctor, graduating from the University Of Virginia School Of Medicine in 1973. He practiced pathology for 38 years, serving as Director of Clinical Laboratories, Director of Hematopathology and Professor of Pathology at Vanderbilt University. In 2002, John joined the Pathology Department at the University of Virginia where he served as Professor and Director of Hematopathology as well as founding Director of the Hematopathology Fellowship Training Program until his retirement in 2011.

A culinary wizard, John could make a mean pot roast, rack of ribs, and jalapeño cornbread. He loved to fish and hunt with friends and even canoed competitively, though by his own account he was once lapped by a band of whistling girl scouts. He was deeply connected to nature and could rattle off the age, sex, and mating quirks of any bird that visited his homemade platform feeder. But John’s most accomplished art was surely comedy. Never one to miss a party, he was known for his deadpan punchlines that regularly left the room in tears of laughter.

Despite his many talents and professional accomplishments, John never boasted and always put others first. A true Southern gentleman, he was extraordinarily kind, humble, and wise, taking joy in simple, albeit eccentric, routines- compulsively mowing the grass, blurting out expletives to the “idiot” contestants on Wheel of Fortune, and staring blissfully for hours at wild turkeys with his friend Tess, the late standard poodle. Above all, John loved his family and his life’s joy was to make his wife, children, and grandchildren happy.

John is preceded in death by his sister, Helen Wells, and his parents, John Bradley Cousar Sr. and Helen McMillian Cousar. He is survived by his wife, Leslie Reed; his daughters, Lauren Cousar and Anna Mechem (Tyler); his stepsons, Reed Espinosa (Lauren) and Charlie Espinosa (Sierra); his grandsons, Milo Downie, Henry Mechem, Charlie Mechem, and Samuel Mechem; his nephew, Brad Wells (Alyssa); his sister-in-law, Jane Reed; and his first wife, Ellen Cousar.

A private family burial will be held at Panorama Natural Burial. An informal celebration of life will take place at 2 p.m. on Wednesday, November 29, 2023 at 3450 Blandemar Dr, Charlottesville, Va. In lieu of flowers, John would like you to fix a gin and tonic and enjoy yourself.

Benjamin (Ben) Cannon Jr. ’68

Benjamin (Ben) Cannon Jr. died on November 11, 2023 at the age of 76 in Chico, CA. Ben is survived by his wife Mary Cannon, Brother-in-law Lon Addams, nieces Kimberly Cronin and Stephanie Addams Jones. Nephews; Lee Addams and Joel Addams, stepchildren; Allison Craig, Hannah Boeldt and husband James Boeldt and their son Christopher James Boeldt, Alexander Craig and his wife Megan Craig. He is preceded in death by his parents Benjamin and Mary Cannon, his sister Marsha Addams and niece Lindsey Addams.

Ben was born in Statesboro, Georgia. He graduated from Davidson College in North Carolina and received his medical degree from the Medical College of Georgia in Augusta, Georgia. He completed an Internship and Residency in Internal Medicine at Madigan Army Medical Center in Tacoma Washington and furthered his education with a degree in Diagnostic Radiology at Letterman Army Medical Center in San Francisco, CA. Ben proudly served as a Colonel in the United States Army Medical Corp until 1984. He worked as an Interventional Radiologist at Chico Community Hospital, North State Radiology, and Enloe Hospital in Chico, CA.

Ben married Mary Cannon on May 5, 2012. He retired to pursue his passionate interests; golf, abalone diving off the Mendocino Coast, snorkeling, hiking, traveling, and spending time with his wife, family, and friends.

Donations can be made in his name to Doctors Without Borders or in care of Brusie Funeral Home.

Services will be held December 2, 2023 at 11:00 at Faith Lutheran Church, Chico, CA.

Russell Newton Barringer, Jr. ’57

Russell Newton Barringer, Jr., November 10, 2023. He was born in Durham, North Carolina on March 16, 1935, to the late Russell N. Barringer, Sr., and Maelee McKenzie Page Barringer.

He attended the Calvert Method School (now Durham Academy), Carr Junior High School, and Durham High School. Upon graduation he attended Davidson College for two years before transferring to Duke University to be closer to his fiancé, Mary Teer.

He was married on November 18, 1955 to his beloved Mary Teer, who pre-deceased him on November 21, 2021. He began his career at West Durham Lumber Company in 1955, a company founded by his father. In 1967, he was named President and CEO of Dealers Supply Company, a division of West Durham Lumber Company. Under his extraordinary leadership, Dealers Supply grew into one of the top thirty floorcovering distribution companies in the United States and was among the top fifty privately held companies in North Carolina many years running.

From early childhood Russell was passionate about aviation. For almost fifty years he was an accomplished pilot and aircraft owner. His devotion to private aviation led to his appointment to the North Carolina Department of Transportation Aeronautics Commission, a position he proudly held through both Republican and Democratic administrations. His love for aircraft and his business success allowed him to become the first person to charter the Concorde for a trip to Paris for some of his beloved customers. He served as a mentor to many aspiring young pilots throughout his lifetime even after he reluctantly gave up his license at age eighty.

His devotion to Durham was manifest in countless ways, both openly and more often, quietly. He served as the Chairman of the Citizens Safety Patrol and oversaw the annual trip to Washington DC for over a thousand young Safety Patrol boys involved in that program.

As a long time member of the Durham Planning and Zoning Commission, he was very much a part of creating the Durham we have today. He gladly gave of his time and financial support to dozens of civic groups and institutions. A charter member of the Iron Dukes, the University he loved so, was supported by him on both the academic and athletic side. He took great pride in providing, along with his sisters, the Fuqua School of Business a building named after their father.

A stalwart Duke fan, he suffered through many difficult times in both the football and basketball programs but never wavered in his belief in their greatness, however long it took.

His love for the game of golf throughout his lifetime brought him immeasurable joy. From boyhood when his mother would pack him a sandwich and send him off to play nine holes at the age of six until hanging up his clubs at eighty- three, he was a disciple of the game. He traveled the world in pursuit of playing the legendary courses and could conservatively claim to have played almost seventy- five of the top hundred in the world at one point.

Russell never grasped the fourteen- club rule as a directive to the number of golf clubs in your bag rather than the number of golf clubs one should hold membership. He was a member of Hope Valley Country Club for sixty-eight years. He loved his homes in Myrtle Beach the first of which was secured in 1974. He joined the Dunes Club that year and remained a member until his death. Over the years he was a founding member of the following: Treyburn (Durham, NC), Old Chatham, Wachesaw Plantation, The Reserve, Governor’s Club, and the Robert Trent Jones Club. It is possible there were more that he kept secret! He loved nothing better than driving out to RDU on a late Thursday with a couple of friends, loading them and their golf bags into his airplane and flying off to one of his courses.

One his most extraordinary golf endeavors was his fifty-six year leading the CRUDS. A golf buddy tradition that is unparalleled in golf history. Beginning in 1967, Russell organized, directed a rarely changing cast of characters for over a hundred golf trips to Myrtle Beach (with one ten-day stint to Scotland). The achievement was worthy of a featured story on Golf Channel upon the hundredth trip.

His reverence for the United States and the armed forces was a core passion of his. As an student in the history of World War II, Russell was often asked to give lectures about various aspects of that conflict. He served in the United States Army Reserves receiving an honorable discharge after his service. There are not adequate words to describe the pride he held when his grandson, and namesake, Russell N. Barringer IV, joined the United States Air Force and was assigned pilot duty flying F-35 fighter jets.

As a prominent businessman, he served as Chairman/CEO of many different entities over his career. He created thousands of jobs throughout NC, SC, TN, VA, OH, PA. He mentored and financially invested in dozens of people he believed in. As a real estate developer he created many neighborhoods around Durham.

A lifelong Republican, he was deeply active in politics both locally and nationally. He ran unsuccessfully for Durham County Commissioner. Over the many decades he opened his house up to countless candidates much to his wife’s chagrin.

He accumulated a massive wardrobe of clothes and never failed to be best dressed in any room. He did not purchase a pair of jeans (dungarees in his vernacular) until he was in his early 60’s and that was to wear to a country-western themed event. That pair of jeans was sent to Goodwill after one wearing, enlarging the 100’s of dress shirts, pants and sport coats that he donated over the years. The number of males walking around with RNB embroidered on the clothing he culled over the years is impressive.

Finally, his family was the most important thing in his life. Not just his immediate family but his sisters and brother, his nieces and nephews well-being were driving responsibilities he carried out with love and equity.

As the father of three sons, he was a stern disciplinarian for minor transgressions and a loving forgiver and ever-present source of support when one of them committed a major transgression. He provided every opportunity that any child could have wished for. He stepped aside from many of his corporate leadership positions in favor of his sons when he felt the time for them to move the entities forward. He somehow crafted corporate structures that allowed each son to rise to those responsibilities with limited overlap between them. Once he handed over the reins he rarely second-guessed and never overruled allowing each to make mistakes but to also let them shine at an earlier age than they probably deserved.

He took joy in family traditional family gatherings hosting with his wife spectacular Thanksgiving dinners and over-the-top Christmas celebrations despite unanimous giggling from all in attendance when he inevitably failed to get through the Blessing without choking up.

He was a singularly giant personality who lived an incredibly blessed life. At the same time, his unwavering respect and the graciousness he extended to people from all walks of life made all he came into contact with feel better. He will be desperately missed by all.

He is survived by his sons, Russell N. Barringer, III, (Amanda Tuck Barringer) Edward Teer Barringer, (Laura Collins Barringer) and Stephen W. Barringer (Kelly Elizabeth Wood). He also is survived by his grandchildren, Russell N. Barringer IV, McKenzie Tuck Barringer, Anderson T. Barringer, Mary Bowen Barringer, Fitz Edward Barringer, Neils Teer Barringer, Pickens Collins Barringer, Grace Barringer Moroney, Veronica Page Barringer and great-grandchildren, Adlai W. Barringer, Wynfryd Barringer, and Mary Margaret Moroney.

His family will be forever grateful to angel caregivers who have been a part of our family through both our parents in their final years. Donna Garner, Lorene Mitchiner, Bonnie Hardison, Tiffany Cindric, Sharon Toney, and Connie Wooten. We are also thankful for the ever-present help in these last few years for the help keeping the family home safe and comfortable through the diligent efforts of John Williams.

A Visitation was held at 2825 Chelsea Circle on Tuesday from 6:00 PM until 8:00 pm. A Memorial Service will be held at Westminster Presbyterian Church on Saturday, November 18, 2023 at 2:00 PM. A reception at the home will follow immediately after the service.

A private interment will be held.