William Blair Gwyn ’33

Mr. William Blair Gwyn, age 102, of North Wilkesboro died unexpectedly on Tuesday, March 25, 2014, at his home. A memorial service will be held Saturday at 2:00 p.m. at North Wilkesboro Presbyterian Church with Rev. Dr. Benton J. Trawick officiating. The family will receive friends after the service in the church fellowship hall. A private burial will be held at Mountlawn Memorial Park. Mr. Gwyn was born November 25, 1911, to Richard Walter and Tate Blair Gwyn. He graduated from Davidson College in 1933 with a bachelor of science degree in political science and a minor in economics. He was vice-president of his senior class, member of the varsity track team, and member of Phi Delta Theta fraternity. He was on Davidson’s Board of Trustees and the board’s Executive Committee from 1971 to 1981 and served as class chair for numerous fundraising campaigns at the college.

In 1983, he was presented the Alumni Service Award for distinguished service to Davidson. Mr. Gwyn was a lifelong member of North Wilkesboro Presbyterian Church, where he served as treasurer, as an elder, and as representative to regional and national denominational meetings. His career in banking began in 1933 at Bank of North Wilkesboro where he remained until his retirement (later North Carolina National Bank) in 1963. He remained a board member of that bank for many years. With his father, he founded Gwyn’s Insurance Agency in 1938 (now Sentinel Insurance). Mr. Gwyn was a principal in Forest Furniture Co. and was an executive at American Furniture Co. (later American-Drew) in North Wilkesboro until 1971.

He served in the United States Army Signal Corps during World War II, receiving four battle stars for service at Normandy, Ardennes, Battle of the Bulge and Rhineland. Gwyn served four terms as a North Wilkesboro commissioner, two terms on the North Wilkesboro School Board and on the Wilkes YMCA Board of Directors from 1946 to 1980, including two terms as president. He served three terms as a director of Wilkes Chamber of Commerce. He was a Boy Scout assistant scoutmaster and scoutmaster in the 1940s, was a charter member and president of the North Wilkesboro Lions Club and served on the Wilkes Adult Developmental Activity Program (ADAP) board. A co-founder of Oakwoods Country Club in 1953, he was among the original members of the Tar Heel State Seniors Golf Association.

He is survived by: his wife, Florence Guigou Gwyn of the home; two daughters, Carolyn Gwyn Bell of North Wilkesboro, Roz “Petesy” Gwyn Schmidt of Greensboro; two sons, Bill Gwyn of Raleigh, Mike Gwyn (Lynn) of Winston-Salem; six grandchildren: Andy Bell (Amanda) of Kansas City, Mo, Martin Schmidt (Alexandra) of St. Louis, Mo., Karl Schmidt of Atlanta, Ga., Michael, Katherine and Rebecca Gwyn, of Winston-Salem; two great-grandchildren: Meredith Bell and Gwendolyn Bell of Kansas City, Mo.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the Matthew 25 Fund, c/o North Wilkesboro Presbyterian Church, 804 E Street, North Wilkesboro, NC 28659.