Albert Cowles Gaither ’53

Albert Cowles Gaither, 88, a lifelong resident of Newton, passed away peacefully Wednesday, Nov. 20, 2019, at Abernethy Laurels in Newton. Born July 23, 1931, in Catawba County, he was the son of the late William Cowles Gaither and Allie Comer Gaither.

Al was a 1949 graduate of Newton-Conover High School. Following his graduation, he proudly served his country in the U.S. Army until 1953. Al attended Davidson College where he graduated with a BA degree in 1956.

He returned to Newton where he began a long career with his family’s business, Ridgeview Hosiery, serving in many capacities including President and CEO. During his career, Al served the Newton community in numerous ways.

He was a faithful member of First Presbyterian Church in Newton, where he had served as an elder and on numerous committees.

Al was a former member and chairman of the Newton-Conover School Board when the school system was fully integrated, former member of the Newton Downtown Revitalization Committee and Sesquicentennial Committee, and served two terms, 2001 to 2009, as a member of the Newton City Council.

Al was also a former member of the Newton Recreation Board and in 1962, served as the first chairman of the Eastern Catawba County Chamber of Commerce. He enjoyed “small town” America and loved the little gestures that made small towns like Newton special.

Al was an avid golfer, having made six holes-in-one during his career. He especially enjoyed playing golf with members of his family and with friends at Catawba Country Club in Newton, where he was a longtime member and had served as President of the club and as a member of the Board of Directors.

He also was a longtime member of Linville Golf Club in Linville, where he started playing golf as a young man while working as a counselor at Camp Yonahnoka. In addition to his parents, Al was preceded in death by his granddaughter, Cora Gaither Shook; and his brother, Dr. James C. Gaither.

Survivors include his wife of 66 years, Ann Heafner Gaither of Newton; son, Bill Gaither and wife, Kate, of Cornelius; daughter, Susan Gaither Jones and husband, Thomas, of Newton; sons Lawson Gaither of Hickory, and Comer Gaither and wife, Elizabeth, of Charlottesville, Va.; grandchildren, Summer Gaither Willer, Allie Jones Reed, John Jones, Christopher Gaither, Cowles Gaither and Alexander Gaither; and great-grandchildren, Aubrey Shook, Jackson Willer, Owen Willer, and Charlotte Willer.

A memorial service will be held at 3 p.m., Sunday, Nov. 24, at First Presbyterian Church with the Rev. Dr. David Roquemore officiating. The family will receive friends in the fellowship hall immediately following the service. A private graveside service will be held in Eastview Cemetery prior to the service.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests memorial contributions be made to First Presbyterian Church, Chapel Fund, 701 N. Main Ave., Newton, NC, 28658. Condolences may be sent to the Gaither family at

The Gaither family has entrusted funeral arrangements to Willis-Reynolds Funeral Home in Newton, NC.

Copyright 2019, Hickory Daily Record, Hickory, NC