A. Emerson Willard ’43

A. Emerson Willard and Elisabeth Felt (White) Willard, after 71 years of marriage, departed this life within 10 months of each other.

Libby died on September 4, 2022 at the age of 102; Emerson died on July 16, 2023 at the age of 101.  Both passed away at their home on Masonboro Sound, surrounded by their family.

Libby was born on February 3, 1920, in Churchville, Virginia to the late Rev. William Chester White, D.D. and Martha Finley White. She graduated from Mary Baldwin College, Staunton, VA, in 1942 with a teaching degree.

Emerson was born on November 5, 1921, to the late Martin S. Willard and Margaret Glendy Martin Willard. He attended Davidson College and the U. S. Naval Academy prior to serving as a naval aviator during World War II.

On June 16, 1951 Emerson and Libby were married in College Church at Hampden-Sydney College, and began their life together at “Crown Point” on Masonboro Sound.

Emerson and Libby were remarkable individuals and a beloved couple. They were excellent witnesses of their faith and outstanding role models to their sons, to their extended family, and to countless others in their community and beyond. Together as well as separately, their lives were filled with wisdom and grace; they were always ready to listen, never judging, continuously serving others.

Emerson was a partner in Crown Point Poultry Farm, and owner of Crown Point Marine where he completed 63 boats up to 38 feet in his career.  After retiring from boat-building, he was a volunteer with Habitat for Humanity for many years.

Libby’s care for their community was demonstrated in many ways, including her work to save Masonboro Island and to oppose an oil refinery on the Cape Fear River; in pursuing historic zoning on Masonboro Sound Road, and in volunteering in the community’s public schools. 

Their long lives were impacted by a world war and many remarkable changes. Libby remembered commuting in a horse drawn buggy with her father, and learned to drive in a Model A Ford.  She passed a computer class at age 90, and until just weeks before her death, continued to send emails to family and friends from her computer. Emerson remembered commuting between Wilmington and Masonboro Sound in a horse drawn wagon on sand roads. He was a lifelong Waterman, sailing and fishing until the age of 96.

Both were lifelong Presbyterians.  Libby joined First Presbyterian Church after moving to Wilmington in 1951 where she was active in Circle 3 and received an Honorary Lifetime Membership in Presbyterian Women.  Emerson was a lifelong member of First Presbyterian Church where he served as deacon and elder.

Emerson was preceded in death by his brother, Martin Stevenson Willard, Jr and his sister, Glenn Willard Higgins. Libby was preceded by sisters Nannie White Allen, Mary White Bear, Margaret White Bear, Gertrude White Irvine, Martha White Siron, Lucilla White Whitted, Virginia White Taylor; and brothers Charles White and William Chester White.  Emerson and Libby were the youngest of the children from their respective homes, and together helped provide support for their older siblings in their final years.

They are survived by their sons, A. Emerson Willard Jr. and his wife E. Anne Willard of Staunton, VA, and W. Martin Willard and his wife, Amanda Misner of Wilmington, NC, their grandson Simon Emerson Willard, and many nieces and nephews.

A memorial service for both Emerson and Libby Willard will be held at 1:30 p.m. Friday, September 29, 2023 at First Presbyterian Church.

Memorial contributions may be made in their honor to the Pastors’ Fund of First Presbyterian Church, 125 South 3rd Street, Wilmington, NC 28401.

“When anguish is summoned, joy emerges: When mourning is appropriate celebration intrudes.” Elie Wiesel.

William “Bill” T. Iverson Sr. ’49

Clergyman & Family Man, “His Parish Had No Boundaries”

William (Bill) T. Iverson, Sr. passed away peacefully surrounded by family on August 21, 2023 at the age of 95. Born in 1928 and raised in Miami, Bill was the youngest of five born to Rev. Daniel and Vivian Iverson.

He graduated from Miami High, and received a BA from Davidson College. He completed his MDiv at Columbia Theological Seminary in 1952, and earned a PhD from New York University in 1976. He married Ann Oliver (d. 1995), and raised three children together.

Bill served churches in Georgia, Florida, New Jersey, and California, and taught at several seminaries. “Unconventional” describes Bill. He was pastor, church planter and scholar. Beginning from their family’s dining room table, Bill’s Parish had no boundaries. He never met a stranger as he visited in homes, walked in neighborhoods, even had luncheonettes in his Cross Counter ministry as a way to meet and love people. Bill modeled the walk that he asked others to walk. He always took people along when serving, modeling how to love and share God’s love. In 1969, Bill began a Field Seminary, where students learned about God and Man not in an ivory tower, but in the streets, in homes – incarnational – like God who put skin on. His faith in God was the source of his steadfast strength and love.

Bill is survived by his wife, Sylvia Iverson; his three children, Daniel Iverson III (Carol), William T. Iverson, Jr, (Liz), and Jennifer Lee Iverson; eleven grandchildren and 40 great-grandchildren.

A Memorial Service will be held on Sept. 16 at 3pm at Christian Community Presbyterian Church, 45 McWhorter St., Newark NJ, 

Durward Roscar Everett ’45

Durward Roscar Everett, Jr., 98, died peacefully on June 16, 2023 at Rosewood Health Center, The Cypress Club of Raleigh. He was born on February 20, 1925 in Robersonville to Fanny Smith Everett and Durward Roscar Everett, Sr.

He attended Davidson College and graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1947 with a BS degree in Commerce. His college days were interrupted when he enlisted in the US Navy and attended US Navy Midshipmen’s School at Columbia University in NYC. He served as an officer in the Pacific theater during World War ll. He was especially proud of his shared military service with his grandson, Will, who served as a Lieutenant in US Navy SEALs.

On June 21, 1947 Durward married Iris Taylor and they began their happy life together in Raleigh. He had a successful, lifelong career with Wachovia Bank, beginning in Raleigh, then Durham, and ending in Asheville. He was most happy when involved in numerous civic activities in each of these communities. Durward was a lifelong supporter of UNC athletics and the UNC Educational Foundation. He was also an avid golfer.

Durward was preceded in death by his parents; his wife, Iris Everett; his brother, Don Everett; and his sister-in-law, Janie Everett. He is survived by his daughters; Amy Martin (John), Jan Ponton (Robert), and Pat Everett; by his grandchildren; John Martin (Kate),Ward Martin (Charlotte), Will Martin (Sandra), Amy Gussenhoven (Jordan), Rob Ponton (Rebecca Jane), Brian Craft and Taylor Craft; by his soon to be 16 great-grandchildren; and by his niece, Cathy Wilson.

A Graveside Service will be held at 11:00 AM on Friday, June 23, 2023 at Oakwood Cemetery in Raleigh. The family will receive friends following the service. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that memorials be sent to The Community Foundation of Western North Carolina, 4 Vanderbilt Park Drive, Suite 300, Asheville, NC 28803, The SPCA of Wake County, 200 Petfinder Lane, Raleigh, NC 27603, or the charity of one’s choice.

Edward Dale Robertson ’49

Edward Dale Robertson, age 94, of Brownsville, Texas, died Thursday, June 29, 2023. Ed was born to Josephine Crow and Hugh Robertson in Arkadelphia, Arkansas, on August 7, 1928. He and his family moved to San Benito, Texas, in 1930 when Hugh Robertson became pastor of the First Presbyterian Church. Ed attended San Benito High School and the University of Texas at Austin. As a junior, he transferred to Davidson College, North Carolina, where he graduated in 1949. He remained an avid Longhorn and Wildcat fan his entire life. He returned to Austin and received his Master’s of Divinity from Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary in 1952.

Ed married Joyce Hennig on January 29, 1952. They sailed to Scotland to attend classes at St. Andrew’s College and toured Europe by bicycle.

Ed served churches in Fredericksburg, Natalia, Port Lavaca, Austin, and Brownsville. He also served the church in San Benito where his father served in the 1930s. Along with his beloved pastoral duties, he enjoyed leading youth camps at Mo-Ranch and Montreat and youth mission trips to Mexico. Ed also served the community by his work with the Lions Club and the Salvation Army. He loved being a football referee and officiated football games in Austin, the Rio Grande Valley, and Tampico for more than 30 years.

He was preceded in death by his sister, Joanne Matthews. He is survived by his wife Joyce, his children Dale and Melissa of San Benito, Katherine and Genie of Austin, Sally of Austin, and his grandchildren Chris, Rachael, Courtney, Alexa, Josh, Elena, Kirsten, Heather, Jordan, and Claire. He is also survived by his great-grandchildren Levi, Van, Lucas, Aidan, Arthur, and Sienna, his brother-in-law James, his sister-in-law Sharon, and beloved nieces and nephews.

In lieu of flowers, memorials can be made as Tribute Gifts to Presbyterian Mo-Ranch Assembly or First Presbyterian Church Brownsville.

“And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, so that where I am, there you may be also.”John 14:3

Matthew McGowan ’49

The Reverend Doctor (Colonel) Matthew McGowan, 97, of Gainesville, Georgia (formerly of Chattanooga, Tennessee) passed away June 14, 2023 at Hospice of Northeast Georgia Medical Center. A private service for the family will be held on Saturday, June 24 at 10:30 a.m. at the Columbarium Chapel at First Presbyterian Church, Gainesville. A Memorial Service will follow at 2 p.m. in the sanctuary with the Revs. Lee Koontz, Charles McGowan, Rebecca McGowan Spooner and Kennedy McGowan officiating. The family will receive friends following the service in Swetenburg Hall (Fellowship Hall).

Born September 29, 1925, in Pitt County, Greenville, North Carolina, he was the son of the late Lonnie and Eva McGowan. He was the 3rd of 7 children. Following high school, he served in the Marine Corps in Pearl Harbor during World War II. His brother, Jesse, was killed in action in the Battle of the Bulge. He was 19. While serving during the War and following his brother’s death, he felt called to Christian ministry. He took classes to prepare for college while in the Marine Corps and entered Davidson College on the G.I. bill, graduating in 1948 with a double major in Philosophy and Bible. The following summer he took classes at Wheaton College in Bible and Christian Ethics. He went on to receive his Master of Divinity from Columbia Theological Seminary in Decatur, Georgia. While in seminary, he and his roommate Kennedy Smart would preach in the mill villages in the Gainesville area. He was ordained by Athens Presbytery on June 1, 1952, and was the installed pastor at the Homer, Maysville and Chestnut Mountain congregations. The Chestnut Mountain Church was elected Rural Church of the year in the Southeastern United States.

In 1955, he moved to Rocky Mount, North Carolina to serve Second Presbyterian where he led the congregation to build a new education building and doubled the membership in 5 years. In 1960, he began serving Overbrook Presbyterian Church in Richmond, Virginia, where in 6 years a new addition was constructed, and the membership doubled. He then moved to Canal Street Presbyterian Church, New Orleans, Louisiana, and on to Central Presbyterian Church, Chattanooga, Tennessee. He pastored in Chattanooga for 13 years, doubled the membership, started an inner-city neighborhood program and orchestrated the establishment of an apartment complex for the elderly, John Calvin Apartments. In 1983, he became the Executive Director of Covenant Fellowship of Presbyterians (Presbyterian for Renewal) and retired in 1989. In retirement he was the interim pastor, with Dr. John Anderson, at First Presbyterian Church, Houston, Texas, and became a Parish Associate at First Presbyterian Church, Gainesville in 1991. He was a champion for civil rights and fought for the rights of the underserved.

During his ministry, he served on the Executive Boards of his denomination (Presbyterian Church U.S. and later the Presbyterian Church U.S.A.), including as Chair of the Board of International Missions. For more than 25 years, he served on the Board of Trustees for Montreat College, Montreat, North Carolina, where the McGowan Center for Christian Studies is named for him. He also served on the Board of the Evergreen School in Minden, Louisiana. As a chaplain at the rank of Colonel, he retired from the Army Reserves in 1985 after serving for 27 years.

Matthew was preceded in death by his parents, Lonnie and Eva McGowan; his brother Jesse McGowan (KIA – WWII); his first wife Evelyn Cox (married 11 years) and his second wife, Louise Elizabeth Westbrook (married 58 years); an infant daughter, Mary Elizabeth McGowan; his son-in-law Randall Walter Spooner; his sister Nina Lou McGowan Shurer; his sister and brother-in-law Mavis and Earl Alder; his sister and brother-in-law Lucille and Frank Diener; his sister-in-law Alice Flye McGowan; his brother-in-law Raymond Brock and his niece Susan Brock. He is survived by his wife Reba McGowan; his sister Irene Brock, Asheville, North Carolina; his brother Rev. Charles McGowan, Nashville, Tennessee; his daughter and son-in-law Julie and Kenny Akins of Lula; his son Jesse L. McGowan of Chattanooga; his son and daughter-in-law, Rev. Kennedy McGowan and Dr. Chantal Gagnon; his daughter Anna Louise McGowan; his daughter Rev. Rebecca (Becky) McGowan Spooner of Conway, Arkansas; stepson and daughter- in-law Max and Nancy Gann of Eastover, North Carolina; stepson Ward Gann and Ellen Gann of Cleveland, Georgia; stepdaughter Susan Gann Stringer of Gainesville; and stepdaughter and son-in-law Karrie and Ben Rounsaville of Sherwood, Arkansas. He is also survived by his grand-daughter Lauren Elizabeth Markovich of Gainesville; his grandson Colton Clark of Jacksonville, Florida; his grandson Patrick McGowan of Plantation, Florida; many step-grandchildren; many nieces and nephews and their descendants.

In lieu of flowers contributions may be made to the World Mission Conference, First Presbyterian Church, 800 South Enota Drive NE, Gainesville, GA 30501; and his scholarship funds at either Montreat College, 310 Gaither Circle, Montreat, North Carolina 28757; or King University, 1350 King College Road, Bristol, Tennessee 37620.

The family wishes to express deep gratitude to his pastors, the Revs. Lee Koontz and Shon Peppers; his friend and colleague Bill Carr, who will lead the Honor Guard; his physicians Dr. Andre Kallab, Dr. Kevin Smith, Dr. William Manus and others; the Hospice of Northeast Georgia Medical Center; the wonderful staff at Ashton Senior Living; the residents and staff at Smoky Springs and his church family and friends for all their love, prayers and support.