B. Frank Matthews II ’49

B. Frank Matthews II, age 95, died peacefully at his home on January 24, 2023. A native of Gastonia, born October 7, 1927, Frank was the youngest of five children of the late Elizabeth Robinson Matthews and James Houston Matthews, Sr. He was preceded in death by the love of his life, Betty Choate Matthews, to whom he was married for 63 years; his daughter, Harriet Matthews Jackson; and his grandson, Franklin Matthews Jackson. Also preceding him are his siblings: Sarah Robinson Matthews, Elizabeth Matthews Welton, Eugene Robinson Matthews, and James Houston Matthews, Jr.; his brothers-in-law, Joseph Leighton Choate III and David G. Welton, M.D.; and his sisters-in-law, Annabelle Matthews Royster and Betsy Merritt Choate Sherard.

Growing up in a department store family, Frank learned from a young age the benefits of hard work, integrity, and perseverance and loved hearing the story of Mr. William Henry Belk sending his father to Gastonia to revamp and open the first Matthews-Belk store in the early 1900s. After the first store gained traction, Houston Matthews, Sr., along with his brothers and the Belk family, opened 18 stores in North Carolina, Upstate South Carolina, Middle Georgia, and Texas. In Howard Covington’s 1988 book Belk, he wrote, “None of Belk’s partners had been with him longer than the Matthews brothers. They exemplified the loyalty of the partners to Henry Belk and the family style that characterized the Belk operation.”

In addition to working in the family business, Frank spent happy childhood summers at Camp Morehead on Bogue Sound (Morehead City, NC), where he developed his love of sailing. He attended Gastonia City Schools through the 9th grade, then followed his two older brothers to The McCallie School (Chattanooga, TN) and graduated in 1945. From there, he entered Davidson College, graduating in 1949 with his Bachelor of Science in Business (BSB) and was a proud Kappa Alpha. He ran on the track team at both McCallie and Davidson, and he also learned to fly an airplane at Buck’s Flight School while at McCallie. Frank served his country in the U.S. Army Reserves from 1949-1965, commissioned as a Second Lieutenant and honorably discharged as a Captain.

Frank remained a loyal, involved alumnus of McCallie and Davidson, two institutions he credited throughout his life for shaping him, reinforcing his Christian values, and deepening his faith.

After graduating from Davidson in 1949, Frank joined the Matthews-Belk Stores full time with his brother, Houston Matthews, Jr., and sister, Elizabeth Matthews. He rose through the ranks of the Belk organization and held the positions of Executive Vice President & Supervising Partner, President, and Vice Chairman. Frank also served on numerous Belk Store corporations from the early 1950s until all store entities consolidated in 1998. Upon the completion of that merger, he became Vice Chairman of Belk, Inc., the nation’s largest privately-owned department store until its sale in 2015. Frank provided many years of exceptional leadership to the Belk Stores.

Frank counted himself fortunate to have worked alongside all of William Henry Belk’s children-John, Tom, Ike, Sarah, and Henderson-in building the Belk corporation. He had the deepest respect for the Belk family and felt privileged to have worked so closely with John Belk and Tom Belk; he enjoyed their partnership and friendship throughout the years. He also had the honor of working with the Belk family’s third generation as they continued the tradition of great leadership.

Frank was also a Director of The Belk Foundation, which provides financial support to many educational institutions in the Carolinas and throughout the Southeast. After his retirement from Belk, he turned his attention to developing family legacy property in the Charlotte region with developers Childress Klein and Crosland Southeast on Waverly (Southeast Charlotte), Beacon Partners on The Square (SouthEnd), and The Keith Corporation on Kings Mountain Corporate Center.

Though much of his energy was dedicated to his retail career with Belk, Inc., he always found time for his church, family, and community. He followed the example of his parents with lifelong membership in Gastonia’s First Presbyterian Church where he served as Deacon, Elder, Sunday School Superintendent, Sunday School Teacher, Youth Advisor with wife Betty, and later as Elder Emeritus. Frank was also devoted to the growth and betterment of Gaston County and made his mark in innumerable ways. He helped organize the Gastonia Development Corporation and was a director of two publicly traded companies listed on the NYSE: Public Service Company of North Carolina, Inc. and Ti-Caro, Inc. Frank was a Director and Chairman of Gaston Federal Bank-predecessor of Citizen South Bank-for more than 36 years.

Frank recognized a strong community has a strong non-profit network, and he served on the boards of the United Way of Gaston County and Gaston County Family YMCA. He was a Director of Gaston Chamber of Commerce, Chairman of Gaston Community Foundation, and Chairman of First Gaston Foundation and The David Belk Cannon Foundation. The Matthews family believed in the power of education for personal and community growth, and he served as a Trustee at both Davidson College and Chatham Hall (Chatham, VA). At Davidson, he was on the Board of Advisors, then served 12 years as a Trustee and chaired the Regional Campaign (1992-1995) as part of the Campaign for Davidson. He also chaired the Annual Fund at various points and received Davidson’s Alumni Service Award in 1987. He was later honored as Trustee Emeritus.

Frank received numerous community awards through the years such as the Duke Kimbrell Lifetime Civic Achievement Award (Jaycees), the Allen H. Sims Award (Gaston Community Foundation), the Gaston Literacy Lifetime Achievement designation, and The Order of the Long Leaf Pine Award.

Frank is survived by his children: Eugene R. Matthews II and wife, Katherine (Gastonia, NC); and Mary Matthews Vaughn and husband, Vernon, (Gastonia, NC); four grandchildren: Peter Kemp Jackson II (Aiken, SC); Benjamin Franklin Matthews III and wife, Melanie (Charlotte, NC); Katherine Matthews Darling and husband, Edward (Charlotte, NC); and Elizabeth Vaughn Edwards and husband, Duke (Greenville, NC); and six great grandchildren. Also surviving are his nieces: Annabelle Matthews Kelly and husband, Bill (Gastonia, NC); Nora Matthews Hale and husband, Alfred (Rome, GA); and Alice Stowe Matthews, wife of the late Vann M. Matthews II (Gastonia, NC); and his nephews: William Merritt Choate and wife, Marcy (Charlotte, NC); and The Reverend J. Houston Matthews III and wife, Sharon (Gastonia, NC).

The family thanks the following for their care and support through the years: Ronald Digby, M.D., Dustin Letts, M.D., and their CaroMont Health teams; Covenant Village personnel; loyal caregivers, Kathy Watkins, Connie Burnette, Joreida Currence, Marveta Mason, and Faye Tate; longtime helper and friend, Charlie Holmes; and business associate and friend of more than 50 years, Margaret Caldwell.

A funeral service will be held at 2 p.m., Saturday, January 28, 2023, at First Presbyterian Church, 1621 E. Garrison Blvd., with The Reverend Daniel J. Commerford and The Reverend J. Houston Matthews III officiating. A reception will follow immediately in Fellowship Hall. A private service of committal will be held for the family at Oakwood Cemetery.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests that memorials be made to First Presbyterian Church, 1621 E. Garrison Blvd., Gastonia, NC 28054 or to Covenant Village Benevolent Fund, 1351 Robinwood Rd., Gastonia, NC 28054.
Condolence messages and memories of Frank may be shared with his family at www.mcleanfuneral.com.
McLean Funeral Directors of Gastonia is serving the family of Mr. Matthews.

Armand Elkin Hendee ’45

Armand Elkin Hendee, M.D., Professor Emeritus, Emory University School of Medicine, Department of Gynecology and Obstetrics, died January 5, 2023, at age 98. He was born in Decatur, Georgia, and was the son of the late Armand E. Hendee and Eva Towers Hendee. He attended Davidson College, where he was a pre-medical student and member of Phi Delta Theta fraternity. He received a bachelor’s degree from Emory University and an MD degree from the Emory University School of Medicine in 1948. Residency training was in the Department of Gyn-Ob at Grady Memorial Hospital in Atlanta. Military service included three years in the Army Medical Corp, where he was stationed in Germany with the rank of captain. His entire medical career, except for his time in the military, was at Emory. He had an active clinical practice in the Emory Clinic and an academic career in the School of Medicine. He served as Chief of GYN at the Emory Clinic and chief of the GYN Service at Emory Hospital. He was a tenured full professor and upon retirement, he received the honored title of professor emeritus. He also was honored with an academic, endowed chair in the Department of GYN-OB. He received the Emory School of Medicine Alumni Association Award in 2016.

Dr. Hendee was a diplomate of the American Board of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and a fellow of the American College of OB-GYN. He was a member of several state and regional medical societies and was privileged to serve as president of the South Central OB-GYN Society, the Georgia OB-GYN Society, the Atlanta OB-GYN Society, and the Grady Residents OB-GYN Society.

Dr. Hendee was a compassionate physician, dedicated to the never-ending learning process in medicine and committed to the sound scientific principles of medicine to be integrated thoughtfully into the art of practice. He was a skillful pelvic surgeon, loved by his patients and respected by his colleagues. He enjoyed teaching and took great pleasure in residents’ training. When he retired, the gift he treasured most was a letter he received from the resident staff who wrote these lines, “You are a true southern gentleman and a scholar. We feel privileged to have been taught by you both in the operating room and at the patient’s bedside. Your treatment of patients, nurses, residents, and colleagues with true warmth and respect is admired by all of us. You are a patient and empathetic teacher, the very definition of a gracious man. Thank you for all you have taught us.”

Dr. Hendee also was a devoted family man. He had an unwavering faith in God. He was ruling elder in the Decatur Presbyterian Church and later became an active member of First Presbyterian Church in Atlanta. He left this world having touched the lives of many people in a meaningful, loving, and helpful way.

He was a member of Atlanta Rotary Club, Cherokee Town and Country Club, and Peachtree Golf Club. After retirement, he divided his time between Atlanta, Highlands, N.C., and Fernandina Beach, Fla. He would play golf anytime and anywhere except when tending to his dahlias in Highlands, hunting quail, or just walking the beach on Amelia Island. He and his wife traveled extensively in America and abroad.

Armand was preceded in death by his wife of fifty years, the former Katherine Winstead of Jacksonville, Florida, and his wife of 20 years, the former Florence Warren Monroe of Atlanta. He is also survived by his children: daughter and son-in-law, Becky and Don Blalock of St. Simons Island, Georgia, Armand (Bo) and Pam Hendee of Atlanta, and daughter and son-in-law, Nancy and Joe Wilen of Atlanta. Also surviving him are his beloved nine grandchildren and fourteen great-grandchildren.

During the last years of his life, he was actively involved in the writing of an Emory University School of Medicine history book, which will be published in July, 2023.

A memorial service will be held at First Presbyterian Church 1328 Peachtree St NE, Atlanta, Ga. on Thursday, January 12 at 11 am with a reception to follow.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to First Presbyterian Church Atlanta, Georgia. or Emory University School of Medicine, in care of Ruthy Cunningham, 1762 Clifton Road, MS: 0970-001-9AA, Atlanta, Georgia.

Russell Evans Bennett, Jr. ’47

Russell Evans Bennett Jr. was born in Cheraw, S.C., on April 7, 1926, and died Sunday, Jan. 1, 2023. He was 96 years old. He was the son of the late Russell Evans and Mary Ella Gandy Bennett. In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by his daughter and son-in-law, Leslie and Ricky Fetner, of Rockingham; son, Russell Evans Bennett III, of Rockingham; and his brother, Robert (Bob) Bennett, of Cheraw, S.C.

Surviving are his loving wife, Joan Ramsey Bennett, of Penick Village, Southern Pines; stepchildren, Susan Wood and husband, David, of Pinehurst, Adam Hardison, of Charlotte, Bryan Hardison, of Charlotte, Julie Sullivan, of Orlando, Fla., Carol Hardison, of Taos, N.M.; and their children and grandchildren; nephews, Robby Bennett and wife, Lindsay, of Cheraw, S.C., Paul Bennett, of Cheraw, S.C., Mac Bennett and wife, Leslie, of Beaufort, S.C.; and their children and grandchildren.

Russell graduated from Cheraw High School and attended Davidson College prior to going into the U.S. Navy, during World War II. Following his naval service, he attended the University of South Carolina.

In 1947, he went into the automobile business with his father. In 1948, he was awarded a Chevrolet-Buick franchise by General Motors in Hamlet. At that time, he was the youngest person to be awarded a General Motors franchise. In 1949, Russell opened a new Chevrolet dealership in Rockingham. Russell was a franchised dealer for over 48 years, during which time he was active in the North Carolina Automobile Dealers Association, serving four terms as a director and served as treasurer. He served on numerous dealer factory planning committees with Chevrolet and Buick. Russell always enjoyed a close relationship with the employees of his dealership. He referred to the employees as “working with them” and not working “for him.” He sold his dealership in 1996.

Russell felt strongly that one should give something back to his community. He became involved in philanthropy both personally and through foundations. He was a benefactor of Richmond Community College, significantly the Cole Auditorium and Grimsley Health and Science building. He served multiple terms on the Richmond Community College Foundation Board.

He gave generously of his time to Richmond Memorial Hospital, later to become FirstHealth Richmond Memorial. He first joined the hospital board in 1950, and served many terms as a trustee and served as chairman for several terms. In 2005, he was honored by the North Carolina Hospital Association as their Trustee of the Year and was presented their Trustee Merit award.

Russell served on the board of Foundation for the Carolinas, in Charlotte. He served on the advisory board and was chair of the Cole Foundation. He also served on the board of the Richmond Community Foundation, where he also served as chairman. Both Foundations serve the needs of the people of Richmond County and played a major role in helping bring Discovery Place Kids to Rockingham.

After FirstHealth of the Carolinas bought Richmond Memorial Hospital in Rockingham, Russell was elected to the FirstHealth Board of Directors and when his terms expired, he was elected to the board of trustees of the Foundation of FirstHealth. He was a member of The Scroll Society of the Foundation of FirstHealth.

Russell was active in the civic life of Rockingham. He joined the Rockingham Rotary Club in 1950, and served numerous terms as a director and served as its president in 1957-1958. At one time, he enjoyed a perfect attendance for five consecutive years of Rotary. He was honored by fellow Rotarians as a Distinguished Rotarian. He was a Paul Harris Fellow and was a Rotary benefactor.

Russell served on the Rockingham City Council from 1957-59.

Russell was involved in other businesses, and especially involved with the Richmond Savings Bank prior to its merger with First National Bank. He served as a director of that bank for 25 years. Russell served as director of Farmers Bank and Trust, later Southern National Bank. He served on The First Union Bank Advisory Board.

Russell was honored by the Richmond Community College as their Distinguished Citizen of Year award in 1997.

He was honored by the Richmond County Chamber of Commerce for their Citizen of the Year award in 1998.

Russell was awarded The Order of The Long Leaf Pine in 2013 by Governor Pat McCrory.

Russell was a lifelong Presbyterian. He served his church as an elder, deacon and men’s Bible class Sunday School teacher. He served on the Building and Planning Committee when the sanctuary of the Rockingham Presbyterian Church was built.

Russell was a member of Pinehurst Country Club and a former member of The Country Club of North Carolina, where he enjoyed many years of playing golf. He looked forward to attending the Masters for many years with wife, Joan, brothers-in-law, Claude Ramsey and his wife, Kay, of Asheville, and Jimmy Ramsey and his wife, Gretchen, of Tupelo, Miss. He enjoyed time spent at their home in Pawley’s Island and later at Litchfield by the Sea and Country Club with family and friends. He also enjoyed traveling with family and friends.

To the next generation of leaders and philanthropists, Russell always said, “Don’t stand in the wings. Come forward. Become part of your community in whatever way you think best. Say, I have something to offer and I’m willing to offer it. I’m going to participate to make things better.”

The family of Russell Bennett would like to thank Penick Village, FirstHealth Moore Regional Hospital and FirstHealth Hospice for their assistance in his loving care. We would like to thank Russell for always being there for us and all his love. We were all so blessed to be a part of his life. He was a true Southern Gentleman who was loved by all.

A memorial service to celebrate Russell will be held on Saturday, Jan. 14, at 2 p.m., at First Presbyterian Church, Rockingham, led by Dr. Allison Farrah. The family will receive friends in the fellowship hall following the service.

Memorials may be made to Foundation of First Health and First Health Outpatient Comprehensive Cancer Center, 150 Applecross Road, Pinehurst, NC 28374; FirstHealth Hospice, 150 Applecross Road, Pinehurst, NC 28374; First Presbyterian Church, 904 Fayetteville Road, Rockingham, NC 28379; or Richmond Community College Foundation, P.O. Box 1189, Hamlet, NC 28345

Robert Thornton “Bob” Henderson ’49

Robert Thornton “Bob” Henderson of Tucker, Georgia passed away on December 23, 2022, at the age of 94. He grew up in West Palm Beach, Florida.

He graduated from Davidson College in 1949 and pursued his theological education at both Columbia and Westminster Theological Seminaries.

He has served as a Presbyterian campus minister at North Carolina State University, and as a pastor to the Blacknall Memorial Presbyterian Church of Durham. After a brief tenure as a pastor in New Orleans and a term as a Denominational Director of Evangelism, he went on to pastor in Hendersonville, North Carolina. After retiring from the pastorate in 1992, he spent 10 years teaching and encouraging seminary students and young pastors. He has authored numerous books and been a mentor to many.

Throughout his life, Bob was a passionate follower of Jesus Christ. He did not hesitate to challenge the status quo, be it the racism in Durham, the economic inequities in New Orleans or the entrenched comfort of the institutional church.

Bob’s partner in life and ministry was his beloved wife, Betty until her passing in 2011. He is survived by four children, Sam (Lane) Henderson, Susan Henderson, Rebecca Stone (late husband Brad), and Daniel Henderson; six grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.

A memorial service will be held at All Souls Fellowship in Decatur on January 14, 2023 at 10:30 AM. The family requests that remembrances be made in the form of contributions to the International Rescue Committee at help.rescue.org.

Marshall Jennings Carper ’48

Marshall Jennings Carper, of Charleston, passed away on December 19, 2022. Born June 16, 1927, he was 95 years old.

Preceded in death by his parents, Lester Marshall Carper and Grace Jennings Carper, he is survived by his wife, Lois Fillmer Carper, to whom he was married only three days short of 71 years. He is also survived by his three children, David Wayne Carper and his wife, Carolyn Moore Carper, of Richmond, Va., Karen Grace Carper and her husband, Blair Kent Taylor, of Montrose, and Timothy Marshall Carper and his wife, Linda Miller Carper of Charleston; his grandchildren, Brian Christopher Talbott, M.D. (Siera) of Reno, Nev., Leah Elizabeth Talbott of Alameda, Calif., Kathleen Elizabeth Carper, Ph.D., of Roanoke, Va., and Andrew David Carper of Richmond, Va.; and his great-grandchildren, Jean Camille Talbott, Dashiell McDonald Talbott, and Zena Grace Talbott.

Born and raised in Bluefield, WV., Marshall grew up as the only child of Grace, a homemaker, and Lester, an accountant and assistant cashier at the Flattop National Bank. Active in scouting throughout his youth, Marshall achieved the rank of Eagle Scout in 1942, and graduated from Beaver High School in 1943 at age 16. He enrolled at Davidson College in North Carolina a mere five days after graduation, knowing he would be drafted at age 18 to serve in World War II.

Eager to have a choice of his branch of the military, Marshall enlisted in the Navy just before his 18th birthday. While in boot training in Chicago, the war ended, so he was sent to Japan to provide relief for the sailors who had been fighting the war. He spent nine months on three destroyer ships where he traveled the Yellow Sea.

After his tenure in the Navy, Marshall returned to Davidson College to finish his undergraduate education on schedule with his original class. He then attended and graduated from Medical College of Virginia in Richmond, Va., followed by an internship in Texas and a multi-specialty residency at what is now CAMC Memorial in Charleston. He decided to concentrate his medical career in general practice, opening his own private practice in Kanawha City in 1954. When the specialty of Family Medicine was established, he was elected a Charter Fellow of the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP), participating in its induction ceremony in New York City. In 1992, he was proclaimed a lifetime member by the Academy.

From a very young age, music was one of the joys of Marshall’s life. Raised in the Baptist church in Bluefield, he was a member of the church choir. He also sang in the Beaver High School a capella choir. In college, he joined the Davidson Male Chorus. Its music director also happened to be the choir director of a local Presbyterian church who recruited men from Davidson College and women from nearby Queen’s College to sing in the church choir. One particular Queen’s College soprano named Lois Fillmer caught his eye. This is how Marshall met his wife of nearly 71 years: through the love of music and church. It did not hurt that they were also both from West Virginia. Starting then, they sang together in choirs for well over 60 years.

Marshall was an avid barbershopper with the Kanawha Kordsmen barbershop chorus, where he sang bass for 39 years. He was also a member of one of the Kordsmen’s quartets, the Pitch Hitters. His large collection of tapes and CDs focused on his love for vocal music, Dixieland jazz, and big bands.

Church membership and commitment were always a large part of Marshall’s life. He was a member of Ruffner Memorial Presbyterian Church in Charleston for well over 65 years. He served as an elder, a church trustee, and on numerous committees. He was part of the early development and served on the Board of Directors of the Kanawha Pastoral Counseling Center, where he got to practice spiritual care.

After operating his private practice for nearly 20 years, Marshall was given the opportunity to train others in family medicine. Dr. Carl Tully recruited him in 1973 to join the Kanawha Valley Family Practice Center, which was begun to help train medical graduates in the specialty of Family Medicine. After Dr. Tully retired, Marshall was named the director and remained there for 17 years before retiring in 1992. He then continued working with students there for another 15 years at a weekly clinic before finally stepping down at age 80. The Marshall Carper Family Medicine Award was established in 2002 to recognize a West Virginia University medical student who exemplifies the best qualities of a Family Physician; this award was created in honor of Dr. Marshall J. Carper, the founding Chair of the Family Medicine Department at the WVU Charleston Division, and a doctor who exhibited excellence throughout his medical and teaching career.

In 1999, the West Virginia Chapter of the AAFP presented Marshall with the “Family Doc” award in recognition of “a lifetime of service as a dedicated family physician who has earned the continued respect of his patients and fellow physicians.”

The family will be forever grateful to his caregivers: Katy Greenlaw, Charlene Johnson, Sandy Pates, and Annie Sheely. Their love and care for Marshall allowed him to live in the comfort of his long-time home, enjoying his daily activities and time with Lois, his family and friends. The kind service and support of Kanawha HospiceCare of Charleston is also very much appreciated.

On Wednesday, Jan. 4, the family will receive family and friends at Barlow Bonsall Funeral Home, 1118 Virginia St., E. Charleston, from 5-7 p.m. Funeral Service will be at 12 noon, Thursday, Jan. 5 at Ruffner Memorial Presbyterian Church, Quarrier and Greenbrier streets, Charleston. Interment will follow at Tyler Mountain Memory Gardens.

In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to your favorite charity in memory of Marshall.

Condolences may be shared with the family at: wwwbarlowbonsall.com.

Barlow Bonsall Funeral Home in Charleston is in charge of arrangements.