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.

James A. White ’43

General James A. White, 99, a resident of Brandon Oaks in Roanoke, Virginia, died on September 6, 2022.

He was born in East Spencer, NC. General White was a graduate of Davidson College and received a master’s degree from the University of Washington.

His United States Army military tours included Army Transport duty in Japan, Panama, and Europe, including Russia. He entered the Army as a private and retired as Brigadier General, AUS, Army Reserves as Deputy Chief-Finance Reserve Affairs.

General White’s memberships included St. John’s Episcopal Church, Rotary Club of Roanoke, Roanoke German Club, Roanoke Country Club, MOAA, ROA, and ESGR. He was president of Caldwell Sites Company and owned the Intervale Farm in Salem.

He was predeceased by his wife of 64 years, Christine Macke White, in 2010. General White is survived by his daughters, Elizabeth (Lisa) Simpson of Richmond and Christine (Christy) Hertz of Charlottesville, and granddaughters, Christine Simpson of New York City and Catherine Simpson of Richmond.

Private graveside services were held at Fair View Cemetery on Veterans Day, November 11, 2022.

Arrangements by Oakey’s Funeral Service – Roanoke, VA 

Jerry M. Newbold ’43

September 25, 1922 – April 13, 2022

The Rev. Dr. Jerry M. Newbold Jr., age 99 1/2, victoriously entered The Church Triumphant on April 13, 2022, while a resident at Givens Highland Farms Retirement Community in Black Mountain, N.C.

Dr. Newbold, born on September 25, 1922, in Wilmington, N.C., was the son of Jeremiah M. and Jessie Harper Newbold. He graduated from New Hanover High School in Wilmington, N.C., Davidson College in Davidson, N.C., and Union Presbyterian Seminary in Richmond, Va. He received an honorary Doctor of Humanities degree from Austin College in Sherman, Texas.

Prior to beginning his life’s work of administering children’s homes and family service agencies, Dr. Newbold served as Pastor of the Southport Presbyterian Church in Southport, N.C., and taught high school chemistry in Southport and Elizabethtown, N.C. Additionally, he taught chemistry at the Shanghai American School in Shanghai, China, until evacuated by the U.S. Government due to Communist invasion. Upon returning to the U.S., he served in North Carolina as Pastor of the Warsaw and Bowden Presbyterian Churches, Moderator of Wilmington Presbytery, and Chaplain (Captain) in the North Carolina National Guard. For 35 years, Dr. Newbold was the CEO of the following children’s home and family service agencies of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.): Vera Lloyd Presbyterian Home for Children, Arkansas (1952-56); Presbyterian Children’s Home and Service Agency, Texas (1956-73); and Presbyterian Home and Zuni Presbyterian Training Center, Virginia (1973-87).

During those rewarding years, Dr. Newbold served as President of the Presbyterian Association of Children’s Homes, the Texas Association of Children’s Homes, Virginia Association of Children’s Homes, Southwestern Association of Executives of Homes for Children, and Southeastern Child Care Association. He also was a founder and Board Secretary for the National Association of Homes and Services for Children. Dr. Newbold represented Texas at the 1970 White House Conference on Children and Youth. For 33 consecutive summers Dr. Newbold participated in the nationally acclaimed workshops sponsored by the School of Social Work at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and he promoted similar workshops at universities in Texas and Virginia. He served on the Boards of The Presbyterian Outlook, Westminster-Canterbury of Lynchburg, Free Clinic of Central Virginia, and the First Presbyterian Church Weekday School in Lynchburg, Va. After moving to Black Mountain, Dr. Newbold served on the Board of the Black Mountain Presbyterian Church Weekday School and as Board Treasurer for the Funeral Consumers Alliance of Western North Carolina. Dr. Newbold was a Rotarian.

Dr. Newbold’s first beloved wife of 54 years, Helen Shaw Newbold, predeceased him in 2002. They are survived by their three daughters, Helen Martin Newbold and her husband, Mark Colbenson, of Cullowhee, N.C.; her former husband, Eric Lacker of St. Petersburg, Fla.; and their children, William Newbold Lacker and wife, Laurel Casillo, and Katherine Martin Lacker of New York City; Frances Newbold Mohr and her husband, Karl, of Stone Mountain, Ga.; and Rebecca Newbold Dion and her husband, Kyle, of Mars Hill, N.C.; and his son, Walker and wife, Jessie Johnson-Tyas, of Arden, N.C.; and grandchildren, Blayze, Calvin, and Alexis.

In 2008, Dr. Newbold happily married Patricia Orton Moran Talley Newbold, the widow of the Rev. Dr. Charles Talley, and is survived by her and her children, Charles and his family of Arden, N.C., and Katherine and her family of Navato, Calif.

Dr. Newbold was preceded in death by his five siblings, Caroline Newbold Swails and Anne Newbold Perkins of Wilmington, N.C.; his twin sister, Jessie Newbold Kennedy of Lexington, Va.; and his younger twin brothers, Charles Harper Newbold of Davidson, N.C., and Kenneth Raynor Newbold of Rose Hill, N.C.

A private graveside service will be held at the Harper-Newbold Family Plot in Wilmington’s historic Oakdale Cemetery. Penland Family Funeral Home is assisting the Newbold Family. Memorial Gifts in tribute to Dr. Newbold may be made to the charity of the donor’s choice.

Published by The News & Advance on April 17, 2022.

Preston C. Oliver ’43

Chaplain Preston Cumming Oliver, U.S. Navy (Ret.), died in his sleep at Paul Spring Retirement Community in Alexandria, Virginia, on February 1, 2022; he was nearly 100 years of age.

Chaplain Oliver is survived by his three children: Laurie (Chet) Hansen, of Mount Angel, Oregon; John (Tish) Oliver, of Alexandria, Virginia; and Preston (Lorie) Oliver II, of Salem, Oregon. He also had a total of 33 much cherished grandchildren and great-grandchildren. His wife and beloved mother of his children, Mary Adams Oliver, preceded him in death in 2010.

Preston Oliver was born on June 2, 1922, in Wilmington, North Carolina, the younger son of four children born to David Smith Oliver and Virginia Taylor Oliver. His childhood home was at 1906 Market Street in Wilmington. He was a long- time congregant at St. Andrews Covenant Presbyterian Church, 1416 Market Street, and loved to spend time in coastal Carolina, swimming or bodysurfing at Wrightsville Beach or fishing on the ocean. He graduated from New Hanover High School in 1939, and then from Davidson College in 1943. Always physically fit, he was the captain of the Davidson College varsity team in his senior year.

Following college, Preston Oliver immediately applied for a commission in the U.S. Navy. After Officer Candidate School at Columbia University and commissioning, he trained and then served with the “beach jumpers,” an elite unit specializing in tactical deception. Deployed to the western Pacific, his unit helped to mislead the Japanese occupiers of the Philippine Islands as to where the American invasion would take place, helping to ensure the success of the campaign and saving the lives of many soldiers, Marines, and civilians. He next served in the Okinawa campaign and was preparing to support the planned invasion of the Japanese main islands.

After World War II, Preston Oliver felt God’s call to become a Presbyterian minister. He chose to attend Union Theological Seminary in Richmond, Virginia. There he met his wife, Mary, who was studying at the Assembly’s Training School (now the Presbyterian School of Christian Education) just across Brook Road from the Seminary.

Recalled as a naval reservist for the Korean War, Preston Oliver served on USS Mount McKinley (AGC-7), General McArthur’s amphibious command ship for the Inchon invasion. After the war, he completed his theological training and was accepted into the Navy’s chaplain corps, with initial training in Newport, RI. He served with distinction in various shipboard and shore assignments with the Navy and the Marine Corps in Okinawa, Camp Lejeune, and Vietnam. He retired from the naval service in 1972. The many things he did during retirement included serving as a Christian missionary in Japan, preaching in small churches, and traveling the world.

Chaplain Oliver arranged to donate his body to medical science; eventually his final remains will be buried in the Oliver Family plot at Oakdale Cemetery in Wilmington, NC. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be sent to St. Andrews Covenant Presbyterian Church, or on-line to Covenant House at covenanthouse.org. Covenant House is a Christian organization dedicated to providing a hopeful, positive future to young people facing homelessness and survivors of trafficking through unconditional love, support, safety, and absolute respect so that they might overcome adversity and thrive.

William “Bill” Lee Whitley ’43

Mr. William “Bill” Lee Whitley passed away Wednesday, March 31, 2021, at Morningside in Concord. He was born in Kannapolis, May 19, 1923.

He was a son of the late W.H. Whitley Sr. and Robbie Lee Walters Whitley. He attended the local Kannapolis schools, Davidson College and Duke University.

In October of 1948, he married Johnette Padgett in the Duke University Chapel. Johnnette passed away Sept. 2, 2017.

They had four children, William “Whit” L. Whitley Jr., the late Dr. John M. Whitley, David E. Whitley and wife, Hope, and Jane L. Whitley; grandchildren, Elizabeth Whitley Carroll, Sarah Whitley Ciblak, Andrew Whitley, Alexandra Medley, Patrick Whitley, Anthony Antinucci, Madeleine Antinucci, Arianna Antinucci, Evan Antinucci, Kendyl Denson, Kaisyn Denson, Alyson Hodgkin, Lori Whitcomb, Kristi Huntsberger; great-grandchildren, Ava, Eason and Reeves Hodgkin, Lyla Hope Medley, Ezra Antinucci; brother, W.H. Whitley Jr.; and numerous nieces and nephews.

Mr. Whitley was a licensed funeral director and C.E.O of Whitley’s Funeral Home in Kannapolis. He began working at the funeral home at age 15 and worked his whole lifetime helping the families of Kannapolis and the surrounding areas during their most difficult times. He bought the business from his father in 1972.

He was a loving father, grandfather and loved spending time with his family. Bill has been active over the years in civic clubs, including president of the Kannapolis Merchants Association, president of the Kannapolis Lions Club, president of the Kannapolis Junior Chamber of Commerce, president and charter member of the Original Kannapolis Golf Club, life member of the 459 Bomb Group World War II Association, life member of the DAV Chapter 27 of Concord, life member of the American Legion Post 0115, life member of the Kannapolis Junior Chamber of Commerce, and life member of V.F.W. Poston-Perkins Post of Kannapolis.

He is a charter member of the Iron Dukes Scholarship Foundation of Duke University, a member of the Duke Alumni Association, James B. Duke Society, and the Founders Society. He is a member of Trinity United Methodist Church in Kannapolis.

He is also a member of Allen-Graham Masonic Lodge of Kannapolis, the Scottish Rite of Charlotte, the Oasis Shrine Temple of Charlotte, and a member of the Cabarrus Shrine Club. Bill was the Kannapolis Christmas Parade Chairman for over 20 years. He was instrumental in getting the A.L. Brown Football Stadium built. He also was an avid golfer through the years and was a charter member of the Kannapolis Golf Club, now the Club at Irish Creek.

Also, those who knew him best knew that Bill loved to eat. He was a fixture at many local restaurants in the area for many years.

Last but not least, Bill Whitley served his country in World War II, as an engineer gunner on a B-24 Bomber. He entered the U.S. Army Air Corps in January of 1943, completing 35 missions with the 15th U.S. Army Air Corps based in North Africa and Italy during World War II. Some of his awards were The Air Medal with 3 Oak Leaf Clusters, The European-African Middle Easter Service Medal with 6 bronze stars, Medal for Valor, and the Medal for Meritorious Service.

A funeral service will be held at 2 p.m., Saturday, April 3, at Whitley’s Funeral Home Chapel officiated by the Rev. Mike Hubbard. Entombment will follow at Carolina Memorial Park with military honors. His family will receive friends from 6 to 8 p.m., Friday, April 2, at Whitley’s.

For those with COVID-19 concerns, his body will lie-in-state at Whitley’s Funeral Home Friday, April 2, from 12 to 5 p.m., and Saturday, April 3, from 9 to 1 p.m., for those who would like to pay their respects.

Bill and his family would love for people to donate to a charity of their choice for veterans. He loved his country and loved all that served and honored their country.

Whitley’s Funeral Home www.whitleysfuneralhome.com

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