Robert V. Knight ’49

Robert Vernon Knight, Jr. of Charlotte, North Carolina, age 94, died March 6, 2023 after a brief illness. Born October 27, 1928, Bob was the son of the late Robert Vernon Knight and Ruth Sydnor Dedmon Knight of Tarboro, NC.

He was educated in the public schools of Tarboro and graduated from Tarboro High School in 1945.

Bob was a 1949 graduate of Davidson College with a BS degree where he was a member of Phi Delta Theta fraternity. He served in the US Air Force during the Korean conflict and rose to the rank of Captain.

After five years with Wachovia Bank N.A. in Winston-Salem and Raleigh, NC, Bob joined Home Finance Group, a predecessor company of American Credit Corporation and Barclays American Corporation. He retired from Barclays American Corporation as Senior Vice President in 1990, after serving thirty-two years with a variety of responsibilities, among them as Director of Administration and Corporate Affairs. After retirement, Bob served as Executive Director of Central Piedmont Community College Foundation for three years.

A firm believer in the importance of a traditional liberal arts education, Bob was a founder of Charlotte Latin School, serving as treasurer and member of the Board of Trustees intermittently for more than two decades. He was also a Deacon of Myers Park Presbyterian Church. Active in both business and civic affairs, Bob was Campaign Chairman and President of Arts and Science Council; Campaign Chairman of Capital Funds Drive of Junior Achievement; President of Friends of UNCC; President of Charlotte Merchants Association; and served on Boards of Directors of United Way, Wing Haven, Charlotte Mecklenburg Seniors Centers, and approximately thirty-five financial trade organizations. At the time of his death, he was a member of the Charlotte Country Club and the Charlotte Rotary Club.

In Bob’s own words, his greatest pride in life was the love and success of his children and four granddaughters. His lifelong hobby was being devoted to and supportive of his many friends of all ages. Many name Bob their single best friend.

Bob epitomized what it means to be a gentleman – charming, spirited, gracious, generous, and humble, with a grand sense of humor.

In 1979 Bob was preceded in death by his first wife of 27 years, Betsy Knott Knight. In 2005 he married Barbara Fehr McManeus, who predeceased him in 2019. Surviving are his daughter, Ruth Knight Gammon and husband Robert Christopher (Chris) Gammon of Charlotte; son John Ruffin Knight and wife Denise Bourassa Knight of New York, NY; four granddaughters, Anne Sydnor Gammon of Charlottesville, VA, Elizabeth Louise (Betsy) Gammon, MD of Nashville, TN, Julia Anne Knight of New York, NY, and Helen Perry Knight, MD and husband Zachary Lawrence (Zach) Baca of Boston, MA. Also left to cherish Bob’s memory are Barbara’s children, Marcia Teal, Rob McManeus, Cammie Stadler, and Marc McManeus.

A memorial service will be held at a later date. A private, family interment was held March 8, 2023.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests that memorials be sent to the McIntosh Leadership Center at Charlotte Latin School, checks payable to Charlotte Latin School, 9502 Providence Road, Charlotte, NC 28277; or to Myers Park Presbyterian Church, 2501 Oxford Place, Charlotte NC 28207.

Arrangements are in the care of Kenneth Poe Funeral & Cremation Service, 1321 Berkeley Ave., Charlotte, NC 28204; (704) 641-7606. Online condolences can be shared at

McLean “Mack” Mitchell ’49

McLean Mitchell (Mack) died on February 17, 2023 at the age of 95. 

He was predeceased by his wife, Hazel McKeel Mitchell, his five siblings, Nicholas Worth Mitchell, Marion Mitchell Daves, Geraldine Mitchell Warren, Wilson Walker Mitchell, Emily Mitchell Williamson; and one nephew Nicholas W. Mitchell, Jr. He was a native of Winston-Salem, NC and the son of Annie Walker Mitchell and Nicholas Mitchell. He is survived by nine nieces and nephews: Shirley Mitchell Snow (Jim), Nicholas Daves (Elaine) and Jane Williamson Helvey (Jay) all from Winston-Salem; Weston Warren of Aiken, SC; Meriel Mitchell Gregory of Atlanta, GA; Melissa Daves Johnson (Steve) of Spartanburg, SC; Jeffrey Warren of Ashburn, Va; Ann Williamson Peterson (Bill) of Sandy, Utah; and Scott Williamson (Colleen) of Fredericksburg, Va.

Mack was a 1949 graduate of Davidson College and held a Master’s degree from UNC-Chapel Hill. In 1953 he was awarded a post-masters fellowship in humanities from Columbia University. Mack was a legendary teacher at Reynolds High School, Forsyth Country Day School and the Career Center for 44 years, often encountering multiple generations of families in his classes. He was a captivating speaker on American and European history. He made topics come alive by taking student groups to historical sites in the United States and Europe. He opened his home to students on nights and weekends to enjoy conversation and classical music in the context of his classroom teaching.

After retiring from the classroom in 2001, he completed the docent training classes at Reynolda House Museum of American Art and served as a volunteer tour guide at Reynolda House for 15 years, retiring at the age of 88.

He was a lifelong member of First Baptist Church.

As he requested, his funeral will be a private family service.

Memorial gifts can be made to Reynolda House Museum of Modern Art, 2250 Reynolda Road, Winston-Salem, NC, 27106; the Fund for Davidson College, P.O. Box 7170, Davidson, NC 28035; the RJR High School Alumni Association, P.O. Box 26172, Winston-Salem, NC 27114, or to a charity of the donor’s choice.

Online condolences may be made at

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
McLean Funeral Directors of Gastonia is serving the family of Mr. Matthews.

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

John R. Folger ’49

Dr. John R. Folger joined the Church Triumphant Friday, Nov. 4, 2022, two days short of his 95th birthday.

He was one of the longest licensed physicians in the state of North Carolina. He was active for 18 months as a Corpsman in the United States Navy. He graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Davidson College in just two and-a-half years. He attended Wake Forest School of Medicine. He and Hilda, his wife of 72 years, moved to Brevard and he started his medical practice in 1956, focusing on general and family medicine, obstetrics and surgery. During his practice, he delivered more than 1,000 babies. He also made thousands of house calls during his more than six-decades as a physician.

He started working in the Transylvania County Health Department in 1956 and was Health Director for 45 years. During this time Transylvania County became the first in the state to give the polio vaccine to young students. He was also the physician for the Schenck Job Corp for 25 years and was instrumental in getting Hospice and the Free Clinic, now Blue Ridge Health, into Transylvania County. He was always working on medical programs for this community.

He was an elder for many years at Brevard-Davidson River Presbyterian Church. He became active in the community almost immediately upon arrival, joining the Jaycees and various committees and organizations through the years. He served his community in a variety of ways beyond medicine, being elected to the Transylvania County Board of Education and serving as a Transylvania County Commissioner.

Some favorite family memories include sharing his knowledge of history, which he loved, with his children and grandchildren and he enjoyed telling his stories. He loved playing chess and taught it to his grandchildren. Family vacations were about seeing and appreciating the wonderful things of this country.

He was a generous, caring, loving, intelligent and honest gentleman. He taught his family the importance of a work ethic and the importance of integrity.

There was always time for church on Sunday morning. He often taught an adult Sunday School class and he was always interested in talking about church doctrine and history with his children and grandchildren.

He would greet family with a huge smile and a tight hug. He loved silly and corny jokes. He would say, “Can I squeeze you as much as I love you?” Then he’d give you barely a squeeze followed by a bear hug.

He loved making wassail for all to share at Christmas time and Greek salad for gatherings of family and friends. He also wanted to share his licorice, pickles and buttermilk, but with less success.

He loved showing the same “magic tricks” over and over and the grandkids would just laugh because he was just so genuine and happy. He loved showing the family how he could breathe out of just one lung and how he could remove his thumb and then reattach it.

His family loved him very much.

He is survived by his wife, Hilda; children, Lydia Schleifer, of Clemson, S.C., Sydney Folger, of Brevard, Grady Folger, of Brevard and Earle Folger, of Summerville, S.C.; as well as 13 grandchildren and 19 great-grandchildren. His son, Captain John Russell Folger III, passed away in 2005.

He was loved and respected by his children, grandchildren, nieces and nephews, by his whole family. He will be greatly missed.

A memorial service will be held at a later date.

In lieu of flowers the family suggests remembrances be be sent to: The Pisgah Health Foundation, which improves the health and welfare of Transylvania County, at P.O. Box 2440, Brevard, NC 28712, or to The Cindy Platt Boys and Girls Club, which is in the building where Dr. Folger first began his medical practice in Brevard, at 11 Gallimore Road, Brevard, NC 28712, or to Four Seasons Hospice, 571 S. Allen Road, Flat Rock, NC 28731.

To leave a condolence for the family of Dr. John Folger, visit “Tributes” at

Moore-Blanchard Funerals & Cremations is honored to be caring for the family.