Thornton H. “Moo” Yancey ’46

Thornton Halliburton Yancey, 96, died peacefully at Granville Hospital on March 31, 2022.

“Moo” as everyone knew him, was born on August 16, 1925, to William Thornton and Laura Clement Yancey in Oxford, North Carolina. He graduated from Oxford High School in 1942 and attended Davidson College until he served his country during World War II in the US Coast Guard starting in August of 1943 as a radio technician. He returned from the war and enrolled at UNC Chapel Hill and graduated with a BA degree in English.

After college, he returned home to work in the family automotive business with his father and brother. While living in Oxford, he met Ruth Harover of Manchester, OH and they were happily married for 53 years until her death on December 26, 2006.

Moo was most fortunate in his life to have not only one great love but two. In May of 2009, he married Lynn Corbett Nelson of Clarksville, Virginia. They both had a passion for travel and took many trips together to Europe, South America, and the Middle East. In fact, Moo was able to travel to six of the seven continents, which was something that brought him a lot of joy.

He was preceded in death by his parents, his first wife Ruth, his brother Lindsay Clement Yancey and his wife Beth, and his half-brother William Thornton Yancey, Jr. and his wife Blanche.

Moo was a successful businessman and leader in his community. He was a member of the Oxford Baptist Church for more than 65 years and served as Chairman of the Board of Deacons, Trustee, and he also served as a Sunday School teacher. However, for the last 20 years, he attended the Oxford Presbyterian Church. Moo was Secretary and Treasurer of Yancey Chevrolet Buick and Co, Inc., for over 40 years. Moo and his brother Clement later opened Yancey Properties where he was fortunate to work side by side with his two sons, Gray and William.

Moo was President of both Oxford Kiwanis Club and Oxford Future Industries, which was proactive in bringing companies and jobs to the community. Moo was Vice President and Director of Central Orphanage, and Director of the Richard H. Thornton Library. He was past Chairman of the Board of Union National Bank as well as the Granville Savings and Loan. He was a Corporate Director of Southern National Bank and State Director for Branch Banking and Trust Co.

For more than 50 years, Moo enjoyed playing tennis with family and friends, and participated in tennis tournaments around the state of North Carolina. In 1982, he and son Gray won the State father-son doubles championship. His other interests included golf, building and renovating homes, jazz music and traveling the world. One of Moo’s many special gifts was his expert storytelling ability. He had an amazing arsenal of stories that were applicable to any situation, and he delivered them with just the right amount of humor.

Moo is survived by his wife Lynn Nelson Yancey, his three children Thornton Gray Yancey and wife Cynthia of Oxford, William Halliburton Yancey of Oxford, Laura Yancey Miralia and husband Tom of Charlotte, and their children Lillian Claire Miralia and John Thomas Miralia. He is also survived by his nephew Lindsay Clement Yancey, Jr. and wife Debbie of Winston Salem, and their two children.

A graveside service will be held on Monday, April 4, at 1:00pm at Elmwood Cemetery in Oxford.

In lieu of flowers, the family has requested donations to the Oxford Presbyterian Church, PO Box 652, Oxford, North Carolina 27565.

Arrangements are by Sossamon Funeral Home of Henderson. Online condolences may be made at

Published by The News & Observer on April 3, 2022.

Robert Orr “Bob” Freeman ’47

The Reverend Robert Orr Freeman of Salisbury, NC died on March 23, 2022 at the age of 96. He was born on November 16, 1925 in Memphis, TN the first son of Frances Orr and Rev. Daniel Ralph Freeman. He was born into a clergy family with a love of God and music where he learned to play the cornet as a boy, fashioning his life’s course.

He grew up in Pulaski County, VA, graduated from the small Draper High School in 1941 and then pursued college preparatory education at Fork Union Military Academy. He entered Davidson College in 1942, but his education was interrupted by service of 18 months in the US Navy as an Aviation Cadet from February 1944 to October 1945 preparing for the potential invasion of Japan near the end of the Second World War. He returned to Davidson after his discharge to graduate with a degree in music in 1947.

He moved to live with his aunt in Houston, TX where he attended Austin Presbyterian Seminary and served as an associate at the Highland Presbyterian Church. It was in Houston that he met his future wife, Mary Jane Tipton, who was pursuing her master’s degree in voice at the University of Houston. He married Jane on December 30, 1954 and they had two children: Elizabeth Jane and Robert Bruce. They were married for over 54 years, celebrating their 50th anniversary in Salisbury in 2004.

He had a lengthy and varied career as a Presbyterian minister, serving 56 years. After graduation from Union Presbyterian Seminary in Richmond, VA in 1957, he was ordained and served four pastorates in the Fayetteville, NC area: Ashpole, Philipi, Hope Mills and Westminster Presbyterian Churches from 1957 to 1971. He then moved to Charlotte, NC called to serve Commonwealth Eastminster Presbyterian Church, which later merged with Albemarle Road Presbyterian Church from 1971 to 1974. He then served as full time interim or supply pastor for numerous churches in NC, TN, and VA from 1974 to 1987. He came to Salisbury in 1987 called to be pastor of the Second Presbyterian Church from 1987 to 1992, retiring on December 31, 1992. He also served as choir director in many of the churches he pastored. After retirement he continued to pastor the community supporting part-time interim and stated supply of pastorates in Salem Presbytery, including Royal Oaks, Bethel, and Cleveland Presbyterian Churches and as a Parish Associate at Thyatira Presbyterian Church until 2013.

He continued to follow his life-long passion of liturgical and classical music, participating in many choral groups in the communities where he and his wife lived. They sang in so many choral groups over the years it would be virtually impossible to list them all. In Salisbury they were active in the Salisbury Concert Choir, Ecumenical Choir, and church choirs among others. Indeed, they were very grateful to God for giving them their ability to sing God’s praises for their entire lives. He was active in the Optimist International service clubs throughout his life, serving in clubs in Charlotte and Salisbury as president and ultimately as governor of the Western North Carolina region. He was awarded the Salisbury Community Development Corporation Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Humanitarian Award in 1998 in recognition of his many years of service to the community up to that time.

He was not only active in the Presbyterian Church USA, but also very active ecumenically representing the Mecklenburg and Salem Presbyteries in the World Council of Churches, North Carolina Council of Churches, Charlotte Area Clergy Association among many other international, national and local religious groups. He helped organize the May 1975 Mecklenburg Declaration of Independence bi-centennial celebration giving the invocation for those attending, including President Gerald Ford. While in Salisbury he was always active with Rowan Helping Ministries and other local ministerial associations as he thought it important to know and work with fellow ministers and community leaders.

He was always loyal to his alma mater, Davidson College, supporting the college in many ways over more than 60 years, not least of which being a men’s basketball season ticket holder for many years on and off from 1973 until 2019. He was also dedicated to the Democratic Party actively supporting policies that further democratic values and specifically helping form the North Carolina Senior Democrats group to support Democratic candidates.

He is predeceased by his wife Jane, brother, David, and his sister, Edith. He is survived by his children: Elizabeth Jane and Robert Bruce; grandchildren: Bryan, Christopher, John, and Matthew; and great-grandchildren: Echo, Jacy, and Jaxson.

In lieu of flowers contributions may be made to Thyatira Presbyterian Church, Rowan Helping Ministries, or the Optimist International. Memorial service on Saturday, April 30th at 2:00pm at Thyatira Presbyterian Church and the interment on Sunday, May 1st at Steele Creek Historic Cemetery in a small service at a time TBD.

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 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.

Ira G. “Frosty” Darnell ’48

Ira Gideon Darnell Jr. was born on the frosty morning of December 5, 1925 to Elmore Culp and Ira Gideon Darnell in Charlotte. Nicknamed “Frosty” from then on, he died on a frosty Sunday morning, January 23, 2022 at the age of 96.

Frosty entered Davidson College in 1943, before transferring to the Navy V-12 officer candidate program at Emory University. He was commissioned in 1945 and reentered Davidson, graduating in 1948.

In 1945, Frosty married his childhood sweetheart, Carolyn Porter, both having grown up in Dilworth. He attended graduate school at UNC Chapel Hill. Frosty was called back to active duty in the Korean War, where he served aboard a destroyer, the USS Meredith, with the 6th Fleet from the North Sea to the Mediterranean.

Frosty was a financial executive for many years in public accounting and the textile and distribution industries, retiring as Vice President of B&H Foods. He served as a tax advisor into his 90’s. He and Carolyn were active members of Christ Lutheran Church from its earliest days for over 65 years and served in many roles over the years.

Frosty was a gentleman, deeply committed to his faith and family, and was guided by integrity and kindness. Carolyn, his inseparable companion of 76 years, survives him as well as their five children: Stephen Darnell and wife Janet of Raleigh, Deborah Ferrell and husband Brent of Shelby, David Darnell and wife Kim of Holmes Beach, Florida, Stuart Darnell and wife Kristin of Charlotte, and Susan Liebert and husband Richard of Alpharetta, Georgia, ten grandchildren and thirteen great grandchildren.

Services will be private.

Memorial contributions may be made to Christ Lutheran Church, 4519 Providence Rd. 28226.

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

Abel McIver “Mac” Hart ’49

Rev. Abel McIver “Mac” Hart, 93, of Black Mountain, NC passed away on Wednesday, January 19, 2022 at Givens Highland Farms.

Born August 19, 1928 in Staunton, VA, he was a son of the late Freeman H. and Jean Fraser Hart. As a teenager, Mac was an Eagle Scout and later served as a Scoutmaster for the Boy Scouts of America. Mac was an alumnus of both Davidson College where he received a B.A. in English in 1949, and Columbia Theological Seminary where he received a M.A. of Divinity in 1953.

Rev. Hart was an ordained Presbyterian minister and he served as general presbyter for Hanover Presbytery in Richmond, VA from 1968 to 1974, and as executive presbyter for Grace Presbytery in Dallas, TX from 1974-1993. In addition, he was pastor at churches in Fayette, MS, Wynne, AR, and Meridian, MS, and served as Associate Pastor at Second Presbyterian Church in Little Rock, AR. Even after retirement, he held interim pastorates in Rocky Mount, NC and York, SC. He was a member of Black Mountain Presbyterian Church.

As part of a lifelong commitment to social justice and his Christian values, Mac volunteered to help the needy and to register voters in Henderson and Buncombe counties. He also enjoyed relaxing with a good book, a historical map, or genealogical research.

In addition to his parents, Mac was preceded in death by his beloved spouse, Muriel Gear Hart; brother, James Wilson Hart; brother-in-law, Richard Gear; brother-in-law, Robert Dickey; and sister-in-law, Meredith Hart. Surviving are his children, David M. Hart of Amherst, MA, Felix A. Hart and his spouse, Elizabeth, of Kent, WA, J. Gary Hart of Austin, TX, F. Elizabeth Hart of Mansfield Center, CT, Douglas B. Goldenberg-Hart and his spouse, Diane, of Silver Spring, MD; siblings, Fraser Hart, of Madison, WI, David E. Hart and his spouse, Rachel, of Charlotte, NC, and Jean B. Dickey, of Takoma Park, MD, and sister-in-law, Jean C. Hart of Gainesville, FL; and seven grandchildren.

A memorial service will be held at Black Mountain Presbyterian Church at a later date. Mac and Muriel’s cremains will be deposited together at Montreat Memorial Gardens.

Condolences may be made to the family at Penland Family Funeral Home is honored to assist the Hart Family at this time.