Thomas F. “Tom” Clark ’49

Thomas F. "Tom" Clark '49

Just like his famous figurine sculptures, Dr. Thomas F. Clark reached his final Retirement Tier Friday, January 14, 2022 at 9:26am.

Dr. Clark was a great teacher. He taught and performed and challenged and charmed us in the classroom at Davidson College, and then parlayed that experience and knowledge into his sculpting which won him international acclaim. Although small in stature, in reality, he was larger than life. Even in the very first year of his career as the “Gnome man” he was acclaimed by one of the most prestigious publications in the figurine industry to be “Already bigger than Norman Rockwell – an American Treasure”.

At prestigious Davidson College he was very simply one of the most popular professors ever to walk the halls and enlighten the classrooms of the iconic Chambers Building. In the classroom his performances were the eclectic mix of William Shakespeare, Don Quixote and Woody Allen. For some it was pure academic delight; for others a life changing experience, but for all it was more entertainment than anything else AND it was Great Entertainment. He knew every student by their full name and quite a bit about each individual. And more than anything else wanted to be your friend as well as your mentor. He always had impeccable manners and always knew the right thing to say – never condescending – and was always positive and encouraging in his associations with students and later the collectors of his artworks.

Dr. Thomas Fetzer Clark, a.k.a. Tom Clark, a.k.a. T-Bird Tommy, spent his life entertaining and enlightening literally millions of people, first as a kindly sought-after professor of religion, then as American Artist extraordinaire, producing thousands of sculptures and hosting hundreds of artists appearances worldwide.

That he retained his generous, courteous charm and charisma through such dedicated expense of his time is a great tribute to his selfless devotion to his Art and his Public. No one worked as hard as Tom Clark. He was a demanding task master. His labor of love brought him to collectors during the weekends and to a sculpting table during the week. Friday through Saturday, meeting collectors, signing statues; Monday through Friday (with a rare week off here and there) at his easel creating hundreds of artworks. “I work very hard.
Sometimes I feel the collector doesn’t quite understand just what it takes to do what I do – the sculpting and the personal appearances. But that is OK. I have often said it has taken me a lifetime to create any one sculpture. I am very pleased that in my life, I have been able to give something of myself particularly my philosophy that basically we are all part of the same world and ALL good at heart. To be aware that so many people are pleased to receive my work is the most reward in life I need. For people not to know what it really took to get here, it doesn’t matter.”

The least self-promoting individual ever encountered, it is like him, no it is him to be generous sharing his success with Cairn Studio and his adoring collector following. To be gracious and generous was as integral a part of Tom Clark as was his great talent. He would have it no other way and every wonderful sculpture he produced was a reflection of the attitude, the art, and the man.

Dr. Clark had more registered collectors and a larger following than probably any other sculptor in the world today, and, as a lasting and fitting tribute to his great talent and success, was featured in literally thousands of newspapers, journals, magazines, and other periodicals as well as, numerous radio and television features.

As far as accomplishments and accolades are concerned there are far too many to list here and they never were that big a part of this very humble man.

We are all going to miss Tom Clark, his warm and gracious attitude, his spirituality and his self-deprecating wit and humor – But the legend lives on!

Robert Orr “Bob” Crawford ’49

Dr. Robert O. Crawford, Jr., (Bob, or “Doc” to his family and friends), 93, of The Village at Brookwood, passed away on December 9, 2021. He is survived by his devoted wife of 71 years, Ann Woodson Crawford. Dr. Crawford was a true southern gentleman. He demonstrated throughout his life his strong faith in God and the importance of family, education, hard work, and good manners.

Dr. Crawford was born on May 4, 1928, and raised in Gastonia, North Carolina, the only child of R.O. Crawford and Edna Lattimore Crawford. He achieved the rank of Eagle Scout. He was an outstanding student at Gastonia High School class of 1946. Dr. Crawford graduated from Davidson College in three years by taking summer school classes at UNC Chapel Hill so he could quickly move on to medical school.

On June 5, 1950, he married Ann Woodson, the daughter of Presbyterian missionaries to Brazil, who he met at Queens College. In 1954, he graduated from Bowman Gray School of Medicine at Wake Forest University. Dr. Crawford served in the United States Navy at Camp Lejeune taking care of marines and their families. In 1957, he took over a general family practice of medicine in Claremont, North Carolina where he was the only physician. He worked tirelessly and regularly made house calls to over half of Catawba County. In 1966, Dr. Crawford commenced a three-year residency in ophthalmology at UNC Chapel Hill and what was then McPherson Hospital in Durham.

In 1969, Dr. Crawford came to Burlington to practice ophthalmology. He specialized in cataract surgery and was thus able to save the sight of countless grateful patients in and around Alamance County. Dr. Crawford was an active member of First Presbyterian Church. He was an avid supporter of the basketball team at what was then Elon College.

In 1985, Dr. Crawford accepted a new challenge when he relocated to Tarboro, North Carolina here he was a leader of the medical staff of Heritage Hospital (now Vidant Edgecombe Hospital). He was a member of Howard Memorial Presbyterian Church. Upon his “retirement” he continued to practice ophthalmology several days per week in New Bern and Morehead City. In 2000, Dr. Crawford decided to fully retire from ophthalmology and return with Ann to Burlington.

Dr. Crawford was a life-long learner. He acquired knowledge and proficiency in numerous fields of endeavor throughout his long and prosperous life. He earned his private pilot’s license and for many years owned a single engine plane. Although a highly accomplished eye surgeon, he most loved working on his farms in Burlington and Tarboro. He raised cattle and horses in Burlington. In Tarboro, he bred, trained and showed champion American Paint Horses. Since age four, horses were his greatest love.

Dr. Crawford did not just have mere hobbies, he had an inquisitive mind and was passionate about his interests. At various times his endeavors included coaching youth basketball, playing golf and teaching the game to his sons and grandsons, quail hunting, collecting antiques, and acquiring metalworking machinery. He was an American history buff from reading all of his life. In later years, he studied the stock market. In retirement, he became a highly accomplished woodworker. He leaves behind numerous exquisite pieces of furniture, large and small. During the past few years at The Village at Brookwood he was an avid student of the game of bridge.

In addition to his wife, Ann, Dr. Crawford is survived by their children: Sherrill Beaman (Randy) of Tarboro, Mary Edna Fogleman (Jim) of Raleigh, Robert O. Crawford III (Renee) of Raleigh, and John W. Crawford (Amy) of Burlington. In 1981, they lost their daughter, Frances Venable, to cancer. He described the loss of Frances at age 26 as the most difficult and transforming event of his life. Dr. Crawford was the immensely proud grandfather of 12 grandchildren, two step-grandchildren, and to date, 16 great-grandchildren.

The family will receive friends at 10:00 a.m. in the sanctuary of Graham Presbyterian Church on Thursday, December 16, 2021, followed by a memorial service at 11:00 a.m.

In lieu of flowers, donations in memory of Dr. Crawford may be made to Wake Forest School of Medicine, Office of Philanthropy, P.O. Box 571021, Winston-Salem, NC 27157-1021 or Graham Presbyterian Church Community Life Center building fund, P.O. Box 1089, Graham, NC 27253.

Rich & Thompson Funeral and Cremation Service in Burlington is assisting the family.

Condolences may be offered at

Copyright, 2021, Times-News (Burlington, NC).

George Thomas Sherrill ’44

George Thomas Sherrill, 98, died peacefully at his home surrounded by his family on Saturday, December 4, 2021.

Born September 8, 1923, in Mooresville, NC, he was a son of the late Troy Lee and Dessie Reed Sherrill. His siblings were Pauline Ingle and Marshall Sherrill.

George graduated from Mooresville High School in 1940 and then attended Davidson College. When WWII came along, he left college to join the Naval Air Corp. He became a pilot in service of his country until honorably discharged in 1945. Following his military service, he was employed by Duke Power in Mooresville, NC. In 1947, he was transferred to Greenville, SC as Duke’s territory claims agent until his retirement in 1982. Following retirement, George volunteered his time delivering Meals on Wheels. He also volunteered to serve as an independent arbitrator to settle disputes between businesses and their customers under the Better Business Bureau National Consumer Arbitration Program.

On September 14, 1946, George married the love of his life, Ethel Mayes. They recently celebrated 75 years of marriage. George is also survived by his son, Stephen Sherrill of Greenville; daughter, Nancy Coster and her husband Steve Barbrey of Greer; granddaughter, Kristen Coster; and his great-grandson, Easton, both of Greer.

George was a member of the Greenville Lions Club and the American Legion for 76 years holding various committee and chairman positions.

George was instrumental in the origination of St. Matthew United Methodist Church of which he and Ethel are charter and devoted members since 1955. George was the 1st chairman of finance for St. Matthew. He also held various other positions including President of his Sunday School class.

The family would like to extend their appreciation to those at Open Arms Hospice for their care and support keeping George comfortable at home until his passing.

A visitation will be held Friday, December 10, 2021, from 1:00 p.m. until 1:45 p.m. at St. Matthew United Methodist Church. The service will follow at 2:00 p.m. Entombment will be private.

Memorials may be made to St. Matthew Beyond Campaign, 701 Cleveland St., Greenville, SC 29601, or to a charity of one’s choice.

Condolences may be sent to the family at

Bobby Frank Maner ’49

Bobby F. Maner, 94, of Kings Mountain, NC, passed away on November 24, 2021 at Atrium Health Cleveland in Shelby, NC. He was born in Wilmington, NC, son of the late Frank Garrett and Lois Norris Maner and was preceded in death by his wife of 55 years, Jeanne Sommers Maner. He was also preceded in death by a son, Frank G. “Bo” Maner, II and a daughter in law, Susan Martin Maner.

Bob attended Davidson College where he lettered in basketball and received his undergraduate degree. He earned his Masters degree from UNC Chapel Hill. After college, Bob served honorably in the US Navy during the Korean War. He was the founder of B.F. Maner Insurance Agency, Inc.

Survivors: Son: Robert S. Maner, Kings Mountain, NC Daughter: Sarah M. Lawrence and husband Alan, High Point, NC Grandchild: Joseph M. Maner and wife Stephanie H. Maner Great Grandchild: Shepherd Martin Maner

Memorial Service: Saturday, November 27, 2021 at 2:00 PM at First Presbyterian Church with Reverends John Wilcox and John Bridges officiating

Visitation: Immediately following the service in the fellowship hall of First Presbyterian Church

Interment: A Private graveside service will be held at Mountain Rest Cemetery

Memorials: Children’s Homes of Cleveland County at PO Box 2053 ( Shelby, NC 28150 or to First Presbyterian Church at 111 East King Street, Kings Mountain, NC 28086

Guest register available at

Arrangements: Harris Funeral Home and Cremation Services, Kings Mountain, North Carolina.

Published in Shelby Star

Thomas Vance “Tommy” Bumbarger ’47

Thomas Vance "Tommy" Bumbarger '47

Thomas “Tommy” Vance Bumbarger, 98, passed away Friday, Nov. 12, 2021, at Trinity Ridge in Hickory.

Born Sept. 28, 1923, in Hickory, he was the son of the late Paul William Bumbarger and Margaret Horan Bumbarger. In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by his wife, Betty Lou McNeely Bumbarger; brothers, Paul William Bumbarger Jr., and Robert Bruce Bumbarger; and sister-in-law, Caroline Brown Bumbarger.

Tommy served in the U.S. Army during World War II. He was a first lieutenant, having served in the European Theater of Operations, the 232nd Infantry Regiment and the 12th Infantry Division. He considered his greatest accomplishment risking his life hanging off the running board of a supply truck crossing the treacherous mountain pass of the Italian Alps to pick up barrels of liquor to bring back to the officers and enlisted men.

After the war, he graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Davidson College and The Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania. His master’s thesis was titled “An Inquiry into the Determination of a More Useful Periodic Net Income Through the Use of the Last-In, First-Out Method of Pricing Inventories.” He alleged that this thesis was used by Wharton as a teaching tool for years.

After four years with Arthur Anderson Company in Atlanta, he returned to Hickory and started Thomas V. Bumbarger, CPA. He spent much of his time as a CPA specializing in raising capital for start-up businesses, many of which went on to great success.

He loved Hickory, and supported many civic organizations including Kiwanis and Rotary, and was named the 1957 Young Man of the Year by the Junior Chamber of Commerce. He was a longtime member of First Presbyterian Church in Hickory.

In 1972, he left the field of public accounting to go into the textile industry, where he went on to become one of the principals of Regal Manufacturing Company.

In his later years, he pursued various business interests. He retired in 1996, and moved to the Sharon community of Alexander County near Stony Point with his daughters and sons-in-law. The property was named “Belle Cow Farm” after a story involving a close friend who said Tommy was a bell cow. The bell cow is the lead cow that the rest of the herd follows, so that the herd can be easily located by the sound of the bell worn on her collar. There he became a self-taught farmer of sorts, enjoying time in the garden where he kept meticulous CPA quality production records, spending time on the tractor or wielding a chainsaw and building meticulously constructed bonfires.

One of his early passions was golf. He learned the game as a boy at the Lake Hickory Country Club Town Course when the greens were made of sand. He started the golf team at Hickory High School, and was a member of the golf team at Davidson. He was the 1940 North Carolina Junior Championship Runner-Up. He enjoyed a good $5.00 (and then some) Nassau bet, and participated in many local tournaments at Lake Hickory Country Club and Catawba Country Club. He was seven-time club champion at Catawba. He and his wife enjoyed many trips to the Masters as patrons, and he had the pleasure of playing the course at Augusta National many times.

He later played tennis, because as he would admit, he enjoyed the flattering outfits the lady tennis players wore, and it was a healthier sport that did not involve liquor and expensive wagers.

As an avid sports fan, he followed Davidson basketball passionately, especially during the Lefty Driesell years. He was proud to share that he was “ABC” all the way, fueled mostly by his intense dislike of a certain popular UNC coach and his four-corner offense.

He was a free spirit and approached life just a little differently than most would expect. He was outspoken and quick to share his thoughts and opinions, but he always lived by the impeccable manners and compassion his parents taught him. He leaves a legacy of stories from the golf course, spontaneous trips to Vegas or a good party. One of his last comments while at Trinity Ridge was “My favorite thing in the whole world is a pretty girl.” He believed in spontaneity and loved to do things like throw fireworks in the fireplace when no one was looking, or loading the car with children dressed in their Sunday best and heading to the nearest creek. Anyone who crossed his path probably has a story to tell, and many were the recipient of one of his unique nicknames.

He is survived by daughters, Susan Stancil and husband, Lynn, and Judy Allen and husband, Jack; grandson, Jack Preston Allen III, all of Stony Point; and sister-in-law, Sara Ward Bumbarger; plus many nieces and nephews.

He was quite fond of the Rudyard Kipling poem “If” which advocates the virtues he tried to live by, including integrity, perseverance, tolerance, determination and confidence. He often shared the final line of Horatio Spafford’s hymn “When peace like a river attendeth my way, when sorrows like sea billows roll, whatever my lot Thou hast taught me to say it is well, it is well with my soul.”

He was clear in his wish to not hold a funeral or formal service. The family plans to hold a celebration of life at a later date.

In lieu of flowers, feel free to raise a toast whenever he comes to mind or share a special story with his family. Remember his words “A good story should never be spoiled by sticking strictly to the truth.”

Memorials may be made to the Hickory Museum of Art at; Montessori at Sandy Ford at; one of our worthy local animal rescues such as Hartman’s Haven Dog Rescue at; NC PAWS Cat Rescue at; or to the charity of your choice.

Published by Hickory Daily Record on Nov. 16, 2021.