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 www.PenlandFamilyFuneralHome.com. Penland Family Funeral Home is honored to assist the Hart Family at this time.

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 www.richandthompson.com

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 www.thomasmcafee.com.

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 (chccinc.org) Shelby, NC 28150 or to First Presbyterian Church at 111 East King Street, Kings Mountain, NC 28086

Guest register available at www.harrisfunerals.com

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

Published in Shelby Star