Ernest Chace Cross ’55

Ernest Chace Cross, age 89, of Johnson City, Tennessee, passed into eternal glory on Monday, Aug. 8, 2022.

Ernie was born on May 6, 1933, in Kingsport, Tennessee, to the late Alice Brayton Cross and Ernest Childs Cross.

He was a 1951 graduate of Dobyns-Bennett High School in Kingsport, Tennessee, where he excelled in basketball and track.

Ernie was deployed in Europe by the US Army from 1956-58, then attended Davidson College in North Carolina before graduating from East Tennessee State University.

He married Billie Jo Masters in 1958 and together they raised two daughters.

Ernie was employed by W.B. Greene, then by Kingsport National Bank, before moving to Johnson City to work for Hamilton Bank.

Since 1964 he was a member of the Friendship Sunday School Class at First United Methodist Church and served on various committees while enjoying the fellowship of many members.

For 18 years Ernie served as Treasurer for the Johnson City Cardinals and was also their director for 5 years.

He was a member of the Johnson City Kiwanis Club, was awarded Kiwanian of the Year, earned the nick name of “Captain Kiwanis,” and registered perfect attendance for over 57 years.

Ernie was preceded in death by his wife of 63 years, Jo Masters Cross and a twin brother Alan B. Cross.

Those left to cherish his memory include daughters Cyndi Stephenson (Joel) of Florence AL, and Cathy Graham (Scott) of Johnson City; grandsons Jay Stephenson (Sarahann) and Sam Stephenson (Kelsey) of Florence AL, Chace Graham (Lainey) of Central SC, and Jackson Graham of Johnson City; great-grandchildren Joe and Gracie Stephenson, Reece and Rylan Kate Stephenson, and Ellis Graham, along with several nieces and nephews.

There will be a Celebration of Life service on Saturday, August 13, 2022, at Morris-Baker Funeral Home at 4:00pm. Receiving of friends will immediately follow the service and will conclude at 6:00pm.

Memories and condolences may be shared with the family

Morris-Baker Funeral Home and Cremation Services, 2001 E Oakland Ave., Johnson City TN 37601 (phone 423-282-1521) is serving the family.

Leighton M. McCutchen ’55

Leighton M. McCutchen '55

Leighton McCutchen, PhD, born August 10th 1933, passed away at home May 17th, 2022, surrounded by family. Leighton was born in Bulape, then the Belgian Congo, to missionary parents who, he said, would likely have been environmentalists in this era.

Leighton met Martha Jackson in Latin class in Nashville, Tennessee. He graduated from Davidson College, 1955. They married three days after Martha graduated from Maryville College, 1956. Both continued in graduate school at ATS and Union Theological Seminary and did clinical training at Medical College of Virginia at Richmond & Staunton State Hospital. Their first child was born in Richmond. Union awarded Leighton a Hoge fellowship which he used toward his PhD at University of Chicago, Illinois. They had two more children while Martha researched Early Childhood Education. Briefly following his fathers’ profession, Leighton was an inventive presbyterian minister, once offering a sermon on Ciardi’s poem: “The King Who Saved Himself from Being Saved.” 

In 1965 Leighton became Assistant Professor and Chairman of PhD & Masters Studies in Human Nature & Religion at Hartford Seminary Foundation, CT. He developed a successful program allowing students to disassociate from the Vietnam war, and taught psychology and philosophy of religion. He published “Dream without Myth” & “The Father Figure in Psychology and Religion” in 1972. In Hartford, Leighton developed an international lecture series, later becoming a Visiting Lecturer at Harvard Divinity School during a sabbatical year taken while his family moved to Heath, MA, 1973. 

In Heath, Leighton aimed at balancing physical farming and an intellectual life. He became a community psychoanalyst and clinical psychologist, calling it his third profession. He developed an independent practice for children and families called the Shelburne Falls Clinical Group, going into partnership with Martha in 1979. His son Brooks joined the practice, 1991.

Retiring 2002, Leighton wrote poetry prodigiously and helped with his family’s sugarbush. Philosophy, psychoanalysis and farm work were rich intersections for Leighton, challenged by the emerging environmental crisis. Leighton supported his son’s family’s Agroecological farming and outreach, his eldest Veterinary daughter’s eclectic work with exotic and domestic animals, and his youngest daughter’s University teaching and writing, often editing her manuscripts. He survived two heart valve replacement surgeries (2000, 2013).

During the pandemic, Martha and Leighton spent their time on their beloved farm, reflecting on their life together. Leighton died in the company of wife and children, with grandchildren traveling from Vancouver Island Canada, Baltimore MD, and Bar Harbor Maine. 

Leighton was given a green burial in South Heath Cemetery in the presence of local friends and family, who shared memories. He always said he hoped for his wife, children and grandchildren to be around him, and that he would pass at home.

Leighton is survived by his wife of 66 years, Martha J. McCutchen LCSW; daughter Sharon McCutchen DVM; son Brooks McCutchen PhD, husband of Janis Steele PhD, their sons Connor, Rowan and Gavin Steele McCutchen; daughter Deborah McCutchen MFA, her spouse Timothy Paulson BFA, their daughters Lilith and Pippin Paulson. All participated in Leighton’s green burial. 

He is deeply missed.


“While reflecting on our lives, Leighton remembered the trauma of his father’s death at a young age, though he acknowledged that he replicated many things his father gave him. From age 4, Leighton was expected to put his shoes in those of his talented father. Leighton Senior had a keen sense of humor, was sympathetic, engaging with people, and had high ideals. He was the 3rd generation of ministers to graduate from Davidson, where he started a literary society and a varsity debate team. He was a North Carolina tennis champion, a minister and teacher. Leighton Jr was also in a debate team when he met me. He played tennis, and focused on mind and body as a healthy way to live. He taught in every part of his life, even in his sermons while at Chicago University. He had so many talents with language, poetry and music. He was part of Barber Shop Quartet at Davidson, and later, at a formal faculty dinner at The Hartford Seminary Foundation, he was famous for singing a Beatles’ song with Martha, “Why Don’t We Do It In The Road.” Leighton was a master of diverse talents.”                                                                                                                                                                                  – Martha McCutchen


  To Martha

One day stretched back, one after the other.

Tomorrow stretches forward, one day after the other.

In all, quite a stretch:

             In how complex our dynamic has become;

             In how life giving we have been to each other;

             In how we bounce back from trouble to satisfaction;

             In how unknowing we were at the beginning

             Except we wanted to be, and stay, together for life.

I am amazed at us, and deeply satisfied, in spite, and because, of all.

And altogether ignorant about how one of us will survive the other.

Love, Leighton

Fred Huntley Allen ’55

A kind gracious gentle soul has left us. Fred Huntley Allen, Jr. passed away on Thursday, February 3, 2022. He was born on October 29, 1934 in Wadesboro, NC to the late Fred Huntley Allen and Margaret Hardin Allen.

Fred was a graduate of Davidson College (1955) and Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons in New York City. After internships and residencies at the University of Virginia and Vanderbilt University he graduated from the Neurological Institute of Columbia. While in New York he met Gretchen VanAusdal, his luv. They married in 1964, moving to Charlotte the end of that year to begin his neurology practice.

He served in the United States Army (1968-70) finishing as Chief of Outpatient Neurology at Walter Reed Army Hospital. Upon returning home he founded Carolina Neurological Clinic bringing Army colleagues to Charlotte. Fred was active on the clinical boards of the American Academy of Neurology and was a founding member of the Southern Clinical Neurological Society.

Throughout his practice he had a passion for those with Alzheimer’s disease and their caregivers. Fred served on the board of the Alzheimer’s Association receiving the Louise Martin award for service. He conducted one of the original drug trials for Aricept and contributed to research at Duke University that identified the APOE gene as a risk for early onset Alzheimer’s.

Fred was a Deacon at Myers Park Baptist Church, served on boards of the Association for the Blind and Shepherd’s Center and worked tirelessly for MedAssist funding in its early days. Supporting his children’s activities was his joy. He was an assistant scoutmaster at Christ Church having been an Eagle Scout himself. Fred never missed his children’s games or performances at Country Day and was a Boosters Club co-chair.

Fred and Gretchen moved to Southminster Retirement Community in 2014 and his positivity was seen by all he met. As dementia took his cognition his granddaughter, Adele became his biggest buddy.

In addition to his wife Fred is survived by his three children, Fred “Hunt” Huntley Allen III and his wife, Emily, William “Will” VanAusdal Allen and his wife, Becky and Margaret “Lucy” Lucille Allen Chapman and her husband, Andrew; grandchildren Cody Elizabeth Allen, Alexandra Grace Allen, Louis Huntley Allen, and Adele Grace Chapman. Also surviving are his sister, Nancy “Missy” Elizabeth Brown and her husband, Henry and numerous very special nieces, nephews, grand-nieces and nephews. Fred was predeceased by his brother, James Hardin Allen and sister-in-law, Ruth Allen.

The family is eternally grateful for the compassionate care of Dr. Charles Edwards and his staff and for all the staff at Southminster.

A memorial service for Fred will be held at 11:00 AM on Saturday, February 12, 2022 at Myers Park Baptist Church. The family will receive friends following the service at the church.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be offered in memory of Fred to Memory and Movement Center Charlotte, 300 Billingsley Road, Ste. 108, Charlotte, NC 28211 or Southminster Community Fund, 8919 Park Road, Charlotte, NC 28210 or a charity of one’s choice.
Arrangements are in the care of Kenneth W. Poe Funeral & Cremation Service, 1321 Berkeley Ave., Charlotte, NC 28204; (704) 641-7606. Online condolences may be shared at

Raymond Skidmore, Jr. ’55

Raymond Skidmore, Jr. 88, of Norwood passed away Tuesday morning, October 26, 2021 at Atrium Stanly in Albemarle, NC.
Funeral services will be held at 10 a.m., Saturday, October 30, 2021 at First United Methodist Church in Norwood. Rev. Dr. Mark L. Barden will officiate and interment will follow in Norview Gardens. The family received friends from 6 to 8 p.m., Friday, October 29, 2021 at Edwards Funeral Home.
Raymond was born March 18, 1933 in Stanly County to the late Raymond Skidmore, Sr. and Margaret Payne Skidmore.
As a young boy he was a member of the Boy Scouts, having earned the honor of Eagle Scout.
He was a 1951 graduate of Norwood High School and attended Davidson College, where he played tennis. Raymond was a 1955 graduate of High Point College, where he played tennis and basketball and was a member of Tau Kappa Epsilon fraternity.
He spent most of his career as a distribution manager with Young Manufacturing and later retired from Stanly Fixtures. He was a lifetime member of First United Methodist Church in Norwood, where he was active in all phases of the church until his death.
He was actively involved with the Town of Norwood, town commissioner for 35 years and elected as Mayor from 1983-1985. He served on the ABC board for 17 years, having also served as chairman. He was a founding member of the Norwood Jaycees and a member of the Norwood Lions Club.
The Skidmore Building in Darrell Almond park was dedicated on October 17, 2004.
Raymond was a proud supporter of South Stanly High School football and announced football games for 27 years.
He is survived by his daughters, Jenny Skidmore Curlee (Vondell) of Albemarle and Ellen Skidmore Wood (Bob) of Charlotte; grandchildren, Anna Eudy (Sam), Ross Curlee, Rob Wood, Katie McElravey (Jack) and Claire Wood; great-grandson, Rhett Eudy; his companion of 45 years, Joy Maner Lee of Norwood, her son and his family, Walt, Hillary, Gabby and Lilly Lee of Key West, FL; brother, Tommy Skidmore (Diane) of Norwood and Peggy Weathersbee (Steve) of Monroe.
Memorials may be made to: First United Methodist Church, P. O. Box 948, Norwood, NC 28128.

Vereen M. Bell ’55

Obituary prepared by Vanderbilt University:

Vereen M. Bell, a professor of English, emeritus, at Vanderbilt University who had a transformational influence on countless students, challenged institutional structures and pushed for greater diversity, died Aug. 24 at home in Nashville. He was 86 years old.

“Professor Bell’s classes all but defined the educational experience for generations of Vanderbilt students,” said John Geer, the Ginny and Conner Searcy Dean of the College of Arts and Science. “He demanded rigor, provoked new ways of thinking and—most memorably—championed students’ intellectual growth with an inimitable style and a wry humor.”

Bell was born on Oct. 31, 1934, in Cairo, Georgia, and grew up in the nearby cities of Thomasville and Quitman. He graduated with a bachelor of science from Davidson College in 1955 before enrolling at Duke University, where he earned his doctorate in 1959. He taught at Louisiana State University for two years before joining the Vanderbilt Department of English as an assistant professor in 1961. His areas of expertise included American and British literature and modern American poetry.

“A scholar of early Modernist literature, he had the soul of an artist and the mind of a writer: associative, curious, deeply empathic, in love with language and unafraid of intense emotion,” said Kate Daniels, Edwin Mims Professor of Literature. “His lifelong Georgia drawl, his love of humor, his storytelling genius, his impressive height, his hospitality at work and at home, his dog-whispering abilities, his intense interest in absolutely everyone he met—even his creative and hilarious use of profanity—drew people to him. He had more friends than anyone I ever knew, all besotted with affection. It was my joy to be one of them.”

Bell was promoted to associate professor in 1965 and received the Chancellor’s Cup the next year for making the greatest contribution outside the classroom to student-faculty relationships. Other university teaching awards during his career included the Madison Sarratt Prize for excellence in undergraduate teaching and the Outstanding Graduate Teaching Award.

“Vereen cared deeply about the quality of the student’s course experience. He was supportive of his students as well as the department’s junior faculty,” said Roy Gottfried, professor of English, emeritus. “In class, Vereen would hold long, free-wheeling discussions with students to talk through his and their ideas of the meaning of literature, including the complex works of writers like William Faulkner and William Butler Yeats.”

In 1987, Bell was awarded a prestigious Guggenheim Fellowship to further his biographical research on Yeats in Ireland and England. His books included Robert Lowell: Nihilist as Hero (1983), The Achievement of Cormac McCarthy (1988), and Yeats and the Logic of Formalism (2006), and, with his Vanderbilt colleague Laurence Lerner, he co-edited On Modern Poetry: Essays Presented to Donald Davie (1988).

“He was known for being sharp and direct in his conversation, and he would always root for the underdog,” Gottfried said. “I would describe him as an iconoclast from top to bottom. He was very eager to challenge a variety of thoughts and structures when he was a faculty member and department chair.”

Bell was an outspoken advocate for increasing diversity on campus, including hiring more underrepresented minorities and women in faculty positions. He served on the Committee on Afro-American Affairs and spoke out during the late 1980s on the need for a reinvigorated Black studies program at Vanderbilt with the hiring of Black scholars to lead it.

Humorist Roy Blount Jr., was a junior when Bell was hired at Vanderbilt, and they had been friends ever since.

“He tended to be gruff, I guess is the word, and even sardonic,” Blount said. “I’m not going to say he was cloaking his essential sweetness, because he would snort at such a cliche.”

Blount recounted that he spent “many a rollicksome, word-loving night” at Bell’s Nashville home—a tradition stretching back to the 1960s when he welcomed Black students like Perry Wallace and Walter Murray.

Bell is survived by his five children: Mary Vereen Bell, Leighton Alexander Bell, Eleanor Bell Hall, Julie Marx and Jonathan Marx.

An event for Bell’s friends and colleagues to celebrate his life will be announced later. The family requests that any memorial contributions be designated for the Legal Aid Society of Middle Tennessee and the Cumberlands and/or the Tennessee Justice Center.