Francis Michael Fennegan ’57

Dr. Francis Michael Fennegan, 88, passed away peacefully in his sleep on February 21, 2024. Dr. Fennegan was born on March 18, 1935, in Fairmont, North Carolina, to Samuel Edgar Fennegan and Ethel Reaves. He dedicated his life to family and to serving his community.

Dr. Fennegan graduated from Davidson College in 1957, lettering in football and basketball. He then attended the University of North Carolina Medical School, where he met and married Nancy Elizabeth Davis in 1961. Dr. Fennegan completed his general surgery residency at the University of Arkansas Medical School and then went on to a fellowship and residency at the preeminent Neurosurgery Program at Barnes Hospital in St. Louis, Missouri.

In 1968, Dr. Fennegan set up the first neurosurgery practice in Harlingen, Texas, where he developed the Neurosurgical Operating Unit at Valley Baptist Medical Center. Along with his medical partner, Dr. Guy Bragg, Dr. Fennegan introduced the first computed tomography (CT) scan to the Rio Grande Valley, which significantly improved the quality of care for valley residents.

Dr. Fennegan was content with the simple things in life and didn’t feel a need for material possessions. He was known to drive old used cars that weren’t in the best of shape. During his time as Chief of Surgery at Valley Baptist Hospital, he drove a rusty old Cadillac, prompting a colleague at the hospital to scold him for degrading the Chief of Surgery parking spot with a car sporting holes in its hood and rusted-out quarter panels.

A lifelong sports enthusiast, Dr. Fennegan enjoyed nothing more than watching sports. He was a long-time ticket holder to Harlingen Cardinal High School Football and rarely missed a game. He also loved watching his children and his grandchildren participate in multiple sporting activities and relished every opportunity to watch them play.

He was a long-time member of the Harlingen First United Methodist Church, taught adult Sunday School at times, and was a patron of the Methodist Children’s Home in Waco, Texas.

Dr. Fennegan was preceded in death by his wife Nancy. He is survived by his children, Mike (Michelle) Fennegan, Sydney (Peter) Conces, and Garth (Amy) Fennegan, along with nine grandchildren and three great-grandchildren. Dr. Fennegan, known as Grandad to his loved ones, will be remembered for his life of integrity and complete devotion to his family.

The family will hold a private celebration of life. Instead of flowers, please send donations to The Methodist Children’s Home in Waco https://www.mch.org/ways-to-give/.

Carl Lloyd Cooper ’57

Mr. Carl Lloyd Cooper, age 88, of Bethesda, Maryland passed away on Thursday, January 25, 2024.

Carl Lloyd Cooper, 88, died suddenly on January 25, 2024, in Washington, DC. He is survived by his wife of 33 years, Nancy Kooistra Cooper, of Bethesda, Maryland; his daughter, Alison Cooper, of Bethesda; his son, John Cooper (Phyllis McCune), of Tulsa, Oklahoma; his daughter, Jean Cooper (Tom Litke), of College Park, Maryland; his stepdaughter, Erin Allen (Jeremy), of Columbia, Missouri; eight grandchildren, one great grandchild, and three step-grandchildren; his sister, Doris Cooper McCoy, of Durham, North Carolina; and many nieces, nephews, and cousins.

Born in 1935 in Durham, North Carolina to Albert Derwin and Mary Norris Cooper, Carl was a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Davidson College (1957), and earned his Master of Divinity from Union Theological Seminary in 1960.

He was married for 24 years to Ann Clarkson, with whom he had Alison, John, and Jean.

He served as assistant minister of First Presbyterian Church in Utica, New York, from 1960 to 1963; pastor of Immanuel Presbyterian Church in McLean, Virginia, from 1963 to 1973; senior pastor of Westminster Presbyterian Church in Albany, New York, from 1973 to 1982; and senior pastor of Central Presbyterian Church in Des Moines, Iowa, from 1982 to 1993. He was moderator of the Des Moines Presbytery for a year, and of the National Capital Presbytery in 1970. He was a Freedom Summer civil rights volunteer in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, in 1964. In retirement, he and Nancy spent 21 years in London, thoroughly enjoying the history and rich cultural offerings of that city, attending hundreds of West End plays and numerous Wimbledon tennis matches before settling in Bethesda, Maryland in 2014.

In his leadership roles, Carl was admired for his diplomacy; kind and thoughtful presence; warm humor; quiet confidence; respect for and interest in others’ opinions; good counsel; and his ability to calmly defuse conflict. Carl was a lover of literature, sports, travel and the arts. He read several books at a time, ranging from economic textbooks to the novels of Anthony Trollope and John Grisham. He was an avid tennis player his entire life, playing doubles as recently as two days before his death. He closely followed the St. Louis Cardinals (listening to games on the radio as a boy) and more recently the Washington Nationals. He was a lifelong fan of the Duke Blue Devils men’s basketball team. Carl and Nancy traveled in Europe extensively and had a special fondness for Australia and the Australian Open tennis tournament, which they attended over many years. His final moments involved great music – while attending a rehearsal of the National Symphony Orchestra at the Kennedy Center.

Mohonk Mountain House, in New Paltz, New York, was one of his favorite places in the world. In addition to appreciating its stunning beauty, he loved and believed in its stated mission “to provide opportunities for recreation and renewal of body, mind, and spirit in a beautiful natural setting.” He was grateful to be able to serve Mohonk as a Director of Smiley Brothers, Inc. from 1979 through 2016, and as a Trustee of Smiley Brothers Trust from 1995 until his death.

Carl’s organizational skills were impressive, tracking books read, plays attended, and travels experienced with meticulous detail for easy reference. His office library was catalogued, and his family could always count on him to retrieve information that the rest of us had forgotten or lost.

Carl loved new technology and enjoyed creating innovative ways to solve problems. As an example, like many parents, when his children were young, he would read books to them before bedtime but he went a few steps further to maximize the effort: First, he climbed into the attic and pulled speaker wires from one end of their house to the other, and down into the closets of each child’s room. Next, he set up a reel-to-reel tape recorder in the hall closet. And finally, he recorded the book-reading sessions with the kids, creating a system that would enable his children to fall asleep listening to the sound of his voice reading books to them on the nights when he couldn’t read to them in person.

Along with his love of technology, he was an early adopter of the personal computer, quickly becoming an expert in all things Apple.

He was an optimist with a keen sense of humor who enjoyed learning, stimulating conversation, and time with family and friends. Loved and adored by many, he was grateful for his health and love-filled life. Laughter was the hallmark of every gathering with Carl, and these joyful memories will be treasured by all who knew him.

The family will share details about a service to celebrate Carl’s life when they are solidified, and requests that in lieu of flowers, contributions be considered in Carl’s honor to the Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center, the Mohonk Preserve, or Union Theological Seminary.

Buddy Wayne “Dyke” Little ’57

Buddy Wayne “Dyke” Little passed away from a brief illness on January 6, 2024. He was surrounded by loved ones who will treasure his legacy of love and kindness. Dyke was born on January 27, 1935 in Brookford, North Carolina – a small mill town outside of Hickory. He felt privileged to have grown up in a such a special, close-knit community where cousins and friends were always eager to join him in a game of baseball, basketball, or football.

At Hickory High School, he went on to letter in those three sports and earn scholarships to play on Davidson College’s football and baseball teams. He was a star quarterback for Davidson and was asked by the Baltimore Colts and the Pittsburgh Steelers to enter the NFL draft. He declined because he was of smaller stature and “would have been snapped like a twig” in the pro league.

Instead, he married Jacqueline Leigh Little of Patterson, New Jersey. He said he “fell to his knees” the moment he met her at the peanut shop where she worked. They married after he lost his driver’s license racing to visit her at her nursing school. They were blessed with five children.

Dyke was the consummate father; creating a safe, loving space for them throughout his life. He played with his children every day after work to give Jackie a much needed break. He was often seen playing tag with them on the field across the street from their far-too-small house or swimming with them at The Center’s pool or showing them the zen of walking nine holes of golf.

He was an excellent golfer – shooting his age at 77. When his right hip eventually called a halt to his physical time on the course, the Golf Channel gained an avid viewer and armchair commentator. He was always happiest outside and worked to beautify the grounds of his condo association; his former employer, First Security Company; and the Kenworth Historical District which awarded him a plaque in appreciation for his dedication to the community.

He also was active in his other home, Viewmont Baptist Church and was a deacon for many years. If the church doors were open, he was usually in attendance. After a particularly heavy snowfall, he trudged through the knee-deep snow to arrive on time for Sunday School. That day, though, the church doors didn’t open.

For 38 years, Dyke taught Sunday School at Bryan Center Nursing Home. Having gradually lost his hearing, he volunteered as a football advisor to the North Carolina School for the Deaf and taught sign language classes at Bryan Center and at the Brookford Community Center.

Most of all, Dyke will be remembered for his kindness and compassion. He was a humble man, preferring to do his good works quietly. His faith led him to action; advocating for civil rights and helping those who stumbled on life’s path to get back on their feet. He was friend to the friendless and showed grace to those in need. His quick humor and brilliant smile will be sorely missed by his friends and family.

He leaves behind his loving wife of 67 years, Jacqueline Little; daughters Kelley Walker (Kyle) and Amy Gary (Guy Rosenstiel); sons David Little (Sally) and Jon Jernigan (Adam). Brothers by marriage: Richard Tisdale (Loree) and Oliver Tisdale (Maureen). Grandchildren: Heather Isenhour (Marty), Corey Lingerfelt, Jon Lingerfelt, Leigh Lingerfelt (Louis Zollo), Emily Gary (Nathan Bell), Keri Walker (Tyler Younce), Britt Gary (Varsha Tulpule), David Gary (Izabell Slade), Ian Little (Kylie), and Cassie Little. Great-grandchildren: Taylor Killian (Chase Eckhoff), Oskar Isenhour, Karsyn Walker, Parker Lingerfelt, and Alden Bell, and great-great granddaughter Aubrey Killian.

His earthly family is certain he is now enjoying a beautiful reunion in heaven with his beloved mother Maggie Little, his dear son Richard, brother Jerry and his in-laws Bernice Hopper, Nap Gary, and Noel Tisdale. Numerous dogs were no doubt eager to greet him, although Dasher probably nudged everyone else out of the way to be the first to welcome Dyke home.

Receiving will begin at 1 p.m. at Viewmont Baptist Church in Hickory on Saturday, January 13, 2024. A celebration of life service will follow at 2 p.m. In lieu of flowers, donations to St. Jude’s Hospital and Viewmont Baptist Church are suggested.

Frederic H. Brandt ’57

The ultimate measure of a man’s life is the lives he touched and the good he did in the world.

Frederic Holt Brandt, age 88, passed away peacefully at home on December 10, 2023.

Fred Brandt touched many people in every aspect of his life. Through his kindness and generosity of spirit, he gained the love and respect of everyone he encountered.

Fred was a lifelong resident of Johnson City, born on May 22, 1935, to the late George Franklin Brandt and Rosalie Jennings Brandt. He graduated from Science Hill High School in 1953, attended Davidson College for two years and then received a BS from the University of Tennessee in 1957. Fred was in the U.S. Army from 1957-58 and in the Army Reserves from 1958-1966 where he attained the rank of Captain. In 1959 he graduated from the University of Tennessee Law School and began private practice. Fred worked until a few months ago, continuing as he always had, providing legal advice, words of wisdom, and kindness to his clients.

Fred not only had a long and well-respected career in Law, but also served the Johnson City community through his active participation in various organizations. He served as a Director of the Johnson City Boys Club, the Tennessee Mental Health Association, the Tri-City Head Injury Association and the Watauga Area Mental Health Center. Fred was also a member of the Salvation Army Board, the Crumley House Foundation Board and the Vestry at St. John’s Episcopal Church. Fred and his late wife, Zebbie, were active members of Poplar Ridge Christian Church. Fred and Zebbie committed significant time and energy on mission trips to remote areas of Central America.

In addition to his parents, Fred was preceded in death by his wife, Zebbie Tipton Brandt, and by his siblings, Felicia Brandt Lawrence and George Brandt, Jr. He is survived by his three children, Stacey Brandt Nadeau (Rick), Rosemarie Brandt and Stephen Brandt (Deana), along with his stepchildren Joshua Campbell and Justin Campbell. In addition are his loving (and much loved) grandchildren, Jason (Emily), Brandt and Megan Nadeau; Johnathon Brandt; Layla, Leighanna and McKinnley Campbell; Austin Minnick and Channing Blaylock and his great-grandchildren, Ross, Charlotte, James and Addie Nadeau and Cortana Blaylock

A celebration of life for Frederic H. Brandt will be held at a later date in the early spring. If you would like to be notified when the celebration is scheduled, please call Morris-Baker at (423) 282-1521 or email your request to info@morrisbaker.com.

In lieu of flowers or donations, the family requests that each person touched by Fred’s loving spirit, honor his memory by performing three random acts of kindness. We can think of no better way to honor this remarkable man than by encouraging others to live life the way Fred Brandt lived, treating everyone with kindness and respect.

Russell Newton Barringer, Jr. ’57

Russell Newton Barringer, Jr., November 10, 2023. He was born in Durham, North Carolina on March 16, 1935, to the late Russell N. Barringer, Sr., and Maelee McKenzie Page Barringer.

He attended the Calvert Method School (now Durham Academy), Carr Junior High School, and Durham High School. Upon graduation he attended Davidson College for two years before transferring to Duke University to be closer to his fiancé, Mary Teer.

He was married on November 18, 1955 to his beloved Mary Teer, who pre-deceased him on November 21, 2021. He began his career at West Durham Lumber Company in 1955, a company founded by his father. In 1967, he was named President and CEO of Dealers Supply Company, a division of West Durham Lumber Company. Under his extraordinary leadership, Dealers Supply grew into one of the top thirty floorcovering distribution companies in the United States and was among the top fifty privately held companies in North Carolina many years running.

From early childhood Russell was passionate about aviation. For almost fifty years he was an accomplished pilot and aircraft owner. His devotion to private aviation led to his appointment to the North Carolina Department of Transportation Aeronautics Commission, a position he proudly held through both Republican and Democratic administrations. His love for aircraft and his business success allowed him to become the first person to charter the Concorde for a trip to Paris for some of his beloved customers. He served as a mentor to many aspiring young pilots throughout his lifetime even after he reluctantly gave up his license at age eighty.

His devotion to Durham was manifest in countless ways, both openly and more often, quietly. He served as the Chairman of the Citizens Safety Patrol and oversaw the annual trip to Washington DC for over a thousand young Safety Patrol boys involved in that program.

As a long time member of the Durham Planning and Zoning Commission, he was very much a part of creating the Durham we have today. He gladly gave of his time and financial support to dozens of civic groups and institutions. A charter member of the Iron Dukes, the University he loved so, was supported by him on both the academic and athletic side. He took great pride in providing, along with his sisters, the Fuqua School of Business a building named after their father.

A stalwart Duke fan, he suffered through many difficult times in both the football and basketball programs but never wavered in his belief in their greatness, however long it took.

His love for the game of golf throughout his lifetime brought him immeasurable joy. From boyhood when his mother would pack him a sandwich and send him off to play nine holes at the age of six until hanging up his clubs at eighty- three, he was a disciple of the game. He traveled the world in pursuit of playing the legendary courses and could conservatively claim to have played almost seventy- five of the top hundred in the world at one point.

Russell never grasped the fourteen- club rule as a directive to the number of golf clubs in your bag rather than the number of golf clubs one should hold membership. He was a member of Hope Valley Country Club for sixty-eight years. He loved his homes in Myrtle Beach the first of which was secured in 1974. He joined the Dunes Club that year and remained a member until his death. Over the years he was a founding member of the following: Treyburn (Durham, NC), Old Chatham, Wachesaw Plantation, The Reserve, Governor’s Club, and the Robert Trent Jones Club. It is possible there were more that he kept secret! He loved nothing better than driving out to RDU on a late Thursday with a couple of friends, loading them and their golf bags into his airplane and flying off to one of his courses.

One his most extraordinary golf endeavors was his fifty-six year leading the CRUDS. A golf buddy tradition that is unparalleled in golf history. Beginning in 1967, Russell organized, directed a rarely changing cast of characters for over a hundred golf trips to Myrtle Beach (with one ten-day stint to Scotland). The achievement was worthy of a featured story on Golf Channel upon the hundredth trip.

His reverence for the United States and the armed forces was a core passion of his. As an student in the history of World War II, Russell was often asked to give lectures about various aspects of that conflict. He served in the United States Army Reserves receiving an honorable discharge after his service. There are not adequate words to describe the pride he held when his grandson, and namesake, Russell N. Barringer IV, joined the United States Air Force and was assigned pilot duty flying F-35 fighter jets.

As a prominent businessman, he served as Chairman/CEO of many different entities over his career. He created thousands of jobs throughout NC, SC, TN, VA, OH, PA. He mentored and financially invested in dozens of people he believed in. As a real estate developer he created many neighborhoods around Durham.

A lifelong Republican, he was deeply active in politics both locally and nationally. He ran unsuccessfully for Durham County Commissioner. Over the many decades he opened his house up to countless candidates much to his wife’s chagrin.

He accumulated a massive wardrobe of clothes and never failed to be best dressed in any room. He did not purchase a pair of jeans (dungarees in his vernacular) until he was in his early 60’s and that was to wear to a country-western themed event. That pair of jeans was sent to Goodwill after one wearing, enlarging the 100’s of dress shirts, pants and sport coats that he donated over the years. The number of males walking around with RNB embroidered on the clothing he culled over the years is impressive.

Finally, his family was the most important thing in his life. Not just his immediate family but his sisters and brother, his nieces and nephews well-being were driving responsibilities he carried out with love and equity.

As the father of three sons, he was a stern disciplinarian for minor transgressions and a loving forgiver and ever-present source of support when one of them committed a major transgression. He provided every opportunity that any child could have wished for. He stepped aside from many of his corporate leadership positions in favor of his sons when he felt the time for them to move the entities forward. He somehow crafted corporate structures that allowed each son to rise to those responsibilities with limited overlap between them. Once he handed over the reins he rarely second-guessed and never overruled allowing each to make mistakes but to also let them shine at an earlier age than they probably deserved.

He took joy in family traditional family gatherings hosting with his wife spectacular Thanksgiving dinners and over-the-top Christmas celebrations despite unanimous giggling from all in attendance when he inevitably failed to get through the Blessing without choking up.

He was a singularly giant personality who lived an incredibly blessed life. At the same time, his unwavering respect and the graciousness he extended to people from all walks of life made all he came into contact with feel better. He will be desperately missed by all.

He is survived by his sons, Russell N. Barringer, III, (Amanda Tuck Barringer) Edward Teer Barringer, (Laura Collins Barringer) and Stephen W. Barringer (Kelly Elizabeth Wood). He also is survived by his grandchildren, Russell N. Barringer IV, McKenzie Tuck Barringer, Anderson T. Barringer, Mary Bowen Barringer, Fitz Edward Barringer, Neils Teer Barringer, Pickens Collins Barringer, Grace Barringer Moroney, Veronica Page Barringer and great-grandchildren, Adlai W. Barringer, Wynfryd Barringer, and Mary Margaret Moroney.

His family will be forever grateful to angel caregivers who have been a part of our family through both our parents in their final years. Donna Garner, Lorene Mitchiner, Bonnie Hardison, Tiffany Cindric, Sharon Toney, and Connie Wooten. We are also thankful for the ever-present help in these last few years for the help keeping the family home safe and comfortable through the diligent efforts of John Williams.

A Visitation was held at 2825 Chelsea Circle on Tuesday from 6:00 PM until 8:00 pm. A Memorial Service will be held at Westminster Presbyterian Church on Saturday, November 18, 2023 at 2:00 PM. A reception at the home will follow immediately after the service.

A private interment will be held.