Daniel Senn “Dan” LaFar ’57

Daniel Senn LaFar, Jr. “Dan” died on Thursday, March 3, 2022. Dan was born June 19, 1935 in Rock Hill, S.C. to the late Daniel Senn LaFar and Francis Marshall LaFar. Most people describe Dan as “always a gentleman”.

Dan’s childhood and early years were spent in Rock Hill and in the Camp Hill area of Pennsylvania during World War II. The family moved to Gastonia, N.C. in 1945 and Dan spent his years delivering the local daily newspaper and in scouting where he became an Eagle Scout and served as a counselor at Piedmont Boy Scout Camp for three summers. He graduated from Gastonia High School where he served as president of the Senior Class. Dan then attended Davidson College where he was a member of Kappa Sigma Fraternity, elected to Phi Beta Kappa scholastic fraternity, served as President of The Student Body, and became a Distinguished Military Graduate in 1957. Dan then served in the U.S. Army as a Lieutenant and as a General’s Aide. After his military service, Dan entered Harvard Business School where he received his MBA degree.

Dan’s business career centered around the textile industry with a group of six yarn spinning mills each independently owned but operated by the LaFar family (under the name LaFar Industries) He worked closely in the business with his father Dan S. LaFar Sr., his uncle David R. LaFar Jr. (Doc), his 1st cousin David R. LaFar III, and later with his son Daniel S. LaFar III. Dan was active in the industry and became President of The American Yarn Spinners Association, the trade organization for the industry. He retired from the textile business in 2004.

Dan was born into the Presbyterian Church and served it in many areas and ways throughout his life. His deep, enduring Faith was always his driving force. As an active member at First Presbyterian Church in Gastonia, Dan served both as a Deacon and an Elder, and held numerous positions and involvements with many committees. He was recently active in the Hinderlite Bible Class. He was dedicated to the Wee Kirk Presbyterian Church in Linville during his summers. He also served as a member of The Board of Trustees of Union Theological Seminary in Richmond, Virginia.

Dan was an avid golfer and many of his friendships and adventures revolved around golf. He began playing with his father at a young age and later played on the Davidson College Golf Team. After marrying Joyce in 1962, they played as couples most Sunday afternoons. He played regularly at Gaston Country Club and enjoyed many summer rounds at Linville Golf Club. Over the years, he especially enjoyed taking friends to play Pine Valley Golf Club in New Jersey, where he was also a member. Golf was something that he also enjoyed with his son Daniel. In addition to golf in Gastonia and Linville, they made many trips to Arizona for golf instruction and fun, as well as experienced many memorable rounds in Scotland and Ireland. Golf to Dan was more about fellowship than it was about the game. He made many friends throughout his life on the golf course. Additionally, some of Dan’s most fond recent memories were playing golf in Linville with his granddaughter Emily and planning another golf adventure to Scotland, this time with both Daniel and his grandson Taylor.

Besides golf, Dan was also an accomplished bridge player. He competed in bridge tournaments regularly both with Joyce and with others. He achieved his “Life Master” bridge certification in 2014.

Dan is survived by his beloved wife of 60 years, Joyce Taylor LaFar, his son Daniel S. LaFar III (wife Virginia), and his grandchildren Emily and Taylor. Dan is also survived by his brother Marshall (wife Dottie), along with his two nephews Marshall LaFar Jr. and Will LaFar.

A memorial service will be held 2:00 PM on Friday, March 11, 2022 at First Presbyterian Church, 1621 E. Garrison Blvd, in Gastonia, with a reception to follow. Interment will be private.

Memorials may be offered in memory of Dan to First Presbyterian Church of Gastonia, 1621 E. Garrison Blvd., Gastonia, NC 28054 or to Crossnore Communities for Children, 100 D A R Dr, Crossnore, NC 28616.

Condolence messages may be shared at www.McLeanFuneral.com.

McLean Funeral Directors of Gastonia is serving the family of Mr. LaFar.

Posted online on March 07, 2022

Published in Gaston Gazette

Ralph Smyre Robinson ’57

Ralph Smyre Robinson, Jr. was born June 2, 1935, in Charlotte, NC, the son of Charlotte and Ralph Robinson. He died peacefully February 7, 2022, at Covenant Village.

Ralph was educated in the Gaston public school system. He joined the Boy Scouts and successfully achieved the rank of Eagle Scout. He entered Woodberry Forest School in Virginia and upon graduation went to Davidson College for one year and joined Kappa Sigma Fraternity. He transferred to UNC Chapel Hill and graduated with a BS Degree in Business Administration in 1957.

He returned to Gastonia to join his father in the Robinson Mill textile plant. It was later sold to become a personal holding company which he managed for the rest of his life.

A lifelong member of First Presbyterian Church, Ralph distinguished himself in leadership and finance. He was a Deacon and Elder and served on many committees and special projects. He had great interest in the music programs and enjoyed the fellowship in the Henderlite Bible Class. Ralph lived the Christian scripture, “To whom much is given, much is required”. Publicly and privately, Ralph was known for his generosity to his faith and fellow man.

To the community, Ralph gave and sponsored great support. He served as President of the Gaston County YMCA, Gaston United Way, Chamber of Commerce and Gastonia Rotary Club. He was a Director of First Union Bank, Trustee of Saint Andrews Presbyterian College, and Chairman of the Community Foundation. He served on the Board of Visitors for Davidson College and Chairman at UNC Charlotte. In 2010, he was given the Sims Award for his leadership over many years.

Perhaps most rewarding was the recognition by the NC State Library System that honored Ralph as “NC Library Trustee of the Year”. This represented his insistence on education and reading. The Gaston County Library (Main Branch) Board of Directors room was named in his honor.

Beyond his civic devotions, Ralph was a worldwide traveler, accomplished photographer, scuba diver, water skier and long-distance swimmer. He was a true gentleman, and his life was one of generosity and humble gratitude. He was a devoted husband and father beloved by his family.

Ralph is survived by his wife Sally to whom he was married for 68 years, son Russell and wife Karen, daughter Leigh and husband Jack, son Greg and special friend Cynthia Ponce. Ralph was blessed with six grandchildren, Christopher and Connor Robinson, Cameron and Drew Finley, Georgia and Henry Robinson, and three great-grandchildren, Rory, Bane and Capri Robinson, and a sister, Ann Robinson Black. He was preceded in death by a brother Eldridge Conant Robinson who died in service to his country.

A memorial service will be held Saturday, May 7th at 11:00 AM in the sanctuary of First Presbyterian Church Gastonia with a gathering to celebrate his life following at the Gaston Country Club.

Memorials may be made to First Presbyterian Church, 1621 E. Garrison Blvd., Gastonia, NC 28054, Gaston Community Foundation, 1201 E. Garrison Blvd., Gastonia, NC 28054, or Covenant Village, 1351 Robinwood Road, Gastonia, NC 28054

McLean Funeral Directors of Gastonia is serving the Robinson family where an online guest book is available at www.mcleanfuneral.com

Published by Charlotte Observer on May 4, 2022.

William David “Dave” Hood ’57

William David Hood, Sr., of Darlington died on Wednesday, November 24, 2021.

Funeral services will be held on Friday, November 26, 2021 at 1:00 PM at Kistler-Hardee Funeral Home Chapel. Burial will follow in Grove Hill Cemetery. The family will receive friends from 12:00 PM to 1:00 PM on Friday, November 26, 2021 at the funeral home, and other times at the home. 

William, better known as Dave was born on December 28, 1934 in Richmond, Virginia. He was the son of the late, Jesse Anderson Hood and Eufala Marable Hood. Dave graduated from Thomas Jefferson High School in Richmond, Virginia. He received a double major in psychology and business from Davidson College in Davidson, NC.

Dave worked with US Plywood where he was the regional sales manager and after moving to Darlington he was employed with Diamond Hill Plywood where he was Vice President of Sales. He remained busy after retirement where he and his wife of 60 years, Nila enjoyed traveling, visiting family and spending time outdoors.

Dave accomplished a lot in his life time and was very instrumental in Cub Scouts, having served as Cub Master in Atlanta, Georgia and later on started Cub Scouts Pack #502  in Darlington, SC. He was a member of the Jaycees in Hampton Roads, Virginia and Raleigh, North Carolina. Dave also was a member of the Darlington Presbyterian Church where he served as a Deacon. He served on the Board of Directors for the “Greater Florence Area Habitat for Humanity” and was President, Secretary, and Treasurer for the Brockington Hunting Club. Dave had a special love and will be missed driving his green 1978 Ford Station Wagon around town. 

Surviving are his loving wife, Nila Hood; his children, William David Hood, Jr., Mark Harrison Hood, Sr. and wife, Joyce, Jessica Hood Flowers and husband, Jesse, and Daniel Garland Hood; 11 grandchildren; 1 great granddaughter; and numerous nieces and nephews. 

Dave was preceded in death by 5 sisters and 1 brother. 

Memorials may be made to the Lord Cares, 201 Grove Street, Darlington, South Carolina 29532.

Roger Griswold Williams ’57

Roger Griswold Williams passed away September 11, 2021, at 86 years old. He was born November 28, 1934 in Jacksonville, FL to Alexander Gregory Williams, II and Cornelia Leonard Nevins.

Daddy Rog, as he was so affectionately known, is survived by his beautiful wife of 63 years, Joanna Johnson Williams; his two children, Robert Williams of Oviedo, FL and Margaretta (Margo) Williams of Bradenton, FL; his sister, Nancy Gorman of Monument, CO; his grandchildren, Alex and Mark Williams (children of Robert), Jason and Daniel Halpern and Noah Font (children of Margo); he was also proud great-grandpa to four great-grandchildren.

Roger was loved by all who met him and was often referred to as “the nicest man I have ever had the pleasure of knowing”. He was a member of the Bradenton Yacht Club and active with many organizations in Bradenton including Manatee Historical Society, Reflections of Manatee, Crosswait Fishing Tournament, International Fly Fishers Healing Waters Veterans Outreach, Mangrove Coast Fly Fishers and Braden River High School Booster Club. “Pop Rog” loved to spend Friday Nights watching his youngest grandson, Noah, play football and could always be found helping to serve dinner to the players before the games.

He was so proud of his grandchildren and never missed the opportunity to attend their events from Manatee High School chorus concerts and JROTC events, to military Commissioning Ceremonies, to the many sporting events the boys participated in. He was a member of the First Church of Christ Scientist, Boston Massachusetts. Roger attended Davidson College in Davidson, NC, received his Bachelors from Stetson University in 1958 and his Masters from University of Georgia in 1964.

He was a Life Loyal Sigma Chi and an enthusiastic Georgia Bulldogs Football fan. Daddy Rog’s passing has left a hole in the hearts of those who knew and loved him. This world was a brighter place because of his infectious smile and loving personality. He will be truly missed.

A Celebration of Roger’s life and friendships will be held from 2-5PM on Saturday, October 2, 2021at the Bradenton Yacht Club. All who knew and loved him are invited to stop by and share their favorite stories and memories.

Brown & Sons Funeral Homes & crematory 43rd Street Chapel is in charge of the arrangements. Condolences may be made to www.brownandsonsfuneral.com.

  • Copyright: Copyright (c) 2021 The Bradenton Herald

John Charles Gilmer, Sr. ’57

John Charles Gilmer Sr., a resident of Oakmont at Gordon Park in Bristol, Va., formerly of Kingsport, Tenn., and Banner Elk, N.C., passed away on Monday, July 5, 2021, at Oakmont of Gordon Park in Bristol, Va., of complications from Alzheimer’s disease.

John was born on November 12, 1935, in Bristol, Va., to the late Ella Vernon Porter Gilmer and John Axley Gilmer. Raised in Bristol, Tenn., John graduated in 1953 as Valedictorian from Bristol Tennessee High School, where he served variously as President, Treasurer and Historian of his class, was a member of the Civitan and Beta Clubs and was a delegate to Boys’ State.

During the summer of 1954, John and his friends Ben Frizzell, Jim Blair, Bill Cunningham, and brother, Harry constructed the “Nilla Rizee”, a houseboat on South Holston Lake, in part from an old golf course building. Over the next several summers, they spent many happy days on the lake.

John graduated from Davidson College in 1957 with a BS in Chemistry. While there, he was a Baker Scholar, and a member of the Kappa Alpha Fraternity and of the Phi Beta Kappa, Gamma Sigma Epsilon, Omnicron Delta Kappa honorary societies. He served on the Honorary Fraternity Council and Philanthropic Literary Society; and was also a Lt. Colonel in the ROTC. He received his PHD cum laude in Chemistry from UT Knoxville, where he met his wife, Mitzi, while serving as a chemistry teaching assistant.

While in graduate school, John worked during the summers for Eastman Chemical Company. He joined Eastman as a research chemist focusing on Polymers after serving in the Army Chemical Corp for two years. He went on to serve as Director of Marketing, New Products Division, and in several other positions in marketing and research.

Upon retirement in 1999, he was a Futures Research Fellow.John enjoyed woodworking and puttering around, and starting, but hardly ever completing, projects, much to his wife’s chagrin. John and his wife spent summers in Banner Elk, NC and wintered between Palm Springs and Hilton Head, SC.

He had a very serious demeanor, but enjoyed practical jokes amongst his friends, a few of whom woke up to flocks of plastic flamingoes in their yards, or found a large, classical nude statue in their office before a major meeting.

He was predeceased by his wife, Mitzi Gilmer; his daughter, Emily Gilmer; and his sister, Mary Jane Broome. John is survived by his son, John Gilmer of Palm Springs, Calif. and New York, N.Y.; his brothers, Harry W. Gilmer and David P. Gilmer, and several nieces and nephews. A service of remembrance will be held at a later date.

The family suggests in lieu of flowers donations be made to the Gilmer Family Fund, c/o East Tennessee Foundation, 520 W. Summit Hill Drive, Suite 1101, Knoxville, TN 37902, or to the charity of one’s choice.

The family wishes to thank the staff at Oakmont Memory Care in Bristol, for the wonderful care they gave John in his final years.

Please visit us at http://www.hamlettdobson.com to leave an online condolence for the family. Hamlett-Dobson Funeral Home117 E. Charlemont Ave., Kingsport, TN 37662

  • Copyright: © Copyright 2021, Bristol Herald Courier, Bristol, VA