Robert Griffith Jones ’58

Robert (Bob) Griffith Jones, 87, a former City Council member and Mayor of Virginia Beach, passed away peacefully on June 3, 2023, surrounded by his family. He was born in State College, Pennsylvania, on March 25, 1936, the son of the Reverend Edward H. Jones, D.D. and Dorothy Griffiths Jones. He is survived by his wife of 64 years, Carolyn Hazard Jones, his sons Robert Griffith Jones, Jr., and his wife Phyllis Margaret Rhode Jones, of Virginia Beach, and Chester Hazard Jones of Tampa, Florida; granddaughters, Mary Randell Davatchi and her husband Devin Joel Armon Davatchi of Greenville, South Carolina, Pamela Elliott Jones of Virginia Beach, and his sister, Doreen Jones Owens, of Citrus Heights, California.

Bob graduated from Granby High School in the class of 1954, and from Davidson College, class of 1958, where he was elected to the Omicron Delta Kappa honorary fraternity and named to Who’s Who Among American College and University Students. He went on to graduate from Yale University Divinity School, where he was inspired by the brothers H. Richard Niebuhr and Reinhold Niebuhr, and subsequently earned a Ph.D. degree from Duke University in 1966 in the field of social psychology.

In his career he served as an Assistant Professor of Psychology at Davidson College, in Davidson, North Carolina and Assistant Dean of Students, Associate Professor and Assistant to the President at Lehigh University in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. Later he served as a Professor in the Sociology Department at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville.

In 1974 he graduated from the University of Virginia Law School and subsequently practiced law in Norfolk and Virginia Beach, where he founded the law firm of Jones, Walker & Lake, P.C. He is listed in Who’s Who Publication for Best Lawyers in America.

In addition to being on City Council and the Mayor of Virginia Beach, he also served as chair of the Virginia Beach Development Authority and chair of the Virginia Beach Beautification Commission.

He was an elder in the First Presbyterian Church of Virginia Beach where he led an adult Sunday School class for 22 years.

The family would like to thank all the wonderful and caring staff at Bay Lake Retirement and Assisted Living Community for all their help in taking care of Bob and Carolyn the last 16 months.

A memorial service will be held at the First Presbyterian Church of Virginia Beach, 300 36th Street, on June 26th at 1 PM. A family burial will be at Graham Cemetery in Orange, Virginia. In lieu of flowers, please make a donation to The Alzheimer’s Association.

George W. Urwick Jr. ’58

George W. Urwick Jr., age 87, passed away on Monday, March 6, 2023. He was born June 10, 1935, in High Point to George W. and Elizabeth Reitzel Urwick.

George grew up in Gastonia and Charlotte and graduated from Riverside Military Academy. He also graduated from Davidson College, earned his MBA from UNC Chapel Hill, and served in the U.S. Navy.

He first worked in Atlanta as a sales manager for 3M Company. George was later hired by Monsanto as a project manager for their film manufacturing plant in New Jersey. He and his family returned to NC, where he accepted a job as national sales manager for Rex Plastics in Thomasville. He eventually did what he always wanted to do and started his own sales company, becoming a manufacturing representative for many large U.S. corporations, selling film and products for the nursery and greenhouse industry.

George is survived by his wife of 64 years, JoAnne Kendall Urwick; three children, Christopher (Devica) of Winterville, NC; Amy of High Point, NC; Lee (Jill) of Ocean Isle Beach, NC; as well as five grandchildren: Aubrey (Austin) Lartch, Adam, Kendall (Stephanie), Jackson, Emily; and one great grandchild Miles Lartch.

A funeral service will be held on Thursday, March 9, 2023 at 2:00 PM at Forest Hills Presbyterian Church in High Point. A private burial will be held.

The family will greet friends following the service at the church.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to a charity of one’s choice.

The family is under the care of Sechrest-Davis Funerals and Cremations of Thomasville. Fond memories and expressions of sympathy may be shared at – select obituaries.

John M. Trask Jr. ’58

John M. Trask Jr. died peacefully at his beloved home Orange Grove on St. Helena Island on January 4, 2023. He was surrounded by his family who loved him and will miss him dearly, including his wife of 61 years, Caroline Clark Trask. In addition to Caroline, he leaves behind his four children and ten grandchildren: John M. Trask III and Isabelle Trask Toedtman (Zack), Peter Trask, and Josephine Trask; Caroline Trask Wallace (Gordon Wallace/deceased) and Lizzie Wallace and Anna Wallace; S. Clark Trask (Evy Nabers Trask) and Grace Trask and Sam Trask; and Patrick G. Trask (Cathleen Quinn Trask) and Patrick Trask Jr., Lillian Trask, and William Trask. He was preceded in death by his parents, John M. Trask Sr. and Flora Graham Trask, and his siblings, Fred G. Trask and Charles H. Trask.

Born October 12, 1935 in Wilmington, North Carolina, he was raised in a home on the high bluff of the Beaufort River, in the town and community he loved and where he raised his family. He grew up spending summers at Wrightsville Beach with troops of cousins and friends and attended Episcopal High School (class of 1954), Davidson College (class of 1958) and Harvard Business School (class of 1964). In college, he participated in ROTC and served in the US Army from which he was honorably discharged. 

He married his devoted and loving wife, Caroline Whitehead Clark of Tarboro, North Carolina, in 1961, whereupon they moved to Beaufort and he worked in the family farming business. He credited a hail storm pulverizing one of the finest crops of tomatoes when the market was at a record high with his decision to go to graduate school in Boston. They again returned to Beaufort where his business career spanned managing the WBEU radio station and then purchasing with his brother the Bank of Yemassee charter to form First Carolina Bank, which he ran until joining the Carter Administration from 1977 to 1979 as Associate Administrator for Finance and Investment in the Small Business Administration. Leaving St. Helena Island was not his wife’s desire, but she dutifully took her family to Washington and made the best of it, which turned into a lifelong love of that city where they made numerous friends and often spent time. In both Washington and Beaufort he was active in real estate endeavors. 

Beaufort, and particularly Orange Grove, was always in his heart, though he was a world traveler, journeying with Caroline to the Soviet Union in the early 1970s, taking numerous trips to Europe, particularly the south of France, and further peregrinations to Africa and to India, where they happened upon Mother Theresa in Calcutta who graciously allowed them to pose for a photo. These voyages and sojourns were often accompanied by friends or family and helped to instill a similar love of adventure in his children and grandchildren. He developed friendships across the globe, particularly in England, France, Holland, Germany, Hungary, India and Australia, visiting and hosting what have become multi-generational bonds. For the past 40+ years he spent summers on the Outer Banks at Nags Head and rather late in life took up oil painting, mixing on the canvas, as in life, a bit of impressionism and realism, with pragmatism, entrepreneurism and dollops of anachronism sharing space on his palette. The height of his art career came when a local Nags Head restaurant, displaying several of his paintings, sold one of them for $75. 

Never sparing of opinion, always forthright, he loved history and the general pursuit of knowledge, studying French for decades of his adult life, and perhaps in the great beyond he will alas have time to master the nuances and enunciations of what seemed an elusive quest. That spirit of doggedness, intellectual curiosity and aplomb led to a life of tangential pursuits, from French language to horse carriages to book publishing, at times confounding, always approached with shrewd conviction, all trademark traits forever springing forth new ventures. However, it was the return to Orange Grove that he most cherished, where he scripted a vision in the early 1970s with the late landscape architect Robert Marvin and, with Caroline, devoted himself to creating a special sense of place and home. He planted an avenue of Live Oaks in 1973 with his wife and children and never stopped cultivating, landscaping and experimenting with the land and ponds along Wallace Creek. In the past decade, he planted nearly ten acres of citrus which currently supply many restaurants in Charleston with oranges, grapefruit, satsuma, cumquats, yuzu, lemons and limes. Peacocks, tumbling pigeons, guinea fowl, mallards, Canada geese, swans, pheasants, quail, goats, rabbits, sheep, horses, donkeys, countless dogs and sundry other animals have frolicked the grounds of Orange Grove, and it is here that he will be buried in a private ceremony. 

The family wishes to thank the many caregivers who have devoted heart and hand in caring for him over the past year, and the many friends who have similarly offered their support during his travails with cancer. In lieu of flowers, they would request donations be made in his name to The Beaufort County Open Land Trust (, an organization he helped form with Marguerite Broz and Betty Waskiewicz in 1971 and actively participated in throughout his life. 

The family welcomes friends and family to a reception from 3-5pm on Saturday, January 7 at Orange Grove. 

Charles Alexander Woods ’58

Charles Alexander Woods '58

Charles Alexander Woods, MD, 85, passed away on December 28, 2022 in Concord, NH after a long illness. Born June 1, 1937 in Statesville, North Carolina, he was the only child of the late Winifred and Herbert Woods, of Greensboro, NC. Charlie grew up in Greensboro enjoying outdoor adventures in the mountains and at the coast of North Carolina fishing, swimming and camping. He was an Eagle Scout.

Charlie attended Davidson College, graduating in just three years before attending medical school at Duke University. His residency training started at Duke and continued at Yale New Haven and Bronx Municipal Hospitals.

He also served two years active duty in the U.S. Army Medical Corps at Fort Monroe in Virginia.

A summer job at a resort in western Massachusetts brought with it romance and marriage to his wife Shirley, then a resort guest. They lived happily in Fairfield and Easton, CT for some 50 years. Charlie practiced pediatrics but always found time for community and church as vestry and senior warden at St. Timothy’s Church, with Citizens for Easton, and the Fairfield Beach Club.

Charlie retired to Weston, Vermont where he enjoyed fly fishing and the Weston Theater. He was also on the board of directors of the Mountain Valley Health Center in Londonderry, VT, and was a member of the Wantastiquet Trout Club and the Old Parish Church in Weston.

He was predeceased by his wife Shirley and is survived by his son Christopher and Clare Eckert of Plymouth, NH, son Jonathan and wife Rita and grandsons Alexander and Nathaniel of Bethesda, MD.

George Hudson Gilmer ’58

George Hudson Gilmer, of Boulder, passed away on November 27th. He grew up in Hampden Sydney, VA with his parents, Thomas and Betty Meredith, and four older siblings. His father was a professor of Physics and inspired three of his children to pursue careers in science.

Following four years at Davidson College, NC, George attended the University of Virginia, earning a Ph.D. in Physics. In Charlottesville, VA he met his future wife, Wilhelmina Bos from the Netherlands, a student at the School of Nursing, at a meeting of Intervarsity Christian Fellowship. George and Wilhelmina married in December of 1965 and lived in Lexington, VA where George taught Physics at Washington & Lee University. The family then moved to the Netherlands for a one-year sabbatical at the Technical University of Delft.

In 1972, George started research at Bell Laboratories in Murray Hill, NJ, and loved working there for nearly 30 years. He specialized in the field of crystal growth; modeling how crystals form at the molecular level. George was elected as a Fellow of the American Physical Society in 1987 for contributions to the understanding of atomistic phenomena in materials through computer simulations. Upon the demise of Bell Labs in 2001, George happily continued his research at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California. In the final chapter of his career he collaborated with scientists at the Colorado School of Mines in Golden, CO. Over the span of his career, he published 228 papers which have been cited over 12,500 times by other scientists. George built strong working friendships with physicists from all over the world and was appreciated by his colleagues for more than his scientific contributions. His coworkers remember him as a generous friend and mentor. Some mention that George had significantly influenced their career path with his enthusiasm. Physics, for George, was as much a hobby as a job. George and Wilhelmina hosted dinner parties for work friends and were like family to new and visiting colleagues. George taught several of his overseas postdocs to drive and helped them settle into life in the US. While in California, he initiated a weekly gathering at the local pub for beer and conversation.

George was a man of quiet but steady faith in the Lord. His faith was lived out through his integrity, humility, and generosity. In his later years, he loved living in Boulder, enjoying the beauty of the mountains and wildlife. He will be missed by his wife Wilhelmina, and his children Julie (Mike), Hudson (Catherine), Corina (John), and Hendrik (Heather). He also took great joy in his ten grandchildren, Emily, Catherine, Saskia, Charlotte, George, Jack, Nathan, Jonathan, Graham, and Avery, and two great-grandsons, Henry and Peter. A memorial service will be held in the chapel at Grace Commons Church, 1820 15th St., Boulder, on Friday, December 16th at 2 pm. Reception afterward. The family requests that any donations be made to Grace Commons Church.