Joseph Finley Lee, Jr. ’61

Joseph Finley Lee, Jr. (82), known as Finley, died peacefully in Naples, Florida on February 13, 2022. Predeceased by his parents, Joseph Finley Lee, Sr and Valerie Lee. Finley is survived by his beloved wife of 60 years, Jean, his sons, Finley Lee III (Dana), Matthew Lee, and Stephen Lee (Katie), his grandchildren, Griffin and Amelia Lee, his sister, Linda Falls, and his brother, David Lee (Beth).

Finley was born on October 5, 1939, and raised in Charlotte N.C. He met the girl who would become his wife, Jean Mauldin, in the 5th grade. He graduated from Meyers Park High School, Davidson College (B.A. Economics) and the University of Pennsylvania (PhD, Applied Economics).

After completing his education, Finley served in the military as an army captain, teaching Political Science at the U.S. Naval Academy. He began his academic career teaching Business Administration at Florida State University, followed by 25 years of teaching in the business school at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Over time, he built a successful business as a consulting economist, a career which took him all over the United States and Europe before retiring in 1996 to Naples, Florida.

A long-time Member of Quail Creek Country Club (Naples), he spent many happy hours golfing. In later years, he became a Life Master in bridge, a game which he played competitively until a few weeks before his death.

Donations in his name may be made to Joanne’s House at Hope Hospice (27200 Imperial Parkway, Bonita Springs, 34135), The Salvation Army or the charity of your choice.

Robert C. “Bob” Young ’61

Robert C. "Bob" Young '61

A life-long native of Atlanta, Robert C. “Bob” Young died peacefully in his sleep on Christmas Eve with his family by his side.

Born December 29, 1939 to Henry and Rosa Young, Bob grew up in East Lake and graduated from Murphy High School, Davidson College and Emory Law School. He served with the US Army in Germany as an artillery officer. He met his future wife, Emmakate “Kit” (née Moore) while working on Charlie Weltner’s political campaign. Kit and Bob were married in Saratoga Springs, NY in 1969.

Bob practiced law for approximately 20 years (first at Jones, Bird & Howell and later at Alston & Bird), after which he formed a real estate asset management firm. In 1996, following an extreme illness, Bob effectively retired, dedicating his time to Habitat for Humanity among other causes. During his life he was also involved in the St. Vincent de Paul Society and volunteered in various capacities at Sacred Heart Church in Atlanta.

Bob was memorable to all who met him. His captivating rich, baritone voice and southern drawl are the first things many think of when hearing Bob’s name. He loved to sit by a fire and harmonize old spirituals with family and friends. If you spent any time with Bob, you knew his love of conversation and his capacity for hilarious storytelling. Bob’s quick wit and repartee were the heart of many belly-aching laughs at family gatherings over the decades. He lent this gift as a volunteer reader for the Georgia Radio Reading Service for the visually impaired.

Bob was a loving husband and father, and a proud grandfather. He was a constant cheerleader and supporter of his children, from sports, to performances, to careers, to life. His voice boomed at Grady High School sporting events for nearly 15 years straight and Northwestern and Mizzou soccer games after that. His encouraging nature extended beyond his own children, and many of their friends also considered Bob a friend.

Bob was a patron of the fine arts in a literal sense. He loved color and beauty, collecting and displaying vibrant works of art. He appreciated great literature and poetry, much of which he could recite from memory, and traveled to museum galleries to attend special exhibits of his favorite artists. He particularly loved opera and would don a tuxedo to sneak in after intermission before he could afford tickets. Later, he was a regular “extra” in performances by the Metropolitan Opera when the touring company visited Atlanta. He and Kit were season ticket holders at the Alliance Theater, regulars at the High Museum of Art and early supporters of the Atlanta Botanical Gardens. Bob was a board member of the Theatrical Outfit. He also expressed his love of the arts through his lifelong dabbling in painting, sculpting and pottery.

Bob was full of curiosity and wonder. He taught his children to poke around in coastal tide pools in search of sea urchins and starfish, to appreciate a Blue Ridge Mountain sunrise, to seek knowledge and never stop learning. He saw travel as a true gift and an opportunity to experience new cultures and discover our shared humanity. He seemed born to “putter”, as he liked to call it, spending years at his mountain cabin doing chores, starting projects, creating artwork, and just happily puttering around. He took up cooking later in life and reveled in the parallels to his art. He had a generous soul, and loved to open his life and home to others. He felt blessed to have been born on this earth and never once expressed being “bored.” He will be greatly missed.

He is survived by his wife Kit, sons Croft (Amy) of New York City, Martin (Kristin), Peden (Liz), daughter Emmakate, all of Atlanta, and seven grandchildren; his younger sister Rosa McNairy (Bill) of Greensboro, NC and younger brother J. Richard “Dick” Young of Atlanta; he was predeceased by his older brother Henry L. Young, Jr. of Atlanta.

A memorial service will be held at a later date. Memorial contributions may be made in Bob’s honor to Habitat for Humanity of Atlanta or the St. Vincent de Paul Society at the Basilica of Sacred Heart. A. S. Turner & Sons, Decatur, GA.

Thomas Leak “Tom” Covington ’61

Thomas Leak Covington Jr. died peacefully in his sleep—just as he wanted to– on December 3, 2021 at the age of 82. Tom spent his last days showered with love, laughter, music, poems and hugs with his family. His last words were “I love you.”

Tom was born on February 19, 1939 in Rockingham, NC. He was the only child of Thomas Leak Covington, Sr and Louise Greene Covington. According to legend, Tom spent his childhood toggling between mayhem and serving as the family “prince”. Daily activities ranged anywhere between drag racing the back streets of Rockingham in his 1932 Chevy to singing in the church choir. He was also an Eagle Scout, pitched lefty on the baseball team, and was voted “Best All Around” as a senior at Rockingham High School.

Tom attended Davidson College, graduating with a degree in English in 1961. He probably spent more time creating mayhem at the SAE fraternity house than studying in the library, and graduated with friendships he would keep for the rest of his life. Careful not to neglect his princely duties, he also sang in the Davidson Men’s Chorus. Davidson was incredibly special to him, and he stayed after graduation to serve as the Director of the Davidson Student Union. He received his Master’s in Guidance and Counseling from NCSU and stayed on to work in the Office of Student Activities for a few years.

Tom met his wife, Millie Ravenel, in 1968 where they worked at the same management consulting firm in Atlanta. Tom and Millie lived in Raleigh and had two children, Simmons and Archer. Tom and Millie were later divorced but maintained a very close friendship throughout his life. “Not bad, for an ex-wife, huh?” he would say after she did something kind for him.

Tom was a talented musician and loved music – from Gregorian chants to jazz, gospel, and folk music. He had a beautiful tenor voice, and his instrument of choice was the autoharp. In his early Raleigh days, he and Millie hosted annual hymn-sings in their backyard, with Tom playing autoharp and leading the singing. He and his Davidson friends formed a folk music group called the Sandy Mush Boys and Darcy, where their harmonies, autoharp, guitar, and dulcimer made sweet and happy music from countless front porches. Their music was the featured program at their Davidson College 40th and 50th reunions for the Class of ‘61.

Tom loved the Western North Carolina mountains. He moved to his beloved Big Sandy Mush near Asheville in 1977 and worked for Buncombe County government. He was a better government worker than farmer—his attempt at entering the Christmas Tree business yielded a field of firewood. But his amazing neighbors were able to use the land to successfully grow the sweetest silver queen corn and tobacco this side of the French Broad River.

Tom also hosted many “Spring Thaw” weekends at his farm, where the pattern of mayhem continued, complete with pickin’ on the porch, camping in the fields, and telling lies from rocking chairs.

In 1981, Tom moved back to Raleigh to become the NC General Assembly’s Director of Fiscal Research–a post he held for 18 years. As one former legislator shared, “Tom had little patience with fools or self-centered politicians, but he understood that you had to be able to work with them to at least some degree, or what needed to be done would not happen.” He led an amazing team and loved them deeply.

After retirement from the NC Legislature in 1999, Tom was the Executive Director of the NC Progress board where he spent his days thinking about the future of his beloved state and working to ensure that NC was on track toward continuous improvement for its land and citizens.

Tom was also involved in many community projects and served on many boards. His passion was to support those who struggle with alcohol and drug addiction. A recovered alcoholic himself—he would have gotten his 30-year chip this coming January—Tom served as a sponsor to many. He helped to found The Healing Place, a recovery center dedicated to helping the homeless and underserved struggling with addiction. He also served on the boards of Pavillion, another incredible treatment center, and HandMade in America, which helped craft artists in Western NC small towns.

Upon retirement, Tom moved permanently to Big Sandy Mush. His best days were spent sitting on the front porch watching the seasons change on the mountains. Often sitting beside him were his two Plott Hounds (NC’s official state dog, of course!), one of whom was named ‘Liston Swain’ after NC legislators Liston Ramsey and Bob Swain. He’d swap stories on the porch with his neighbors and friends who frequently visited his haven in the mountains. He entertained his grandchildren by helping them build fairy houses in the woodshop or pushing them on the swings underneath the 150-year old oak tree in the backyard. He played his autoharp and sang with family and friends, pickin’ and singing deep into the evenings.

The most important part of Tom’s life was his family. He is survived by daughter Simmons Covington Lettre and her husband Marcel Lettre and children McKinley Covington Lettre and Amelia Mills Lettre; son Archer Covington, wife Meg Marchant Covington and eight-month old grandson Thomas Archer Covington; and his amazingly committed ex-wife and friend Millie Ravenel.

Tom moved to Bethesda, Maryland in July 2021 to be near his daughter and granddaughters. His family was finally able to see him often, and they spent the last six months just holding hands in the breeze or singing songs together.

Tom had a lot of sayings that he repeated regularly. One he lived by was, “There ain’t no bus you can get on that I can’t ride.” He was always there for his family and for his many friends over his lifetime–and was particularly calming in times of crisis or confusion.

“Go gently” was what he told his family every time they pulled out of his driveway to head home after a visit. Tom did just that in his death, and his family imagines him engaged in a great reunion as we speak, approaching it all with wonder.

A Celebration of Tom’s Life will be held January 8, 2022 at 1pm, reception immediately following, at Junction West, 310 S. West Street Raleigh, NC. Parking is available at the parking deck, located at the northeast intersection of West Street and Martin Street (diagonal from Junction West–more info at www.junctionwestnc.com)

Out of concern for the safety of all attendees, we are requiring everyone attending to be fully vaccinated. Masks should be worn when not eating or drinking.

The family will also hold a second Celebration of Life in the amazing Big Sandy Mush this spring. Tom left very specific instructions for his ashes to be put in an Ingles grocery bag and planted under an apple tree overlooking “The Mush” so he can spend eternity watching the seasons change in the most beautiful place on earth. More details on the western NC celebration to come.

Tom’s family is grateful to those who have supported the Covingtons through the many years. Friends and neighbors helped Tom stay at his beloved home in Big Sandy Mush for as long as possible despite the cloudiness of dementia and also supported Tom’s kids as they tried to navigate care long-distance. The amazing caregivers and nurses at Brightview Woodmont gifted Tom with excellent health care and kindness in his final chapter in Bethesda.

In lieu of flowers, please consider donating in Tom’s memory to The Sandy Mush Community Center SMCC, PO Box 1686, Leicester, NC 28748 or The Healing Place, 1751 Goode St., Raleigh, NC 27603. Both organizations are important to the Covington family.

John Hubert Womeldorf ’61

John Hubert “Jack” Womeldorf passed away in his home at Harbor’s Edge in Norfolk, VA on September 26, 2021. Jack was born in Richmond VA on July 1, 1939, to John A. and Margaret Glass Womeldorf. His father was a Presbyterian minister.

Jack attended public schools in Princeton, WVA and Waynesboro, VA. He graduated from Davidson College (NC) in 1961. In 1962, he was commissioned as a naval line officer and served on a destroyer and a nuclear-powered cruiser, on which he made his first of four trips around the world.

Upon leaving active duty, Jack spent a year traveling in Europe. On his return, he earned a Master’s Degree in Library and Information Science at UNC Chapel Hill and there met his future wife, Ann. In 1968, Jack was selected as a Special Recruit at the Library of Congress, where he served for 27 years, retiring in 1995.

Jack and Ann married in 1969, put their careers on hold in 1970 and traveled around the world for twelve months on an extended honeymoon. They lived their professional lives on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, where they were active members of the community. Jack volunteered with the local public library and Capitol Hill Community Foundation. He was actively involved with the Church of the Pilgrims, beginning in 1968, serving on Session, in the choir and on many committees over the years. Jack and Ann travelled extensively. Jack counted over 150 countries visited, many more than once. They moved to Norfolk, VA in October 2019.

Jack is survived by Ann Clark Womeldorf, his wife of 52 years, and his sister, Sue W. Akin, of Richmond, VA. He was predeceased by his sister Peggy Gratz, of Fredericksburg, VA. The family would like to thank caregivers Carmen Wells and Wilma Williams-Jupiter for their dedication to Jack in his final months.

A graveside service will be held 2:00 p.m. Sunday, October 17, 2021, at Cedar Grove Cemetery, off London Boulevard on Fort Lane in Portsmouth VA. The Reverend Julia Dorsey Loomis will preside. A memorial service will be held at a later date at the Church of the Pilgrims in Washington, DC.

In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to the Church of the Pilgrims, 2201 P St NW, Washington, DC 20037, or to a charity of your choice. Condolences may be registered at BWFosterFuneralHome.com.

Copyright: Copyright (c) 2021 The Virginian-Pilot

Robert Green ’61

Robert (Bob) Green, loving husband and father passed away on September 9, 2021. He was the second son of DeWitt Allen Green, M.D. and Elizabeth Pierce Green. He was born on August 1, 1939 in Roanoke Rapids, North Carolina.

The Green family moved to Winter Park in 1952. Bob graduated from Winter Park High School in 1957 and Davidson College in 1961, where he had the honor of serving as president of his fraternity, Kappa Alpha Order. He served the country as an officer in the Army Intelligence Corps. Bob was stationed in Dallas, Texas and saw the President and Mrs. Kennedy moments before the President was mortally wounded on November 22, 1963.

He graduated from the University of North Carolina Law School in 1967. Bob practiced law with Gurney & Handley for thirty six years. He served as president of the Winter Park Sidewalk Art Festival in 1989, and as a member of the Board of Managers of the Winter Park YMCA, his daily workout destination.

Bob was also one of the founding members of the All Saints Church Healing Service and participated in their Tuesday healing service making “joyful noise” on his guitar. Bob met his wife Judy in 1968 in Winter Park. Bob and Judy built a life in Winter Park where they had two children.

When Bob was not working or spending time with his family, he could be found working in his shop where he built model airplanes. His children have many memories of watching him fly his planes. Bob was a voracious reader and kept a journal of all of the books he read. Bob loved folk music and he played a Gibson J-45 that he purchased while in the army. He brought his music into the living rooms of friends and family.

Bobby was a good man- a wise, gentle and loving man who will be missed tremendously by his family. His wife, son and daughter are heartbroken.

Bob was preceded in death by his father, DeWitt, his mother, Elizabeth and his brother, DeWitt “Dee” (Anita)Green.

He is survived by his wife of 52 years, Judy; daughter, Suzanne Green Lemons (Clarke); son, Christopher Allen Pierce Green; brother, Brent Pierce Green (SookJa); sister, Elizabeth Green DeMarco (Vince), two nieces Allison and Kristin and a nephew, John.

A private memorial service for family will be held at a date in the future. In lieu of flowers, the family would request a donation to the Ataxia Foundation: ataxia.org

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