James “Jim” Barnett ’62

James Samuel “Jim” Barnett passed away peacefully on December 26, 2022, in Bradenton, FL, after a short illness. He was born on May 7, 1940 to Kathryn and George Barnett, and grew up on a small farm in South Carolina, where he got into all sorts of mischief with his two brothers, Neil and Julian – like the time they thought it would be a great idea to burn the vine off the wooden fence instead of cutting it down and digging it up like their father had asked.

Jim met Elaine Ward (Barnett) in a church youth group when they were in Middle School. They didn’t much like each other at first (he thought she asked too many questions, she thought he was too quiet). But, as these stories sometimes go, they tried one date in high school, fell in love and continued building their deep love for each other – the relationship of a lifetime – while they attended college. On June 29, 1962, Jim both graduated from Davidson College and married Elaine, beginning their amazing 60 years together as husband and wife. Because his college graduation was delayed a month, Jim liked to joke that Elaine graduated (from St. Andrews Presbyterian University) summa cum laude, while he graduated “sooner come later.”

The newlyweds immediately headed off to Germany, where Jim, who was commissioned into the army as a 2nd Lieutenant (also on June 29, 1962), served as an M.P. If he never told you about the time he pulled over Kris Kristofferson, but let him off with a warning, well, then, you must not have known Jim that well. Even though money was tight, Jim and Elaine took advantage of every opportunity and adventured all over Europe, sometimes sleeping in the car so they could meet their budget of $5 a day. So began their love of travel and discovery. Jim liked to joke that Elaine would even take a trip to “hell in a handbasket” so long as it was a roundtrip ticket, and he was always, faithfully, unquestioningly by her side for every journey. Jim and Elaine also began their lifetime of legendary hospitality in Germany. They loved hosting friends and family (except maybe the friend who had a little too much wine and could only remember that he had parked his car on “some street named strasse” – the German word for street).

Their son, Bill, was born in Germany and, when Jim and Elaine returned to the U.S., daughter Kathryn followed. Jim settled into his career of helping small businesses, entrepreneurs and families reach their dreams through his work with North Carolina National Bank, which ultimately became Bank of America. By the time he retired, Jim was a Senior Vice President.

Jim worked hard to support his family, but he never let work get in the way of his devotion to them. He taught his children the importance of education, hard work, and giving back to the community, and he showered them with love, even when they were insufferable teenagers. Jim was also always quick with a prank or a wry joke (like the time he convinced his daughter that her school – but not her brother’s – was closed on April 1st, and then watched with much mirth as she gloated and pranced around until Jim grinned widely and announced, to her dismay, “April Fool’s Day.”)

When grandchildren came (Michael, Jack, Christopher, Ethan and Oliver), Jim embraced them with the same love, humor and gusto, whether it was taking them fishing, tickling them and “getting their goozlers,” or spoiling them with “pie for lunch” for a whole week. For his grown children, now parents, Jim shared invaluable parenting advice, so much so that their friends know all about Jim Barnett and his parenting wisdom, even if they never met him.

Jim also found time to serve the community as a member of the City Council in Monroe, N.C., founder of the Union County, N.C. Arts Commission, member of the Board of Trustees of The Ringling Museum, President of the Manatee County United Way and member of the Board of Thornwell Children’s Home. He also served as a teacher, Elder and Deacon of the Presbyterian churches he and Elaine joined over the years and served as the volunteer Treasurer for the Peace River Presbytery for seven years. In fact, when Jim retired from the bank, he went right back to work as a Development Officer with the Presbyterian Foundation.

In their more than six decades together, Jim and Elaine continued their love of travel and adventure. They visited all 50 states and 101 countries. Their last escapade – just after Jim’s 82nd birthday – was a visit to son, Bill, in London and then a week-long journey through Wales (in a six-foot wide canal boat!) with daughter, Kathryn, and her family.

Jim’s love of friends and entertaining also continued throughout his spectacular 82 well-lived years. The house was often filled with the sounds of bridge games, tall tales, music, U.N.C. basketball games and laughter. Anyone who knew him can especially remember Jim’s magical laugh. It did not matter if the pets snuck in and dragged the marinating pork chops all over the house, if the boat candle decoration floating in the pool during a big party caught fire, if the shrimp got left in the trunk of the new car, or if the boat he was trying to sail with his cranky teenager went backwards all the way down the canal, Jim always found a way to laugh and see the humor in difficulties. He stayed that way right up to the end, cracking up the nurses and medical staff and his family during his short hospitalization.
As he would have been quick to tell you, Jim Barnett lived a full, meaningful, joyous life, filled with love, laughter, service, faith and adventure. He touched innumerable lives.

A celebration of Jim’s life will be held Sunday, February 19, at 3:00pm, at First Presbyterian Church, Sarasota, Florida, which will also be live-streamed at firstpressarasota.org. In lieu of flowers, memorial gifts may be made to First Presbyterian Church, 2050 Oak Street, Sarasota, FL 34237.

Lynn Douglas Hudgins ’62

Lynn Douglas Hudgins, 81, of Salem, South Carolina, passed away on October 19, 2022.

Lynn was born on November 13, 1940 in Charleston, West Virginia, to the late Dr. Archibald Perrin Hudgins and Marie Linville Hudgins. He completed high school at Fishburne Military School and attended Davidson College for two years. He then transferred to Presbyterian College, where he was a member of the tennis team, completing his bachelor’s degree in 1962. After college, Lynn enlisted in the U.S. Navy, attending Officer Candidate School in Newport, Rhode Island, and the U.S. Navy Flight School in Pensacola, Florida. Afterwards, he served for six years as a naval aviator. Lynn continued his career as a pilot for Delta Airlines from 1969 to 2000 rising to the position of Chief Pilot, first in Los Angeles and subsequently in New York City. 

During his retirement, Lynn loved volunteer work serving with the Lions Club, CERT (Community Emergency Response Team), and Firewise in his local community. He never said no to a request for help. Lynn attended Fort Hill Presbyterian Church in Clemson.

Lynn is survived by his loving wife of 58 years Linda Sylvester Hudgins; sons, Lynn Douglas (Connie) Hudgins, Jr. and Kenneth Scott (Jennifer) Hudgins; brother, Archibald Perrin Hudgins, Jr.; grandchildren, Oliver (Maureen) Hudgins, Harry Hudgins, Virginia Hudgins, Nathaniel Hudgins, Brandi Berghorn, Jason (Kayla) Berghorn, and Chelsea Berghorn.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests memorial gifts be made to Cottingham House Hospice Care, 390 Keowee School Drive, Seneca, SC 29672.

A private service will be held at a later date.

Robert S. Abernethy ’62

Robert S. Abernethy III, MD of Medfield, formerly of Dover, MA, died suddenly but peacefully Friday morning October 14, 2022 after a valiant struggle with dementia.

Dr. Abernethy was beloved husband for 60 years of Caroline (McClain) Abernethy; father of Robert Abernethy IV of Fort Worth, TX, Frances Abernethy Armstrong (Gregg J. Armstrong) of Medfield, MA, and the late Enloe McClain Abernethy; cherished friend of Joan Abernethy, M.D.; and beloved grandfather of Kate and Owen Armstrong and Robert V and Thomas Abernethy. Born on June 18, 1940 in Charlotte, NC, to Robert S. Abernethy, Jr. and Belle Ward Stowe Abernethy, he was brother of Margaret Martin of Charlotte and the late Sally Eads of Fincastle, VA.

Rob attended Davidson College and the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine. After his internship at Pennsylvania Hospital, he fulfilled military service at the NIMH’s Saint Elizabeth’s Hospital in Washington, DC before completing his residency training in psychiatry at Massachusetts General Hospital. Deeply committed to the individualized care of his patients, Dr. Abernethy practiced medicine at MGH with honor, humility, and integrity for over 40 years.

Dr. Abernethy will be remembered for his adventurous, but humble spirit, his abiding optimism, and his keen sense of humor. He found joy in sailing the coast of Maine, caring for an island home, skiing (quite slowly) at Sugarloaf, and visiting with his children, friends, and his beloved grandchildren. He remained kind and good humored to the end, never squandering an opportunity to express his earnest gratitude and appreciation to those who cared for him.

His family extends special thanks to Dr. Michael J. Barry of MGH who so lovingly guided Rob through his progressive illness and to the devoted staff at Birch Grove Assisted Living at Fox Hill Village in Westwood.

A celebration of Dr. Abernethy’s life will be held on February 4, 2023 at 11:00 at the Dover Church in Dover, MA. Remembrances may be made in his name to the Epiphany School, 154 Centre Street, Dorchester, MA, 02124 or the Davidson Trust, the scholarship fund supporting Davidson College’s commitment to needs-blind admission: Davidson College, Box 7170, Davidson, NC, 28035.

Russell Holmes Showalter, Jr. ’62

Russell Holmes Showalter, Jr., 82, passed away on August 30, 2022 in St. Augustine, FL. Russell was born on November 16, 1939 in Durham, NC.

He is survived by his wife of 50 years, Ann McDonald Showalter of St. Augustine, FL; his siblings Anne H. Showalter of Fernandina Beach, FL and D. Scott Showalter (Vivian) of Denver, CO; children Stephanie Showalter of Houston, TX, Jonathan Showalter of St. Augustine, FL, Hunter Showalter of Atlanta, GA. He was predeceased by his father, R. Holmes Showalter, Sr. and mother, Winona Fincher Showalter.

An attorney in Jacksonville and member of the Florida Bar for over 50 years, he will also be missed by countless clients, nieces/nephews, grand-nieces/grand-nephews, cousins, friends, and colleagues.

Memorial services will be performed at Memorial Presbyterian Church, 32 Sevilla St., Saint Augustine, FL 32084 on September 17, 2022 at 2 pm.

In lieu of flowers, the family asks that you make a donation to the Special Olympics or a charity of your choosing.”

E. Jeffery “Jeff” Couch ’62

E. Jeffery Couch of River Landing, died peacefully on April 1, 2022, surrounded by his three adoring daughters Laura, Sarah and Abbey.

Jeff was born May 5, 1940 to the late Everett Goodrich Couch and Emily Moore Couch. From early childhood, he lived in Ohio, graduating from Portsmouth High School and attracting classmates who became lifelong friends. In 1958, Jeff moved to Davidson, NC where he earned his dream come true, a degree in Economics from Davidson College, again fostering friendships that lasted his lifetime.

After Davidson, Jeff began a career in financial management, first at C&S Bank and Nations Bank in Atlanta, and later joining NCNB in Charlotte. There he honed his economic and leadership skills and was promoted to higher levels of responsibility including taking Bank of America to international prominence. A gifted leader, Jeff retired as Senior Vice President from Bank of America.

To hold dear his memory, Jeff is survived by his wife, Darla Clark Couch and dearly beloved daughters Laura Boling of Alpharetta, GA; Sarah Davis of Loganville, GA; and Abigail Giordano of Fairfax, VA. He was blessed with eight grandchildren: Jake, Kelly and Sadie Boling; Maren Piland and Harper Davis; Bobby and Ellis Giordano; and one great-granddaughter, Jessica Black. Jeff is also survived by sister, Sarah Haft and nephew, David Haft of Washington, DC.

In keeping with Jeff’s passion for learning and discovery, his body has been entrusted to Wake Forest University School of Medicine. A memorial date has not been set.

Published by Charlotte Observer on April 24, 2022.