Edward Herman Willer ’63

Edward Herman Willer, 82, of Raleigh died Sunday, January 21, 2024. Ed was born on June 12, 1941, in Concord, North Carolina to the late Emil Francis Willer and Mary McKinley Willer. He grew up in Kannapolis, NC, where he earned his Eagle Scout. He attended high school at Fishburne Military School and graduated from Davidson College, where he was a member of Sigma Alpha Epsilon and ROTC.

After college, Ed served as an officer in the US Army, as an observation pilot during the Vietnam War. In 1966, he was awarded the Vietnam Cross of Gallantry with Silver Star, by the Republic of Vietnam.

Ed was a longtime Realtor in Raleigh; he served as President of the Raleigh Board of Realtors and was on the NC Real Estate Education Foundation. He also wrote a book on the NC Real Estate Exam. He served on various boards of charitable organizations and chaired the Wake County United Way Campaign.

In addition to his parents, Ed was preceded in death by his brother, Phillip McKinley Willer and his sister, Emily Willer Turner.

Ed is survived by his wife, Cornelia Campbell Willer; two children, daughter, Laura Campbell Willer and her husband, David Lauhon Huffstetler and their two sons, David Lauhon Huffstetler, Jr., and Edward Groves Huffstetler; and son, Edward Groves Willer, his wife, Windy Niebler Willer and their son, Otto Simon Willer. He also had many cousins, nieces and nephews.

A Witness to the Resurrection service will be held on Wednesday, January 31st, 2024 at 2:30 PM at White Memorial Presbyterian Church, 1701 Oberlin Rd., Raleigh, NC. The family will receive friends following the service at White Memorial.

Comann “Penn” Penry Craver, Jr. ’63

Comann (“Penn”) Penry Craver Jr., passed away at the age of 82 at Kate B. Reynolds Hospice Home in Winston-Salem after a courageous but brief battle with cancer on January 21st, 2024. Born on April 28th, 1941, and the son of the late Comann P. Craver and Margaret A. Craver, he attended public schools in Winston Salem and graduated from RJ Reynolds High School in 1959. Thereafter, he graduated from Davidson College in 1963 where he was an active member of the Beta Theta Pi social fraternity and from the University of North Carolina School of Law cum laude in 1966 where he served on the Board of Editors for the North Carolina Law Review and was elected to The Order of the Coif.

Penn is survived by his great love and wife of 59 years Jane K. Craver, his children Brian (Jenny) Craver of Charlotte, Scott (Tonya) of Winston-Salem. He also leaves behind his true pride and joy of five grandchildren: Reynolds (Joanna), Charlotte, CeCe, Ella, and Penn. He also survived by his sister Sylvia Gandy of Mt Pleasant, SC and his nephews Tripp Gandy, Mark Gandy, and Lee Gandy.

Upon graduation Penn served in the US Armed Forces, achieving the rank of Captain. In 1968 he joined the Winston-Salem law firm of Petree Stockton (Now Kilpatrick Stockton), retired in 2007 after 40 years of practice and then joined in forming the trust, tax, and estate firm of Edwards Craver Veach PLLC where he recently fully retired, finishing off a distinguished law career.

Penn cherished his family and friendships, always putting the needs of others first. He had a love of the outdoors and enjoyed spending time at Lake Norman and Atlantic Beach, always happiest with a new project or a tough “workday” with his sons. He was gifted with a sharp mind and grateful heart, often offering simple straightforward solutions to complex issues, greeting all he met with a smile and hearty hello. At times he thought he could dance, but always knew it was Jane who was the true star of the show.

Penn contributed his time and energy to various professional and charitable organizations, leaving a lasting impact on the community. This included the Forsyth County and NC Bar Associations, Winston-Salem Estate Planning Council, UNC Tax Advisory Board, and the Wake Forest Planned Giving Council. He served on several Board of Directors including YMCA, Winston-Salem Jaycees, Winston-Salem Downtown Rotary Club, Junior Achievement, W-S Arts Council, and others. He was a member of the First Presbyterian Church and Forsyth Country Club where he served as a past president and member of the Board of Directors.

A Memorial Service in celebration of Penn’s life will be held at First Presbyterian Church, 300 N Cherry St., Winston-Salem at 1:30 PM on Saturday, February 3rd, 2024. Family and friends are invited to a reception immediately following the Service.

Memorials may be offered in lieu of flowers to The Winston-Salem Foundation or the Kate B Reynolds Hospice Home. 

Edward Elliott “Ed” Crutchfield ’63

Edward Elliott Crutchfield, Sr, longtime banker, civic leader, husband, father, and grandfather, died peacefully at his home in Vero Beach, FL on Tuesday, January 2, 2023. He was 82 years old. He is survived by his wife, Barbara, son and daughter-in-law, Elliott and Lynn Crutchfield, daughter and son-in-law, Sally and Robert Davis as well as his grandchildren: Sarah Davis and Eddie, Liza, Grace, and Lucy Crutchfield. He was preceded in death by his mother and father, Katherine and Edward Crutchfield and sister, Jane Garrison.

Ed grew up in Albemarle, NC where he developed a love for football that earned him a scholarship to Davidson College. After graduation from Davidson College in 1963, he went on to earn his MBA from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. Upon graduation, Ed joined First Union Bank as a credit analyst in 1965. Although First Union had only $400 million in assets and paid him the lowest salary of any of his job offers, he saw promise and opportunity.

Eight years later, he was named the youngest bank president in the country. It was the start of a remarkable journey as First Union grew to encompass $253 billion in assets under his leadership until his retirement in 2000. First Union merged with Wachovia Corporation in 2001, and then subsequently was acquired by Wells Fargo in 2008.

First Union’s growth in the 1980s and 1990s was fueled by the advent of interstate banking and the ability to diversify financial offerings. Ed excelled in both arenas. While other banks hesitated, he forged ahead consolidating the banking landscape. He negotiated more than 80 acquisitions that expanded the company’s footprint along the east coast. At the same time, Crutchfield pushed First Union to offer a full platform of banking, capital markets, investment, and wealth management services throughout the United States.

Ed served on numerous corporate boards, including Bernhardt Industries, VF Corporation, Liberty Corporation, Lurhq Corporation and Southern Bell Corporation. As a leader in a rapidly changing financial services industry, he played an influential role with organizations such as the Financial Services Roundtable, World Business Council, Bankers Roundtable, and the American Bankers Association.

Ed’s impact extended far beyond financial markets and corporate boardrooms. He was a passionate advocate for a wide range of educational and civic causes. In the 1980s, he created the “Excellence In Education” program to allow every First Union employee paid time off to volunteer in schools or work with young people. He promoted literacy programs, and championed the Boy Scouts of America, The Nature Conservancy, Independent College Fund of North Carolina, United Way, Habitat For Humanity, Communities In Schools and chaired the board of trustees of Davidson College. He deeply believed in giving people a chance to succeed in life and achieve their dreams.

Ed also played an instrumental role in leading numerous capital campaigns for organizations to ensure their long-term sustainability and development of vibrant programs. He chaired capital campaigns for the Children & Family Services Center, Union Theological Seminary and Presbyterian School of Christian Education, Salvation Army, Johnson C. Smith University and the YMCA. He was also recognized for his vision and leadership with Honorary Doctorate Degrees from Davidson College, University of North Carolina at Charlotte, Johnson C. Smith University and Pfeiffer University.

Following his retirement in 2000, he established several foundations to support his charitable giving. The Crutchfield Family Foundation has provided hundreds of scholarships to students at Stanly Community College and the Crutchfield-Cunningham Foundation supports students who attend North Carolina colleges and universities.

Ed Crutchfield lived a large, full life. He was well known for his sense of humor, generosity, intellect and wisdom. He will be greatly missed.

Funeral services will be held at Myers Park Presbyterian Church in Charlotte on Friday, January 12 at 11:00 am. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to VNA Hospice House. 901 37th Street, Vero Beach, FL 32960

Frederick DaCosta Austin III ’63

On November 9, 2023, Dr. Frederick DaCosta Austin, III peacefully graduated from this earth to joyfully reunite with his wife, Cheryl, in God’s kingdom.

He was born on September 30, 1941 to Dr. Frederick D. Austin, Jr. and Elizabeth Howard Austin in Charlotte, NC. Growing up as an only child, he regularly spent holidays and vacations with cousins from Charlotte and Fuquay Springs, often recounting summers he had spent at his aunt’s beach house in South Carolina and summer camps at the Citadel.

As the son of a doctor, he decided at an early age to follow his father’s path. After graduating from Myers Park High School in 1959, he matriculated at Davidson College where he completed his bachelor’s degree in Pre-Medicine in 1963. He proceeded to medical school at the University of North Carolina, where he met his best friend and future wife, Cheryl Metts who was working as a nurse at University Hospital.

They were married in 1969, while he was a resident in Internal Medicine at the Medical College of Georgia, where he was graciously appointed to be Chief Resident in his second year – a position normally reserved for third year residents. The two found new adventures moving to Boston, where Fred accepted a fellowship in Infectious Disease at Harvard that was briefly interrupted fulfilling his Berry Plan commitment to the Army, where he obtained the rank of Major and was stationed at Womack Army Medical Center at Fort Bragg. Upon completing his fellowship in 1974, he joined the faculty of the University of Louisville Medical School, working primarily at the Veterans Administration Hospital and becoming Chief of Staff – a position he would eventually hold at every hospital he was affiliated with from that point forward.

Well regarded for his compassionate, honest approach to medicine, he decided to shift his focus from academics to private practice in 1980 and relocated to Paducah, KY. After five years there, he was lured back to North Carolina and to Little Washington by close friends from medical school. As a partner of Pamlico Internal Medicine, he was proud to be an Eastern North Carolinian and provide care to Washington and the surrounding communities until his retirement in 2010.  

While his career in medicine was outstanding, he may be best remembered for his work outside of the hospital. His passion for working with young people and athletics was forged in 1976 when a neighbor asked if he would be interested in being the team physician for Ballard, a local high school in Louisville. Thus began a path of volunteer service that Doc, as he became known, pursued for the rest of his life.

For almost 40 years, he was a fixture on the sidelines and in the locker and training rooms for Ballard, Paducah Tilghman, and Washington High Schools offering any assistance he could. He was always gracious with his time and felt that physical activity and being part of a team were paramount in the development of young people’s lives. Every season, he would perform physicals for athletes free of charge to help eliminate any barriers a student might have in participating. He was fortunate to be part of teams that won Kentucky High School State Championships in basketball, football, and soccer.

While he cherished all of the teams he was a part of, his role as a baseball coach stands out. Over the course of 30 years, he served as the assistant coach for Washington High School baseball teams that reached multiple state semifinals and, in 1991, finished second in the state. In addition to his work with the high school, he assumed the role of head coach for the local Senior Babe Ruth team and led them to a state championship in 1995. He then moved to American Legion baseball where he managed the Beaufort County Post 15 team for over a decade.

He was humbled to receive many awards for his volunteerism over the years. Notably, he was named the Sports Medicine Person of the Year by the North Carolina Athletic Trainers’ Association, cited as an Unsung Hero by the North Carolina High School Athletic Association,  selected as the 12th Man for the Paducah Tilghman High School football team, inducted into the Washington High School Walk of Fame, Had his number 20 retired by the Washington High School baseball team, and received the Community Service Award from the Greater Washington Chamber of Commerce.

In addition to his volunteer service, Fred was an avid tennis player throughout his life. His senior 3.5 men’s team won multiple North Carolina district and state championships and ultimately, with Fred as the captain, won a USTA National Championship in 1997.

He was a passionate Tar Heels fan, regularly attending football and basketball games with his two sons and could be found listening to Braves games throughout the summer. He also had a great love for music, and his extensive collection was one that gave him much joy, as he often would play some of his favorites for anyone who might stop by.

Fred loved being a Washingtonian and, with his wife Cheryl, was a mainstay of West Main Street for three decades, opening his waterfront home to neighbors, athletes, luncheons, and showers. They both had a strong affinity for the water and the beach and felt blessed to be in such close proximity to it after spending years in Kentucky. He was a member of First Presbyterian Church and enjoyed additional fellowship at the Church of Good Shepherd.

In his retirement, Fred and Cheryl moved to Asheville’s Given Estates, where they could be closer to their sons and grandchildren whom they held with great pride and affection.

In the end, Fred led an unassuming life, filled with service and love. One that I am sure that he would say was not that remarkable. But he showed us that when you pursue the things you are passionate about with an open heart, wonderful things can happen. That little things matter. And one person can make a difference.

He is survived by his two sons, Dac (Elizabeth) and Trevor (Kirstin); grandchildren Maura Metts, Evelyn, Ursula, Clark, and Eleanor; cousins Jay (Dolores) Howard, Mark (Margaret) Howard, and Harriet (Robert) Vinay; in-laws Gayle (Charlie) Adams, Carey (Jennie) Metts, and Kenneth (Becky) Metts as well as many nieces and nephews.

A party celebrating his life will be held at Fox Hollow Farm in Washington, NC on Friday, November 24 at 5pm. All are welcome.

Memorial gifts may be made to the Washington High School baseball team in Washington, NC.

Thomas “Tommy” Henderson Hamilton, Jr. ’63

Thomas Henderson Hamilton, Jr. (Tommy) died peacefully on October 17, 2023 with friends and family by his side. Tommy was born on September 3rd 1941 in Kinston to Laura Marie Garland Hamilton and Dr. Thomas Henderson Hamilton, Sr., long-time minister of the 1st Presbyterian Church of Kinston.

Tommy lived his entire life in Kinston, except during his college years at Davidson and his military service as an officer in the Army Intelligence Agency, where he was deployed to the Dominican Republic. With a brilliant mind, as well as athletic and artistic talent, Tommy was a modern-day Renaissance man. He lettered in three sports while at Grainger High School and was the first high school student to hit a home run out of Grainger Stadium.

While at Davidson, Tommy played varsity baseball. He was scouted by professional teams, e.g., the New York Mets, but did not pursue baseball because of the military service his ROTC scholarship required.

Tommy was also an excellent and avid golfer, as well as card player, and could often be found at the Kinston Country Club engaging in one of those activities. Tommy was an excellent artist and chef; while he cooked everything, he particularly enjoyed Asian cuisines. He loved painting and cooking for family and friends. He regularly entertained his poker buddies in the 1990s and 2000s, and in his later years, he was a frequent preparer of food for his dear friends Adriana Paez and Betty Bruce Lawson.

Perhaps Tommy’s greatest talent, though, was the piano. A gifted musician, he could play almost anything by ear and could sit down at a piano anywhere (and frequently did) to perform for family, friends, and strangers. He truly loved classical music and spent years on the Board of the North Carolina Symphony, where he was also a regular concert-goer.

Tommy loved to travel, and he combined his love of travel, golf, and his two sisters — Maria and Laura — in his twice-yearly golfing trips with them and Maria’s husband Jim.

In addition to his extensive extra-curriculars, Tommy spent most of his professional life at Kinston High School: first as a teacher — he loved teaching English to high schoolers (and everyone, really!), and later in a computer-focused role. In the early 1980s, Tommy taught himself to code and was soon writing more complex programs. Lenoir County Schools hired him to coordinate the programs that managed grades for all students in the county.

Tommy is survived by his daughter, Elise Hamilton Ross (Douglas), and granddaughter Edelyn; his younger sisters Maria Garland Cockrum (Jim); Laura Hamilton Rawl (Honorable Victor Rawl, Sr.); his faithful friends Adriana Paez, Dr. Rudolph Mintz, and Connie Mintz; and his beloved cat Joshua. Graveside service will be held Thursday, November 9th at 2 p.m. in Westview Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, please make a donation to the North Carolina Symphony ncsymphony.org or WCPE.