William Alston Haile ’65

William Alston Haile, 79, of Kingsport, passed away Sunday, February 5, 2023, at The Waters of Bristol.

He was born February 10, 1943 in Waco, Texas to the late William and Dorothy Bidelspach Haile.

William was a loving, devoted and hardworking gentleman who cared deeply for his family.

He earned his B.S. Degree in Chemistry from Davidson College and his Master’s Degree from the University of Virginia.

William was a proud veteran of the U.S. Army having served in the 101st Airborne Division during the Vietnam War.

He retired from Eastman Chemical Company as a Research Chemist following thirty-four years of service where he was awarded the Eastman Chairman’s Award.

William was an active member of Colonial Heights United Methodist Church where he had served on the Finance Committee, the Pre-School Board, and served as a Trustee.

He was active in civic affairs having served as a Tutor for the Literacy Council, volunteering at The Gray Fossil Site, a volunteer tax preparer and was a past President of a local Community Chest.

He was an avid reader and enjoyed tending to his rose garden.

In addition to his parents, William was preceded in death by his grandmother, Louise Bidelspach.

Those left to cherish William’s memory are his loving wife of fifty-six years, Dianna Wallace Haile; sons, Brian Haile (Maury Nation), Doug Haile (Torey); daughter, Jennifer Haile Martin; grandchildren, Aspen Martin, Oakley Martin, Linden Martin, Josey Haile and Tilley Haile; sister, Leslie Haile Seddon (John); numerous nieces, nephews and cousins.

The family will receive friends Thursday, February 9, 2023, from 4:30-6:00 pm at Colonial Heights United Methodist Church.

A Celebration of Life Service will begin at 6:00 pm with Pastor Chris Brown officiating.

Military Graveside Service conducted by The American Legion Hammond Post #3 and Gate City, VA Post #265 will be held Friday, February 10, 2023, at 11:00 am at the Mountain Home National Cemetery, Mountain Home, TN. Members of the Upper Room Sunday School Class will serve as pallbearers.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the Colonial Heights United Methodist Church, 631 Lebanon Road, Kingsport, TN 37663.

The family extends their sincere gratitude to the staff at The Waters of Bristol for their compassionate care of William.

To share memories and condolences with the family please visit www.oakhillfh.com

The care of William Alston Haile and his family has been entrusted to the staff of Oak Hill Funeral & Cremation Services.

Barry William Story Sr. ’65

Barry William Story Sr., age 80 of Lenoir, passed away, on Friday, January 6, 2023 at Caldwell Memorial Hospital. Born Tuesday, October 20, 1942 to the late Ollie Irene Story and Glenn Allen Story in Caldwell County, NC.

In addition to his parents, he is preceded in death by his son Barry William Story Jr., Brother James Allen Story and best friend Mike “LP” Maynard.

Mr. Story is survived by his wife of 58 years “Cindy” Inocencia Rodriguez, Daughter Stefani Story Carroll (Husband Thomas Glenn Carroll) and Grandchildren Cecilia Story Carroll and Noah Story Carroll.

Barry will be remembered for being a loving husband, father, and grandfather. After graduating from Lenoir High School Mr. Story went on to graduate from Davidson College and then NC State University with a Mechanical Engineering Degree. Barry was known for being a kind man, an anonymous contributor to the community that would help many in the time of need.

The Story family will host a family led Celebration of Life on February 4, 2023 at 6:00 pm, at the Cedar Rock Country Club.

In lieu of flowers the family request donations be made to Amorem Hospice 902 Kirkwood St NW, Lenoir, NC or the Lenoir Service League.

Words of comfort may be expressed to the family at www.pendrysfuneralhome.com.

Kenneth Franklin Essex ’65

Following a long and courageous battle with multiple myeloma, Kenneth Franklin Essex peacefully passed away the morning of Oct. 13, 2022, at his home in Davidson, North Carolina. He was 79 years old.
Born to Paul and Ruth Essex on March 9, 1943, in Morristown, New Jersey, and raised in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, Mr. Essex was a standout student and athlete at R.J. Reynolds High School before attending Davidson College, where he earned a degree in history.
While pursuing his undergraduate studies, Mr. Essex joined the Army ROTC and trained to become an Army Officer. Upon graduation from Davidson, he attended the U.S. Army’s Intelligence and Airborne Schools before seeing active duty in the Vietnam War as an intelligence officer and Lieutenant. He bravely served from 1965-1967 and was awarded the Bronze Star Medal.
After returning from Vietnam, Mr. Essex attended law school at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He moved to Charlotte, North Carolina, in 1970 and joined the venerable Thigpen & Hines P.A. as an associate (and later a partner). Throughout his early years of practicing law, he developed a reputation as a devoted and principled counselor to his clients.
In 1976, Mr. Essex and partner Channing Richards founded the law firm Essex Richards P.A., which was guided by a simple philosophy: If they worked hard, provided excellent counsel and made their clients feel well-served, those clients would return and refer their friends. With an approach rooted in professionalism, integrity and excellence in all aspects of the practice, they built what is today one of Charlotte’s preeminent midsize law firms, where the attorneys take pride in their work, prioritize client needs and give back to their community.
Throughout his 45-year legal career, Mr. Essex received numerous honors and awards, including recognition as one of the North Carolina’s “Legal Elite” and being rated “AV Preeminent” by Martindale-Hubbell, which is the highest peer rating for attorneys for both exceptional legal ability and ethical standards. During his time as a corporate lawyer, he lectured on a variety of topics, including business law, commercial real estate, estate planning and probate, and estate tax.
His wartime experience in Vietnam redefined Mr. Essex’s worldview and at the same time reaffirmed his commitment to service. He cared deeply about the direction of the country and became active in politics by volunteering his time and supporting candidates and causes that he believed were honorable and just. Even during his illness, he never stopped advocating for what he felt was important, including marching with his wife, daughter and granddaughter in support of women’s rights in 2016. To his friends, family and colleagues, he served as a trusted sounding board and an unshakable moral compass.
Involved with numerous professional and civic organizations, Mr. Essex was a board member of the ACLU, the Dowd YMCA, the Literacy Council and Friendship Trays. A stalwart of the Mecklenburg County Bar, he volunteered in a variety of leadership positions that included serving on its Executive Committee as well as chairing its Medical/Legal Committee, Legal Services for the Elderly Committee and Judicial Nominating Committee. He served on the board and as vice chairman of the nonprofit Legal Services of the Southern Piedmont, which provides civil legal assistance to low-income people. In addition, Mr. Essex was a board member for cable and internet company MI-Connection and volunteered at Dilworth Elementary School, Myers Park High School and his alma mater of Davidson College.
Mr. Essex was witty, humble and unfailingly kind. To his family, he was affectionately known as “King Ken” for his wisdom, strength of character and dignified, gentlemanly nature. Close friends conferred another nickname – “Puff” – because of his uncanny knack for vanishing at opportune times (in a proverbial puff of smoke). To his colleagues, Mr. Essex was many things, including unflinching in his leadership – in good times and hard – and always generous with his time and knowledge. He was an encouraging and compassionate presence to his partners, associates and staff. And he was almost always late for meetings.
After learning to sail while in college, Mr. Essex maintained a passion for boating for the rest of his life. He was most content when on (or near) the water with loved ones. In his younger days, he was an avid runner who competed in the Marine Corps Marathon and other distance races. Mr. Essex enjoyed an occasional glass of bourbon (but “only the cheap stuff”) and was a talented musician who often strummed his guitar in the bathroom (because it had the “best acoustics”). A passionate (and often tortured) sports fan, Mr. Essex cheered for the Davidson Wildcats, Carolina Panthers and Charlotte Hornets, for which he was an original season-ticket holder. Some of his children’s fondest memories are of attending basketball games with him at “The Hive,” where he always ordered the largest box of popcorn (with plenty of extra salt).
Before and after his retirement, Mr. Essex journeyed the world with his best friend and beloved wife of 30 years, Faye Sultan, who was his constant companion in sailing, swimming, gazing at fish and navigating the tides. Their frequent adventures took them to Tanzania, Iceland, Norway, the West Indies, Morocco, Turkey, France, New Zealand, Australia, Portugal, Spain and a cathartic return to Vietnam. The trips often included a sailboat with “Captain Ken” calmly at the helm – across choppy water and endless blue seas alike.
Above all else, Mr. Essex cherished his roles as a devoted husband, father, “granddaddy,” and friend. He is survived by wife and “first mate” Faye Sultan of Davidson; daughter Beth Essex (Paul Ecker) of Portland, Oregon; son Jesse Essex (Chelsey) of Charlotte; son Luke Essex (Amanda Oliver) of Charlotte; son David Long of Charlotte; “adopted daughter” Amanda Long of Charlotte; and dear grandchildren Abby Ecker, Ruby Ecker, Riley Essex and Sylvie Essex. He was preceded in death by his loving parents, J. Paul and Ruth Essex, and his older brother, J. Paul Essex Jr.
The family extends its sincere appreciation to the compassionate physicians and healthcare professionals at Levine Cancer Institute and Carolinas Medical Center. In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to Hospice & Palliative Care Charlotte Region at www.hpccr.org or The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society at www.lls.org.
A private memorial service will be held at a future date.
James Funeral Home, of Huntersville, is serving the family and obituary lovingly written by the family.

Robert B. Hayes ’65

Robert B. Hayes passed away on Saturday, July 23, 2022, at Mission Memorial Campus.

A native of Hudson, North Carolina, he was the son of the late R Barton and Estoy Bragg Hayes. Robert graduated from Davidson College and North Carolina State University with his master’s in engineering. His career began in the family-owned Hudson Cotton Mills then transitioning to Burlington Industries. A career path change landed him in the petroleum industry. He began working for Chevron USA in the Gulf of Mexico, and lastly with Chevron International. During the last phase, he worked in the African countries of Nigeria and Angola.

He was an excellent teacher, a man of few words with an infectious laugh. He enjoyed fixing things and growing tomatoes.

Robert is survived by wife Teresa; his son Dr. Christopher Hayes (Dr. Jody) and daughter Stephanie Cook (Andy); six grandchildren, Colin, Jackson, Coleman, Sterling, Preston and Catherine.

The care of Mr. Hayes has been entrusted to Wells Funeral Home of Waynesville and an online memorial register is available at “Obituaries” at wellsfuneralhome.com.

Richard “Randy” Hughes ’65

Richard “Randy” Randolph Hughes lost his 11 year battle with Parkinson’s on Tuesday, May 17, 2022. Randy was born to George D. Hughes and Jean Montgomery Hughes on May 30, 1943 in Ft Lauderdale, Florida.

Randy grew up as a “military brat” and throughout his life lived in various parts of the United States. After graduating from McClean High School in Virginia, he attended Davidson College in North Carolina. He was on the swim team at Davidson College and held a record that stood for years. Randy was proud to be an alum of Davidson College and delighted in taking the family back to Davidson for “visits”.

While in college, he met Nancy Jo White and they were married in December 1965.

After graduating from Davidson College, he served as an officer in the United States Army. They were stationed at Ft. Bliss in El Paso, Texas, where they had their first child, Neva. Shortly after, they moved to Nebraska where Randy began his lifelong career working for IBM. While in Nebraska, they had three sons: John, Rick and Bill. Randy had a major love of swimming and was able to participate in Master’s Swimming, as well as, being a very big supporter of Alamo Area Aquatics in which all four children and one grandchild swam. He dedicated time to not only attending and working swim meets, but being present at practice as well.

Randy is survived by his wife, Nancy and four children, Neva Hughes, John Hughes and wife Gina, Rick Hughes and wife Heather and Bill Hughes and wife Jenn. He is also survived by 16 grandchildren and 2 great granddaughters. Randy, as his siblings lovingly called him, is also survived by sister Susie Maurer and husband Fred, brother Critt and wife Andrea, sister Sally McLaughlin and brother Jeff and wife Kathy. As well as his mother-in-law, Neva White, sister-in-law Neva Curoe and brother-in-law John White and wife Daisy, as well as, numerous nieces and nephews. In addition to his parents, George Hughes and Jean Hughes, Randy is preceded in death by his father-in-law Alton E. White and brothers-in-law Thomas McLaughlin and Patrick Curoe.

A celebration of Randy’s life will be held at Puente & Son’s Funeral Chapel on Judson Rd. on May 29th, 2022 at 2pm. The family would also like to express their thanks to the staff at Brookdale-Maltsberger, (especially Cruz, Monica and Trisha) for their loving care. We would also like to thank the staff of Elysian Hospice. In lieu of flowers, please make a donation to the Parkinson’s Foundation in memory of Richard R. Hughes.