David Coffey ’67

David Walton Coffey, 73, formerly of Lexington, died on Saturday, Jan. 25, 2020, at the Heritage Hall Nursing Home in Nassawadox after a lengthy illness.

David was born in Lexington on Aug. 14, 1946, the son of J. Francis and Hilah R. Coffey.

He is survived by his brother and sister-in-law, Daniel C. and Mary “Macy” B. Coffey of Cape Charles; two nephews, D. Brittigan and Talmadge M. Coffey of Montana; and a cousin, Caroline Y. and husband Rodney D. Ramsey of Marietta, Ga.

David graduated from Davidson College in 1967 with a double major in history and English. He later received a master’s degree in history from the University of North Carolina. He taught in the North Carolina public school system before returning to his hometown of Lexington in 1974. He retired from Virginia Military Institute in 2014 as an adjunct professor of American and Virginia history.

Outside of the classroom, David’s love of history was apparent by his involvement with the Rockbridge Historical Society and his service as a member of the Lexington Architectural Review Board. He was also active in the Lexington High School Alumni Inc.

David also enjoyed traveling and led many tours of England.

David was passionate about music and over his years in Lexington, served as organist for Jackson Memorial Hall, Trinity United Methodist Church and Manly Memorial Baptist Church.

David was a member of Grace Episcopal Church where a memorial service will be held Wednesday, Feb. 12, at 3 p.m. A reception will follow in the church parish hall.

Memorial contributions may be made to the Grace Episcopal Church Music Fund, 123 W. Washington St., Lexington, VA 24450; or the Rockbridge Historical Society, P.O. Box 1409, Lexington, VA 24450. N-G

John Daniel Helm III ’67

John Daniel Helm, 74, passed away on Tuesday, Oct. 8, at Tranquillity. Born Sept. 1, 1945, on MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa, Florida, he was the son of the late Dr. John D. Helm Jr. and Grace Higgins Helm.

Raised in Lancaster, PA, John was a 1963 graduate of Manheim Township High School where he was a four-year letterman on the swim team and senior class president. He continued his love of competitive swimming at Davidson College where he graduated in 1967 with a bachelor’s degree in biology. In 1970, he earned a master’s degree in science from North Carolina State University and in 1973 was awarded a Doctorate in Zoology from Michigan State University.

Upon completion of his studies in 1973, he joined the faculty of Hood College as an assistant professor of biology. The following year, he received a National Science Foundation grant to attend the First International Theriological Congress in Moscow, Russia, where he presented a paper on the comparative biology of the neotropical climbing rats, Ototylomys and Tylomys.

In 1979, he began a career with the Environmental Protection Agency which lasted until his retirement in 2011. He began serving as a senior project manager responsible for writing TSCA section 4 test rules and later became a compliance officer in the Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance, Agriculture Division.

John’s leisure pursuits included reading, drawing and painting, wood carving, photography, hunting and fishing, exercise, and participating in martial arts. But most of all, he found joy and inspiration in the beauty of nature — a full moon on a crystal clear night, a sunset washed sky just before the gloaming, and a V-shaped flock of Canada geese, wings creaking, out on a evening foray.

John is survived by his wife of 51 years, Nancy; their sons, John Daniel Helm IV (Dan) of Frederick and William McNair Helm (Bill) of Lutherville; his brothers James M. Helm and wife Karen of Raleigh, David T. Helm and wife Janet of Natick, Mass.; nephews Alex Helm of Natick, Mass., Peter Helm of Columbia, Missouri, Daniel Helm of Las Vegas, Nevada; nieces Amanda Helm of Tyler, Texas, and Joanna Helm of Kittery, Maine. He was preceded in death by his brother, Charles R. (Chuck) Helm.

A burial service for the family will be held at Zion Church of Christ in Strasburg, PA, and a Celebration of Life service will be held on a future date.

A note of thanks goes out to Hospice Health of Frederick and the Memory Care staff at Tranquillity for their excellent and loving care.

If so desired, memorial contributions may be made to Daybreak Adult Day Services, 7819 Rocky Springs Road, Frederick, MD 21702 or Hospice of Frederick County, 516 Trail Ave., Frederick, MD 21701.

 Copyright © 1997 – 2019 Randall Family, LLC, All rights reserved.

Ralph Feil ’67

Ralph Lyttelton Feil passed away on Sunday morning, January 27, 2019. Ralph was born on July 24, 1945, in Rochester New York, one of three children of Neville and Ralph Feil. He was predeceased by his parents.

Ralph is survived by his wife of 48 years, Punkie Peterson Feil, of Charlottesville, his three daughters, whom he adored, Katherine F. Rhadans and her husband Matt of Odessa Mo., Elizabeth F. Matthews and her husband Steve of Charlottesville and Bethany F. Taibl and her husband Andy of Richmond. He is also survived by seven grandchildren, Sumner, Witten and Woods Dowdy and Waylon Rhadans of Odessa Mo., Bailey and Oliver Taibl of Richmond, and Colbie Matthews of Charlottesville. His grandchildren called him Bobby.

He is also survived by his brother and wife, Jimmy and Annie Sharolyn Feil of Florida; his sister and husband, Nancy and John Lowry of Charlottesville; and his sister-in-law, Peri P. Wentworth of W. Yarmouth, MA. Also, surviving are five nieces and 3 nephews. Although Ralph was born in and lived in Rochester NY for one year, he was a true son of Charlottesville. He grew up in Charlottesville with his aunts and uncles and 10 first cousins.

Surviving him are his Aunt Margaret Wood and cousins: Jan Armentrout Redick, Teddy, and Richard Armentrout, John (Moose), David, Gordon Morris and Martha Morris Watson; Douglas and Lyt Wood and Margaret (Tot) Wood Ball, seeing them on almost a daily bases. He loved each cousin, their spouses and their children deeply. Family and friends were the highlight of Ralph’s days. He was inclusive to all he met.

Ralph attended Charlottesville Public Schools and Woodberry Forest. He graduated from Lane High School where he was a student athlete, school leader and valedictorian of his class. He received his undergraduate and law degrees from the University of Virginia. He served as Chairman of the University’s Judiciary Committee. He was a member of Sigma Phi Epsilon, Phi Alpha Delta, the Raven Society and Omicron Delta Kappa.

Upon graduation from law school Ralph began practicing law with McGuire Woods and Battle, then joined Dick Barrick and eventually formed the firm of Feil, Pettit and Williams. He was an excellent lawyer with fairness as his guiding yardstick. He was always appreciative of his partners of over 40 years, David Franzen, David Pettit, Richard Howard Smith, J. Page Williams, and especially his longtime and devoted secretary Beverly Robertson.

He served as a U. S. Magistrate from 1974 – 1978, was a member and former President of the Charlottesville-Albemarle Bar Association, served on and chaired the Seventh District Ethics Committee, was a member of the Virginia Bar Association, the Virginia Trial Lawyers Association, The American Bar Association, and the Thomas Jefferson American Inn of Court.

Ralph was a member of the Charlottesville Area Community Foundation Governing Board for over fifteen years and served as its Chairman from December 2005 through December 2007. During Ralph’s leadership, the Foundation experienced unprecedented asset growth, extended its service to counties surrounding Charlottesville, and initiated outreach to community youth through creation of a Youth Service Award Committee. 

He served on the Board of Directors for Foods of All Nations, Farmington Country Club, he was past President and current Secretary Treasurer of the Bellair Homeowners Association for 30 year, and just recently became involved with The Center (formerly the Senior Center).  

Ralph was never happier than when he was entertaining his family and friends. He was the founder and host of the Sandy Point Golf Invitational, only playing Paradise Rules and enjoyed by his many golfing buddies. He often reminisced about happy hours enjoyed with his closest friends; Rick Carter, Chuck Hammer, Wally Nunley, Mac Peatross, Greg Shelly, and Ronnie Tweel. Ralph never knew a stranger, he loved people and life.

A public visitation will be held from 4 until 6 p.m. on Wednesday, January 30, 2019 at Hill and Wood Funeral Home. Funeral services will be held at Christ Episcopal Church, 120 High Street West, Charlottesville, at 1:30 p.m. on Thursday, January 31, 2019.

In lieu of flowers, please make a donation to the Charlottesville Area Community Foundation, 114 4th St SE, Charlottesville, VA 22902 or The Center, 491 Hillsdale Drive, Charlottesville, VA 22901. Friends may sign the guest book at www.hillandwood.com

John McGuire ’67

John McGuire '66John O’Brien McGuire passed away on Thursday morning, October 12, 2017.

Born and raised in Charlotte, NC, he came with his wife and three sons to Asheville in July of 1978 to open a private practice of his own in general surgery from which he became a most beloved and successful physician for the next 27 years.

He graduated from Davidson College in Davidson, NC and then went on to Durham and entered Duke Medical School for four years. He completed his internship and residency in General Surgery and a fellowship in vascular surgery at the University of Washington in Seattle, Washington. He spent two years as a Major in the Air Force in Myrtle Beach, SC where he was the chief surgeon.

After beginning his practice in Asheville he became a fellow in the American College of Surgeons, and proving his worth he helped form one of the first general surgical partnerships (Regional Surgical Specialists) in Asheville that has since grown and continues to employ exemplary surgeons for this community.

He was a board member of the Buncombe County Medical Society, Chief of Surgery at Mission and St. Joseph’s Hospitals, Board Chairman of Buncombe County Heart Association , member of the North Carolina Surgical Society, Chief of General Surgery Section at Mission and St. Joseph Hospitals.

John’s medicine was bold, and one of his biggest and extremely important accomplishments was the initiation of Laparoscopic Surgery here in Asheville. He designed and brought online an advanced Laparoscopic training suite at Mission Hospital and taught advanced Laparoscopic techniques to surgeons from all over the U.S.

He was then a founding board member of the newly formed Asheville Surgery Center (ASC) and acting Executive Director for a year. If that was not enough, he initiated, organized and established funding for the Mission Comprehensive Regional Breast Cancer Program.

In his retirement, his love of learning new endeavors continued unabated. After all that he had accomplished in his career, he became a certified private pilot, obtained an instrument license and flew all over the country and down to the Bahamas and Mexico. He also began to blow glass, especially at the Penland School of Craft in Penland, NC.

From being a student of glass blowing, he became a board of Trustees member at the school for five years. He was also a member of the Board of Directors at Deerfield Retirement Center in Asheville.

John was an extremely brilliant person who could “fix” anything. He loved to fly. He loved to blow glass. He loved to garden. He loved rebuilding his little Austin Healy Bug Eyed Sprite. He loved to grow and admire his many trees, conifers and roses. He loved to fish. He loved to be with people and he loved to tell his stories (over and over). He loved his family very much.

John was a very talented man, a loving husband, a devoted father, a “favorite” grandfather, a dependable brother and a true friend.

He is preceded in death by his parents, Grace Moseley Robinson McGuire and William Bulgin McGuire and his youngest son, Malcolm Boyd McGuire.

Surviving are his wife, Christine (Tina) McArdle McGuire of 49 years; two sons, John O’Brien McGuire, Jr. (Elizabeth Pagano McGuire) and Peter Buckley McGuire (Jennifer Deuel McGuire); six lovely grandchildren, Larisa Michelle McGuire, Cullen O’Brien McGuire, James William McGuire, Lucy Mei McGuire, Connor Douglas McGuire, Jack Booth McGuire; one sister, Elizabeth McGuire Petty; two brothers William Bulgin McGuire, Jr. and Robert Boyd McGuire plus nieces and nephews and cousins.

A Memorial Service will be held at 11:00 AM on Tuesday, October 17 at Trinity Episcopal Church in downtown Asheville.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to Penland School of Crafts, P.O. Box 37, Penland, NC 28765; Trinity Episcopal Church, 60 Church St. Asheville, NC 28801 and / or the charity of one’s choice .

Groce Funeral Home at Lake Julian is assisting the family and a guest register is available online at www.grocefuneralhome.com.

Published in the Asheville Citizen-Times from Oct. 15 to Oct. 17, 2017

Dennis Dewitt Nicholson ’67

Dennis Dewitt Nicholson III, 71, passed away unexpectedly Sunday evening, October 1, 2017 in Asheville, NC with his brother, Don at his side.

His funeral service will be held Friday, October 6, 2017 in J. HENRY STUHR, INC. DOWNTOWN CHAPEL, 232 Calhoun Street at 2:00 p.m. Burial will be in Magnolia Cemetery following the service. The family will receive friends Thursday from 5:00 p.m. until 7:00 p.m. in the Downtown Chapel.

Dennis was born November 21, 1945, in Birmingham, Alabama, son of the late Colonel D.D. Nicholson, Jr. and Celeste Peeples Nicholson. He graduated Rivers High School ’63, Davidson College ’67 and the University of South Carolina ’70.

He was a residential home builder for many years in Charleston and most recently in Asheville, NC.

Dennis loved his family, college basketball, the Lowcountry and surf-fishing on Seabrook Island. He was an adventurous traveler, enjoyed a knowledge of words, lively conversation and heated debates.

He will be missed by many. Dennis is survived by his son, Dennis Dewitt “Witt” Nicholson IV of New York City, NY; sister, Judy Frey (Keith) of Westport, CT; two brothers: David Nicholson (Martha) of Lewisburg, PA and Donald Nicholson (Christina) of Asheville, NC; along with many nieces, nephews and cousins. He is also survived by his former wife, Melinda Nicholson of Charleston, SC.

Memorials may be made to the Col. D.D. Nicholson, Jr. Scholarship Fund at The Citadel, 171 Moultrie Street, Charleston, SC 29409.

A memorial message may be sent to the family by visiting our website at www.jhenrystuhr.com. Visit our guestbook at www.legacy.com/obituaries/ charleston

Copyright, 2017, The Post and Courier. All Rights Reserved.