Burkey Belser ’69

Burkey Belser was a graphic designer best known as the creator of the Nutrition Facts label mandated by the FDA, which adorns most food sold in the United States. He died on September 25, 2023 in Bethesda, Maryland, of bladder cancer at the age of 76. 

James Burkey Belser was born in Columbia, S.C., on July 8, 1947. His father was a lawyer, and his mother was an interior designer. After divorcing in 1952, his mother remarried and moved to Memphis, where he and his sister were raised.

As a boy, he loved New Yorker cartoons, and he often redrew them. He majored in English and minored in studio art at Davidson College in North Carolina, graduating in 1969.

Mr. Belser then studied French literature at the University of Montpellier in southern France, and when he returned, in 1970, he got a job as circulation director of Avant Garde, an arts and politics magazine published by Ralph Ginzburg.

He left after a year, traveling with a girlfriend to Turkey, where they embarked on a 3,300-mile journey to Kathmandu, Nepal.

Upon returning to the United States, Mr. Belser and his girlfriend stopped briefly in Washington, where artist Lou Stovall let them crash at his house. They planned to settle in Boston, but Stovall convinced them to stay, getting Mr. Belser a job as business manager of the Righteous Apple, a graphic design studio connected to New Thing Art & Architecture Center, a nonprofit.

Mr. Belser set off on his own 18 months later, teaching himself graphic design and creating samples of magazine brochures, posters and logos to show prospective clients. He made hundreds of calls, resulting in handfuls of meetings. He persisted and ultimately launched Burkey Belser Inc. in 1978, the same year he married Donna Greenfield, a government lawyer. She started a consulting company focusing on professional services, and the two entities eventually merged into Greenfield/Belser. Their design firm was an early and dominant player in legal advertising and branding, a new category of business that opened up following the Supreme Court’s 1977 ruling in Bates v. State Bar of Arizona that advertising for legal services was protected commercial speech. The firm grew to more than 40 employees and was also a leader in arts branding, book catalogue covers and corporate design. Finn Partners, a global design agency, bought Greenfield/Belser in 2016.

As an independent designer, Belser won a Gold Award at the Art Directors Club of Washington, D.C., for the 18th century styled brochure he designed for the law firm McGuire Woods & Battle. His work helped change the way law firms presented and marketed themselves. Belser was also asked to design Energy Guide labels for appliances sold in the U.S. Based on that success, he was drafted to create the now ubiquitous Nutrition Facts label found on all food sold in the U.S., a design that is now used across the world. This was quickly followed by the Drug Facts label, also in wide use.

When not creating, Belser wrote about design principles in such books as “25 Years of Legal Branding” and “Best of Corporate Identity Design.” He won a Presidential Design Award, a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Art Directors Club of Metropolitan Washington, an American Graphic Design Award, and honors from American Corporate Identity, Creativity magazine, the International Engraved Graphics Association, the Society for Marketing Professional Services, the Webby Awards, and many others. 

In addition to his wife, Donna Greenfield, survivors include two children, Mikell Belser Rice of Bethesda, Md., and James Belser of Aurora, Colo.; two grandchildren; a sister; and a half brother.

James Cooper Adams ’69

James Cooper Adams, 75, of Mount Airy, passed away Tuesday, Feb. 14, 2023, at Northern Regional Hospital. He was born June 1, 1947, in Forsyth County, the son of the late Allie Cooper and Margaret Greble Adams.

Mr. Adams graduated from Reynolds High School in Winston-Salem and later graduated from Davidson College, where he was a member of the Phi Delta Theta fraternity. He served in the United States Navy from 1970 until 1973.

He joined First Citizens Bank in 1973 and worked with the bank as the City Executive of Mount Airy until his retirement. Mr. Adams served on the North Carolina Banking Commission and served as chairman of the Board of Directors of the Mount Airy Chamber of Commerce. He also served on the Board of Directors of the Surry Arts Council and was a member of the Mount Airy Rotary Club. Mr. Adams was a pillar of the Mount Airy community. He will be dearly missed.

Surviving are his wife, Virginia “Ginny” Beddall Adams; his daughter and son-in-law, Frances Brooks and Philip Voss; his granddaughter, Greta Beekman Voss; and his sister, Katherine Elizabeth Adams.

A celebration of life service will be held Friday, Feb. 24, at 2 p.m. at Central United Methodist Church, with the Reverend Danny Miller officiating. A private interment will be held at Forsyth Memorial Park in Winston-Salem. The family will receive friends Friday from 1 until 2 p.m. at the church. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to Central United Methodist Church, 1909 North Main Street, Mount Airy, NC 27030; The Surry Arts Council, 218 Rockford Street, Mount Airy, NC 27030; Mountain Valley Hospice, 1427 Edgewood Drive, Suite 101, Mount Airy, NC 27030; or Surry Animal Rescue, 1106 South South Street, Mount Airy, NC 27030. The funeral arrangements are entrusted to Moody Funeral Services in Mount Airy. Online condolences may be made at www.moodyfuneralservices.com.

Michael Vann Milton ’69

Michael Vann Milton, 76, passed away peacefully on January 20, 2023 in Community Hospice care at Baptist Hospital after a courageous battle with Lewy body dementia.

Mike was born August 14, 1946 in Monroe, North Carolina. A top student, he graduated from Monroe High School and Davidson College, where he majored in English. Following undergraduate studies he moved to Jacksonville, Florida. While working at Prudential, he met Elizabeth Gibbs Milton. They married in 1973.

He earned an MBA in Accounting from the University of North Florida. Mike worked as a CPA and as a corporate financial officer for more than 40 years.

Mike was a voracious reader and especially loved author Vladimir Nabokov. He loved music, including artists such as Eric Clapton and Linda Ronstadt, and enjoyed attending the Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra.

Mike deeply treasured his close friends from his Davidson Sigma Chi days, ‘The Big Chill’ group. Mike and Elizabeth traveled with the Chill group each year for nearly 50 years.

He was quick to make friends in every situation and filled his relationships with joy and laughter. As a beloved parent and grandparent, he was unfailingly supportive and instilled values such as diligence, education, and kindness to others.

Mike is survived by his wife of 49 years Elizabeth, son Michael Milton (Julia) and daughter Sara Leutzinger (Mark), and five grandchildren Jane, Stella and Flora Milton, Lindley and Walter Leutzinger, as well as siblings Susan Drew (Larry), Jackie Gillespie (Glen), Mary Warshaw, Stewart Milton (Terry), John Milton, Alice Butler, and beloved aunt Ruth Simon.

A memorial service will be held on February 9 at 3 p.m. at Episcopal Church of the Good Shepherd at 1100 Stockton Street in Jacksonville, FL.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made in Mike’s memory to the UF Foundation, PO 100243, Gainesville, FL 32610. Donations will be used for Lewy body dementia research at the University of Florida. Online donations are also accepted at fixel.ufhealth.org.

John Turney Liipfert Sr. ’69

John Turney Liipfert, Sr., age 75 of Lewes, Delaware, passed away on Saturday, December 24, 2022, at Beebe Healthcare, in Lewes, Delaware, with his wife, Mary and caretaker Kathy by his side. He was born on February 15, 1947, in Washington, DC, son of the late Eugene T. and Anne (Turney) Liipfert.

Mr. Liipfert earned a bachelor’s degree from Davidson College in 1969. While working toward his academic degree, he enrolled in the Reserve Officer’s Training Corps, and was commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant at graduation and was promoted to 1st Lieutenant. Mr. Liipfert was awarded a bronze star for bravery in Vietnam. After his honorable discharge, he built a career in insurance and marketing.

On August 1, 1969, Mr. Liipfert married the love of his life, Mary Matan, in Chevy Chase, Maryland, and together they enjoyed 53 years of marriage. He had many and varied interests and hobbies, including RV’ing across country with Mary, playing bridge with his Lewes friends and playing guitar and singing folk songs with friends around the campfire. Mr. Liipfert’ s next greatest love was for flying, which he had to stop due to his MS diagnosis.

He was a longtime parishioner at Holy Redeemer Church in Kensington, Maryland, as well as a docent at the Cannonball House for the Lewes Historical Society. Mr. Liipfert and his wife, Mary, also enjoyed delivering Meals on Wheels in Lewes. Time spent with his family was what he treasured more than anything. Mr. Liipfert was a loving and devoted husband, father, grandfather, and friend. Loved by many, he will be deeply missed by all who had the good fortune to know him.

He is survived by his beloved wife, Mary Matan Liipfert, his daughter, Carrie Anne Messina (Matthew), his son, John Turney Liipfert, Jr. (Sarah Hammond); his grandchildren: John Patrick Caulfield Scanlon, and James Draper Messina; his brother, Christian Liipfert (Pamela), his niece, Jocelyn Liipfert Lam (Paul), and his nephew, Todd Liipfert (Taylor); all the extended Matan family, and caretaker, Kathy Bennett. The Liipfert family would like to thank all the kind caregivers at Harbor Health Care.

Mass of Christian Burial will be held on Friday January 13, 2022, at 1:00 PM at St. Edmond Catholic Church, 409 King Charles Avenue, Rehoboth Beach, DE, where friends may visit beginning at 12:00 PM. In lieu of flowers, please consider donating to National Multiple Sclerosis Society https://mssociety.donordrive.com/campaign/John-Liipfert-Memorial.

Milton Douglas “Doug” Crisp ’69

Milton Douglas Crisp was born on April 22, 1947 in Welch, West Virginia to Milton Boyd Crisp and Mary Phyllis Scott Crisp. He lived happily in Welch until he was 15 years old, when he and his family moved to Roanoke, Virginia. He graduated from Cave Spring High School, where he was not only an excellent student, but also President of his Junior and Senior classes as well as President of the Monogram Club. He loved playing football for Coach Bill Edmunds, and found himself somewhat frequently in difficulty for his antics in the classroom.

He graduated from Davidson College in 1969. His fondest memories of Davidson were those of the Kappa Sig house, where he met lifelong friends he enjoyed until his death.

After a year of “career planning” at Cimmaron Apartments in Charlotte in 1969-1970, he joined First Union National Bank in 1970, where he had a diverse career that included the credit card division, Marketing, Director of Advertising, commercial lending, City Executive, Head of Consumer Real Estate Lending, and Consumer Credit Division Head.
After 26 years there, he left to form a mortgage banking company, Decision One Mortgage, with some associates from First Union in April of 1996. He retired from Decision One in February, 2000, after what was the most fun job he ever had.

He met his wife of 52 years, Barbara Earl, at First Union. At the time of their wedding, the bank had a nepotism policy, and since Barbara was much more marketable, she left the bank and Doug stayed.

He spent his retirement years mostly in Blowing Rock, where Barbara and he had their honeymoon in 1971. At one time, he was actually a pretty fair golfer, but eventually lost interest in the game later in life.

During his career, he was active in civic affairs, having served on the Boards of the Gaston County Chamber of Commerce, the Lumberton Area Chamber of Commerce, the Gaston and Mecklenburg United Ways, and also served as Chairman of the Board of Deacons and as a Ruling Elder in the Presbyterian Church.

Doug was a past speaker at both the North Carolina and Mississippi Bankers Association, a former instructor at the School of Banking of the South, and a former lecturer at the Consumer Bankers School at The University of Virginia.

He is survived by his wife, Barbara, his sister, Susan Crisp, his daughter, Jennifer Mathis and her husband James, his son Andy Crisp and his wife Katie, and his four delightful grandchildren, Grace, Owen, Anna Kate, and Mary Charlotte. He always felt his children were his greatest legacy. He dearly loved his daughter in law and his son in law, as well as his seven Scotties.

Paraphrasing the Rolling Stones,” Dougie liked women, wine, and song, and all the special pleasures of doing something wrong”. He lived life to the fullest and dearly loved his family and friends. “The road goes on forever, and the party never ends”.
Austin and Barnes Funeral Home is serving the Crisp Family.