John Ware Weathers ’73

John Ware Weathers, age 70, died on February 13, 2022 at his home in Chapel Hill, NC.  

John was born on March 19, 1951 in Rutherfordton, NC to the late James Flay Weathers, Jr. and Annabel Ware Weathers. He graduated from East Rutherfordton High School in 1969 where he was Senior Class President. He received a Bachelor’s Degree in Economics from Davidson College in 1973, a Master’s Degree in Business Administration from Georgia State University in Atlanta in 1978, and a Juris Doctor Degree from the Woodrow Wilson College of Law in 1983.

Following graduation from Davidson, John worked in banking in Atlanta for 10 years, where he met and married Janie Benson in 1981. He also worked in economic development for the state of Delaware and during John and Janie’s two-year tenure in Mexico City, was a business consultant helping local companies improve their processes and efficiency.

In 1990, they returned to NC to raise their sons. John owned Hubcap Annie, a small business in Raleigh selling hubcaps and wheels to individuals and companies throughout the US. He was well-known for an extensive inventory and friendly, attentive customer service to the many people who visited his store over almost 25 years.

John was a devoted and supportive husband to Janie, and a loving father to his sons, Andrew and Scott.  John was a member of Olin T. Binkley Baptist Church in Chapel Hill, and active as a parent leader in Cub Scouts, Rainbow Soccer, Chapel Hill Marching Band, and the NC Boys’ Choir, where he also sang with the adult chamber choir. He was an avid photographer, consumer of current events, and enthusiastic traveler in the US and internationally (United Kingdom, Spain, France, Portugal, Italy, Greece, Germany, Mexico, Costa Rica, Peru, Ethiopia). John and Janie fulfilled a retirement dream in 2019 to live in England for several months. They welcomed many individuals to their home, including a refugee family from Myanmar and a high-school exchange student from Bolivia. 

During the last years of his life, John faced a progressively debilitating illness with patience, grace, and kindness, maintaining his characteristic positive outlook and sense of humor. He is survived by his wife, Janie of Chapel Hill, his sons, Andrew Weathers (Gretchen Korsmo) of Littlefield, Texas, and Scott Weathers (Mikaela Saccoccio) of Stowe, Vermont. He is also survived by his step-mother, Ruth S. Weathers of Forest City, NC, brother, James F. Weathers III and sister, Elizabeth W. Harrill, both of Forest City, and six nieces and nephews.  In addition to his parents, John was preceded in death by a foster son, Thant Sin. 

A memorial service will be announced at a later date.  The family is in the care of Walker’s Funeral Home in Chapel Hill.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests memorials be made to the Thant Sin Scholarship Fund at Alamance Community College, using one of the three options:

Mail a contribution to:

Thant Sin Scholarship Fund

c/o The ACC Foundation

Post Office Box 8000

Graham, NC 27253.  

Please indicate Memorial for John Weathers in the memo line.

Click on the following link:

Text “WEATHERS” to 53-555 on a mobile phone.

William David Varner ’73

Dr. William David Varner, Junior, MD, 70, of Columbus, Georgia died on January 20, 2022 peacefully alongside his wife and five daughters. Funeral services will be held Tuesday, January 25, 2022 at 2:30PM at St. Paul United Methodist Church. Visitation prior to the service at St. Paul at 1:00PM.

David was born on July 24, 1951 in Franklin, Virginia, the son of Dr. William David Varner, Senior and Mrs. Ruth Hungerford Varner. He graduated from Hardaway High School, went to Davidson College for undergraduate school where he was a Sigma Alpha Epsilon, and received his Doctor of Medicine from Medical College of Georgia. David then completed his internship at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia, and his residency at the University of Texas and Hermann Hospital, Houston Texas.

After completing his surgical training in 1985, David returned to his hometown to fulfill his life’s ambition by joining a passionate and exceptional group of surgeons to form Columbus Surgical Associates, made up of his dear friends Chuck Scarborough, MD, the late Luther Wolff, MD and the late William Wolff, MD. A highly respected general surgeon, David poured his heart and soul into his practice and patients.

His passion for helping people extended into his community where he served on various boards including Boy’s and Girl’s Club, Springer Opera House, Columbus Symphony, LOCHAWABA, Leadership Georgia, Chattahoochee Valley Community Foundation, Chattahoochee Riverkeeper, The Columbus Ballet, Synovus, St. Paul United Methodist Church, and St. Francis Hospital. He is past president of both the Muscogee County Medical Society and The Columbus Ballet Board of Trustees.

When a tragic accident in 2000 left him quadriplegic and unable to practice surgery, David used his vast medical knowledge consulting for St. Francis Hospital and AFLAC. He also filled his time with efforts to better this community through philanthropy. Particularly dear to his heart was Easter Seals of West Georgia where he served as chairman of a 6-year long capital campaign.

While David will be remembered for the work he did in his beloved community, according to him, his greatest source of pride was his family. David was happiest when surrounded by his wife, their five daughters, his five sons-in-law, and his 12 grandchildren. He is survived by his wife, Mary Robinson Varner, his daughters, Helen Manderson (Coate), Mary Lovett Beck (Jeff), Caroline Fields (Brandon), Sally Watkins (Tommy), and Anna Garcia (Nick) and his grandchildren: Sally, Wynne, Lovett, Gardner, Julianna, Bennett, Mims, Eliza Chance, Mary Helen, Eli, David, and Will, as well as his siblings Ann Viamonte (Luis), Caroline Coburn (Charles), John Varner (Kathy) and Rob Varner (Sista) and a host of nieces and nephews.

The family is grateful to his caregiver, Matthew Tyner, for the loving, compassionate care that he gave him.

In lieu of flowers, the family suggests memorial donations may be made to Easter Seals West Georgia, 2515 Double Churches Rd, Columbus, Georgia 31909 and St. Paul United Methodist Church, 2101 Wildwood Avenue, Columbus, Georgia 31906.

To sign the online guest registry, please visit

Samuel Alexander “Alex” Beam ’73

Samuel Alexander “Alex” Beam Jr. went to his eternal home with his Heavenly Father and Savior, Jesus Christ, on July 15, 2021, after battling a long illness. He was surrounded by his adoring family.

Alex was born in Iredell County on February 7, 1947, to Samuel and Dorothy London Beam. He was preceded in death by his parents and his granddaughter, Eden Tilton.

Surviving family includes his wife, Daisy Alexander Beam; children, Michele Tilton and husband Keith, Samuel Beam III and wife Sara, Travis Beam, and Darla Pastwick and husband Derek; grandchildren Luke and Benjamin Tilton, and Savannah and Sailor Beam, all of Mooresville, N.C.; and sister, Nancy Tant and husband Brian of Huntersville, N.C.

Alex was a successful entrepreneur and businessman. He worked very hard throughout his life, beginning with his father’s milk delivery business as a young child. He took over his father’s milk delivery business, Beam Distributors, and continued to deliver milk after his father’s unexpected passing after high school. He worked full-time plus more before and after class while working his way through seven years of college.

After graduating from Mooresville Senior High school, Alex first attended King’s College in Charlotte earning an Associates in Science in Business. He then went on to attend Davidson College, where he graduated in 1973 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Political Science. An article was written on him upon graduation titled “He Earned a Davidson Diploma the Hard Way.” It described how Alex would wake at 2 a.m. to deliver milk, go to all his classes, go back to work, then do his homework. Dr. James Causey, Alex’s Spanish professor, who became a close friend and best man in his wedding, was quoted in the article: “Alex is modest and acts as though his life is nothing special. But Alex’s story is the most spectacular I can think of … I have never known, in all my forty years of teaching, a boy to work quite so hard as he has … he is an inspiration to others.” In that article Alex attributed most of his success to “God’s strength.” That sums up most of Alex’s life — he was very hard-working, successful yet humble, God-fearing, and faithful.

While in college, Alex joined the Davidson Volunteer Fire Department, and would occasionally leave class to go fight a fire, retiring from the department after volunteering for over 35 years. During his time of firefighting, he won both the Mecklenburg County Distinguished Service and Lifetime Fireman Awards. Alex was also active in the Davidson Lion’s Club, where he won the Lion of the Year Award. In 1982 he was a founder of the Annual Davidson Christmas Parade (now the North Mecklenburg Christmas Parade) and helped managed it for many years. Alex was an active member of the National Model T Club and Model A Club. He was an active member of the local Hornet’s Nest Regional Antique Automobile Club of America (AACA) and National AACA Vintage Car Club most of his adult life. He and his wife Daisy won numerous achievement awards for their preservation of historical automobiles at both the local and national level.

Besides the love he showed for God and his family, vintage automobiles, history, and race cars were his greatest passions. Saving money from mowing lawns, Alex bought his first car at age 15, a Ford A Model, and he began doing work on the car over the years — lovingly restoring it and he never sold it. While in college in 1968, seeing a need for parts for his Ford Model A, he established and operated Beam Distributors Antique Automobile Parts business from a small shop he built behind his mother’s home in Davidson. With the help of his wife and young children, he would sell and ship various car parts all over the world. A short time later, he also established Beam Distributors Trailer Sales, running it for over 40 years. During that time, he enjoyed working close daily with his son Sam for over 25 years selling trailers and passing on his business knowledge to all of his children. He continued to manage and operate those businesses alongside his loving wife and children, who are honored to continue operating some of those family businesses to this day.

From his youth, Alex began to collect extensive knowledge of vintage automobiles and race cars with the dream of opening a car museum to share his love and knowledge for these historic treasures. In 2001, he established Memory Lane Museum in Mooresville, where he was curator until his passing. Through this avenue, he provided automobiles, props and set locations for many commercials, print, and motion pictures. His extensive knowledge of automobiles will remain a legacy.

Alex was an active, long-time member of Bethel Presbyterian Church in Cornelius. He taught Sunday School and was a deacon and elder at the church. His kids will always cherish that their mother and father taught them about Jesus, not only at home and in their life, but by actively serving the Church and Community. He cherished his wife, and children and his grandchildren. He was honored to help baptize all five of his grandchildren in the church he so faithfully served.

Throughout his life, Alex openly professed his ardent love for his Savior, Jesus Christ. His main concern each day was to teach his children the importance of the Word and to dedicate their lives to serving Christ. He also wanted others to know the Gospel and that life with Jesus was more precious than anything on earth. 2 Corinthians 5:8 tells us, “We are confident, I say, and would prefer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord.”

A Service of Witness to the Resurrection of Jesus Christ will be held in Cornelius at Bethel Presbyterian Church at 3 p.m. on Thursday, July 22, 2021. The family requests no flowers and in lieu of flowers, donations be made to either Samaritan’s Purse or the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association.

Cavin-Cook Funeral Home and Crematory, Mooresville, is serving the Beam family. Condolences may be sent to the family at

Samuel Lee Vaughan ’73

Samuel Lee Vaughan, age 70, of Nags Head, passed away on Saturday, March 6, 2021, in his home.

Before retiring and relocating to the Outer Banks, Sammy owned and operated the Tomahawk Motel, founded in 1959 by his parents, Craig and Tucie Vaughan, of Ahoskie, NC. In addition to managing the family business, he also served as the CEO of Craig B. Vaughan and Company, and managed multiple rental properties in the Ahoskie area. Additionally, he owned and maintained various sections of farmland throughout Hertford, Bertie and Northampton counties and was devoted to tree farming on these properties. Upon retirement, he continued his passion for real estate and owned and managed multiple vacation rental homes on the Outer Banks.

Sammy was an active member of the Hertford County Board of Education for many years, The Roanoke Chowan Hospital Board, as well as various other community organizations during his years in Ahoskie. He was a serving member of the Ahoskie Library Board, as well as a board member for Wachovia Bank. In addition, he served on the North Carolina Symphony as one of its contributing representatives of the board.

He was an avid fisherman and hunter and relished the times spent with his friends on their “Vodka Dew” hunting expeditions. Because of his great love of the outdoors, during his retirement, he also volunteered at the Nag’s Head Fishing Pier for over fifteen years.

Sammy graduated from Ahoskie High School in 1969 and went on to obtain his Bachelor’s Degree in English Literature from Davidson College and his Master’s Degree in English from the University of Virginia. He oftentimes enjoyed addressing himself in the third person as “Sammy Vaughan, B.A., M.A.” When he was not calling his daughter’s college dorm room to recite Al Pacino’s monologue from The Scent of a Woman, he enjoyed parading around his home quizzing his family members on Jeopardy trivia questions such as, “Who is the author of Madame Bovary?”

He prided himself on answering every Jeopardy question correctly and would offer fifty cents to anyone else who could do the same.

He is survived by his wife, Colleen, of Nags Head; his daughter, Jessica and her husband Jim Rudd, of Durham, NC; as well as two granddaughters, Kendall and Morgan Rudd, also of Durham. Also left to cherish his memory are his sister, Nita Bell, of Kinston, NC; his stepson, Jason Fornes, of Seattle, WA; and longtime employee and friend, Cleveland Watson.

Garrett-Sykes Funeral Service – Ahoskie Chapel is handling the arrangements for the Vaughan family and online condolences can be directed to the family by visiting

Copyright © 2021 Roanoke-Chowan News Herald, Boone Newspapers Inc., All rights reserved.

John Kenneth Wackman ’73

John Kenneth Wackman, 69, died suddenly of an apparent heart attack on Friday, Jan. 8, 2021, at his home in Kingston, N.Y.

A former resident of Portsmouth and Eliot, John spent 10 years with New Hampshire Public Television in Durham. As NHPTV’s Executive Producer, he worked on New Hampshire Crossroads with Fritz Wetherbee, The Making of Ken Burns’ Baseball, and Ciao Italia.

Born Dec. 1, 1951, in New York City, John attended Davidson College in North Carolina. He graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with a bachelor’s degree in natural resources analysis and a master’s in communication arts.

After a happy stint with a Madison-based children’s theater group, he began his career in television production, first with Madison’s NBC affiliate. After leaving the Seacoast, John became co-creator of the Hallmark Channel’s daily show, “New Morning.”

In his next and ultimately final act, John moved to New York’s Hudson Valley, where he founded one of the first Repair Cafes in the United States, launching a movement that spread throughout the region. John’s first book, “Repair Revolution: How Fixers Are Transforming Our Throwaway Culture” (coauthored by Elizabeth Knight), was published in October 2020. In all of his positions and throughout his life, John always sought to bring people together, share their joy, and highlight their accomplishments.

John is survived by his children, Nathaniel K.S. Wackman (Shewanna) of Chicago, and Lucy S.S. Wackman of Kittery, and his grandchildren Nicholas and Zoe of Chicago; his partner, Holly Shader; his former wife, Susan Sinnott; his sister Anne W. Oros (John), brother Christopher B. Wackman (Nancy) and many beloved nieces, nephews, cousins, and dear friends from all parts of his life.

A private burial took place on Jan. 13 at the Rosendale Plains Cemetery Natural Burial Ground, Rosendale, N.Y. His family looks forward to gathering at a future date to celebrate John’s inextinguishable bright light.

Donations to the Repair Cafe of the Hudson Valley and Catskills can be made in John’s honor through Sustainable Hudson Valley, the project’s fiscal sponsor, online (specifying Repair Café as your chosen project) or by mail c/o Post Office Box 3364, Kingston, NY 12402 with “Repair Cafe” in the subject line.

Copyright © 2021 The Portsmouth Herald. All rights reserved.