Robert R. Murray III ’78

Robert R. Murray III passed away peacefully in his sleep on September 15, 2023, in his home in Charlotte NC after a nearly four-year battle with ALS. Son of Robert (Bob) Roy Murray Jr. and Carol S. Murray, Rob was born and raised in Danville, Va where he developed two lifelong passions: liberty via freedom of speech and basketball, along with all things ACC. Rob graduated from Davidson College in 1978 with a degree in Political Science and he was a member of the Phi Delta Theta fraternity. He continued his studies at the Woodrow Wilson School of Foreign Affairs at the University of Virginia.

Rob’s early business career began in a management training program with Ferguson Enterprises, the nation’s largest plumbing wholesaler. He rose through the ranks quickly excelling in all facets of the business including earning President’s Club membership several years in a row as one of the top salespeople nationally. He was then tapped to be the manager of the Albany, GA location. Soon thereafter, his entrepreneurial spirit beckoned and he left Ferguson to create two new businesses selling and distributing decorative plumbing fixtures and built-in amenities for the home (The Fixture Exchange), and water filtration/water treatment equipment (BOLI Water Quality).

Over the past 15+ years, Rob was successful in starting and growing two new thriving businesses: The Bridge Agency, with partner Ronnie Hall, a manufacturer’s rep business covering 6 states in the Southeast, and Health at Home, Inc. dedicated to designing, manufacturing, sourcing and supplying bathing and showering products that assist disabled persons and seniors to live and bathe safely at home. Many of those products were helpful during his battle with ALS. Health at Home, Inc. continues to thrive in large part due to its talented, caring, and dedicated employees.

As a fitness enthusiast and devoted athlete, Rob played basketball several times per week well into his 60’s, often with men half his age. When no longer able to play himself, he gifted the children in his neighborhood a permanent basketball goal for all to enjoy with a plaque inscribed with his words of wisdom: “Hoop it up!”

In the last few years, Rob continued to support the notion that a society is only free if its citizens retain the right to free speech and expression. Along with a group of other loyal alumni, he helped establish the Davidsonians for Freedom of Thought & Discourse (DFTD) an organization dedicated to Free Speech. Rob served on the organization’s Board of Directors.

Nice, Kind, Humble, Generous, Caring, Devoted and Loving are adjectives that those who knew Rob consistently use to describe him. What’s more, those who were fortunate enough to work with Rob learned, by his example, the true understanding of what a “strong work ethic” means. He loved all kinds of music and had a special affinity for celebrating Halloween.

Rob is survived by his heroic wife, Nancy Miley Murray, his three children, Mary Ramsay White and husband Jonathan White of Pelham AL, Robert Roy Murray IV and wife Nikki Murray of Santa Rosa Beach FL, and Smith Murray of Destin FL, his sister Carol E. Murray and husband Michael Mergen of Lake Wylie, SC and brother William B Murray and wife Pam of Richmond VA, his two grandchildren, three stepsons; Reed Gaskin, David Gaskin and Ross Gaskin, their wives and their five children.

A memorial service will take place 1pm, Saturday, September 30, 2023, at Hankins and Whittington Funeral Service, 1111 East Blvd., Charlotte, NC 28203.

In lieu of flowers, Rob would have appreciated any donations to go to Davidsonians for Freedom of Thought and Discourse (DFTD).

DFTD is a free speech nonprofit in Davidson North Carolina and checks can be mailed to DFTD, PO Box 355, Davidson, NC 28036

Frederick R. Bell ’78

Frederick Raymond Bell passed away peacefully at his home in Mechanicsville, Virginia Saturday, January 21, 2023, with his wife, Christine, by his side. He was 65 years old.

Fred was preceded in death by his parents, Robert and Martha Bell. He is survived by his wife, Chris; his siblings Steve (Liz), Molly (Angelina), and Amy (Jeff); nieces and nephews Laura, Matthew, Sam, Amy, Thy, Peter, and Alex; his aunt, Mary Jo Moody, and her children, Greg Moody (Laurie) and Diane Spurlock (Mike); and other cousins and extended family. He deeply missed his special pets Brewster and Rosie, who also predeceased him.

Fred had many great friends from Western Guilford High School in Greensboro, North Carolina, from which he graduated in 1974. Other friendships were made during his year at Davidson College, his undergraduate years at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, and his time at Virginia Commonwealth University, his alma mater for a Master of Business Administration and Master of Economics. Even many of his students when he taught at the University of Phoenix considered Fred a friend as well as a teacher.

His career at the Internal Revenue Service lasted 30+ years. He enjoyed his job but the greatest blessing it provided was meeting Chris there. They both retired from the IRS and enjoyed their years of relaxation, especially at their river cottage in West Point.
After his injury in 1975 at Virginia Beach that resulted in his quadriplegia, Fred accomplished a great deal and had a happy life. He added a lot to the lives of the people around him, as well, with his intelligence, his compassionate heart, and his twisted sense of humor. An example of his compassion is the care he took of his mother after she became a widow in 2004. Fred and Chris had a home built for her next door to their home, and he made sure she was comfortable over the next 15 years until her death.

He received great care from his parents, Chris, and special friend Paul Welch. The family would also like to thank the caregivers who assisted him over the past few years, including round-the-clock care over the last few weeks, Susan, Sonya, and Jennifer.
Arrangements are being handled by Affinity Funeral Service, Richmond, Virginia.

Henry Clifton Hester ’78

Henry Clifton Hester, 65, died peacefully on September 17, 2022 with his wife and children by his side. Cliff was born on September 19, 1956 in Elizabethtown, NC to the late Anne Sutton Hester and the late Worth Hutchinson Hester. After his birth mother’s death in 1958, Cliff was raised by his loving mother, Anna Ruth King Hester. 

Cliff is survived by his devoted wife of 39 years, Erin, his three children, Katherine Hester Doehring (Jamison), Clay Sutton Hester (Eliza), and Corinne Hester Crews (Connor), and four grandsons who were the light of his life, Henry Jamison Doehring, James Clifton Crews, Robert Lewis Hester, and Benjamin Hughes Doehring. He is also survived by his mother, Anna Ruth, and seven siblings: Beth Snyder (David), Emily Villegas (Bobby), Ruth Robertson, Worth Hester, Jr. (Karla), Matthew Hester (Cindy), Mark Hester (Rebecca), and Anita Willington (Brian). Cliff was dearly loved by many nieces and nephews.

Cliff was a 1974 graduate of East Bladen High School. In 1978, he graduated from Davidson College, where he served as a captain of the football team and met the love of his life, Erin. He received his law degree from the University of North Carolina School of Law in 1981. After practicing briefly in Atlanta, Cliff returned home to Elizabethtown to join his father’s law practice at the firm that continues today as Hester, Grady & Hester.

He practiced law in Elizabethtown for 39 years and was known as a compassionate and tireless advocate for his clients. A self-described “country lawyer,” his general law practice served many in need in Southeastern North Carolina and beyond.   

Cliff served as the Town Attorney for the Town of Clarkton and the Town of White Lake for over 35 years. His commitment to professionalism was known by many across the state, as he was elected to the North Carolina State Bar Council, on which he served for nine years. Cliff will be deeply missed by many clients, colleagues, and faithful employees.  

In 1993, Cliff and his wife Erin moved to Wilmington, NC, where they raised their three children. He was an amazing father and husband, nimbly balancing his call to serve others through his law practice and the joy he found in family life. He could be found cheering from the sidelines of his children’s sporting events, building sandcastles at Wrightsville Beach, reading aloud or reciting his favorite stories and poems, and imparting wisdom to his adoring children. 

Cliff was a faithful member of St. Andrews-Covenant Presbyterian Church where he served as an elder and taught Sunday School to both children and adults. Cliff lived out his faith in all facets of his life and always put others first. His kindness and gentleness were eclipsed only by his humility. 

A memorial service will be held at St. Andrews-Covenant Presbyterian Church in Wilmington, NC at 2:00 pm on Friday, September 23, 2022. A reception in Brown Fellowship Hall will follow the service. The family will also receive visitors at the Elizabethtown Baptist Church, 1800 West Broad Street, Elizabethtown, NC between 4:00 and 6:00 pm on Thursday, September 22, 2022.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to St. Andrews-Covenant Presbyterian Church or the Davidson College Athletic Fund (Football Gridiron Club).

Philip Young Blue ’78

Philip Young Blue, 65 of Sanford passed away Friday, June 24, 2022. A Memorial service will be held at 2:30 pm Friday (7/1/2022) at Eureka Presbyterian Church in Carthage.

Philip was born in Sanford, son of the late Dr John F. Blue and Ruth A Sinsabaugh Blue. Mr. Blue was a graduate of Davidson College and retired from the State of New York as the Senior Law Librarian.

Mr. Blue is survived by his brother Dr John F. Blue Jr, and wife Theresa of Sanford; niece, Jennifer Susan Blue of Raleigh and nephews, John Christopher Blue and Glenn Tyler Blue both of Fayetteville.

Memorial contributions can be made to Parkinson’s Foundation, 200 SE 1st Street, Suite 800, Miami, FL 33131.

Raymond Walter Hines ’78

Raymond Walter Hines, 66, passed away at home in Charlotte, North Carolina, on January 21, 2022.

Ray was born in Atlanta, Georgia, to Joseph and Beverly Hines, and raised in Asheville, North Carolina. Ray’s intellectual curiosity and strong work ethic earned him a Bachelor of Arts in History from Davidson College. Ray graduated from the University of Kentucky College of Law, where he was the Editor-In-Chief of Kentucky’s oldest law journal and met his wife of 34 years, Bonnie.

An accomplished attorney, Ray worked in private practice for nearly ten years before serving as in-house counsel in the pharmaceutical industry. Later, he joined the legal department of Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center. Throughout his career, Ray applied his meticulous attention to detail, parsing complex issues into elegant solutions. His colleagues remember him for his respectful and reassuring presence.

Ray brought the same calm dependability to his home life. The quintessential family man, Ray was a devoted and much-loved husband, son, father, and brother who placed his family at the center of his life. He is remembered for his quiet words of support, his many small acts of kindness, and a lifetime of selflessness. He brightened the lives of others not only with compassion but also through his keen sense of humor. He was always ready with a witty comment, a lively story, and his easy laugh.

As a devoted Christian, Ray appreciated all of God’s creation as seen through his love of nature and animals. Many family vacations were spent hiking in national parks across the country. He and Bonnie also traveled to Europe to explore other cultures and landscapes. He took great pleasure in spending time with his wife and children. He also loved the family dogs, reading, and cheering on his Kentucky Wildcats.

Ray is survived by his spouse, Bonnie Atakkaan Hines; mother, Beverly Olson Hines; son, Matthew Hines; daughter, Sarah Hines (Dylan Merrill); three siblings: brother, Russ Hines, sister, Ann Hines McCurry (Tony), and brother, Robbie Hines (Kim Chamlee). In addition, he is survived by numerous nieces, nephews, and other extended family members. He was preceded in death by his father, Joseph Henry Hines.

According to his wishes, the family will not be holding a funeral service and will be celebrating his life privately. The family suggests sending memorial contributions to your local Humane Society in Ray’s name.

Online condolences may be made at

Published by The News & Observer on Jan. 30, 2022.