Bill Bigger ’85

Rev. Dr. William “Bill” John Bigger, 56, was welcomed into his heavenly home on May 1, 2019, after a short battle with brain cancer. His faith in God and devotion to his family carried him through this struggle and ultimately gave him peace.

Bill was born to Dr. John Bigger and the late Sarah “Sally” Bigger on January 22, 1963 in St. Louis, MO. He is a 1985 graduate of Davidson College with a BA in religion, and a 1990 graduate of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary with an MDiv. He earned his Doctorate of Ministry degree from McAfee School of Theology, Atlanta, GA in 2008.

Bill served as senior pastor at Hope Valley Baptist Church in Durham, NC since 2012. Pastor Bill previously had the honor of serving at Enka Baptist Church, Drexel First Baptist Church, Briarcliff Baptist Church, and First Baptist Church of Rome Georgia. His professional ministry began in 1985 as a US-2 missionary in Charlotte. It was during this time that he met the love of his life, Leigh Thompson. They were married in February 1987. 

Bill was a pastor truly gifted in caring for others. He was kind, compassionate, soft spoken, and self-sacrificing. Bill helped raise his two children with patience and humility, helping with their homework as well as coaching and cheering them on in their sports endeavors. He loved walking his dog Sammy and serving with the youth and children in his church. His greatest love was playing with and bragging on his grandbabies Clara and Isaac. 

Bill was blessed with a large and loving family. He is survived by his wife Leigh; his son Matthew William Bigger (Lauren); his daughter Kaylee Bigger Kuzbary (Daniel); his two precious grandchildren Clara Marie Bigger and Isaac William Bigger; his father Dr. John Bigger and Carolyn “CJ” Bigger; his siblings Bob Bigger, David Bigger, Robbie Bell, and Buffie Harper and their families; Leigh’s parents Dan and Sara Thompson and his 8 brothers-in-law and 8 sisters-in-law.

He also leaves behind 16 nieces and nephews and 11 great-nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his mother, Sally Bigger.

Clements Funeral Home in Durham, NC is handling funeral arrangements. Receiving of friends and family will take place at Hope Valley Baptist Church in Durham, NC on Saturday, May 4th from 5pm until 8pm. A memorial service will take place on Sunday, May 5th at 4pm at Hope Valley Baptist Church. Officiants will be Rev. Dr. Christopher Ingram, Rev. Dr. Steve Bolton and Rev. Amy Herring. A fellowship meal will be served for all family and friends following the service.

An additional memorial service will be held at Pritchard Memorial Baptist Church in Charlotte, NC on Tuesday, May 7th with Rev. Bobby Morrow officiating. There will be a receiving of family and friends from 2-3 pm and a service to follow at 3pm.

In lieu of flowers, memorial gifts can be made to Hope Valley Baptist Church: 6900 Garrett Rd, Durham, NC 27707.

The family is being assisted by Clements Funeral & Cremation Services, Inc. in Durham. Online condolences may be sent to

John Brevard Lyday ’85

John Lyday died unexpectedly on Sunday, March 27, 2016, in Tokyo, Japan. John was born on November 12, 1961, in Charlotte, NC, to Dr. William Davie Lyday and Mrs. Deborah Le Baron Lyday.
John grew up in Charlotte and graduated with honors from Charlotte Latin School in 1980. He attended Davidson College and joined the Sigma Alpha Epsilon Fraternity, where he made lifelong friends. John had an adventurous spirit and a love for life.
After graduation he traveled and worked around the world. He enjoyed many different cultures and customs and being in the midst of the world’s beauty. After a summer of working in Alaska at a Salmon Cannery, John took off to see more of the world. He hiked part of Mount Everest in Nepal and then onto India, Thailand, Burma, China and his favorite, Japan.
John made friends where ever he went. Music was another passion of John’s. He play the guitar beautifully. When he had time, he enjoyed playing in a band with his friends in Japan. While teaching in Northern California, John met Kanako Asai. They became engaged and were married in Charlotte, NC on May 10, 1997.
Years later, John started his own Wealth Management and Tax Consultant business in Tokyo. In 2012 John and Kanako moved their family from Japan to Charlotte, NC, while still keeping his business in Tokyo.
John is remembered by his family and friends for his love of life, his warm easy smile and his dry wit. He will be greatly missed, always loved and never forgotten.
He is survived by his wife, Kanako and their two daughters, Elysia and Ashley; his parents, William and Deborah Lyday; his sisters, Catharine Mason Lyday and Anne Armistead Lyday; and his brother, Dr. William Davie Lyday II; his sister-in-law, Katie Lyday and his nephews, Ben, Nathan, and Trip (William D. III).
A celebration for John Lyday’s life will be held on April 22nd, at 2:00 pm, at Christ Episcopal Church,1412 Providence Rd., Charlotte NC, 28207. Reception to follow the service.
Published in Charlotte Observer on Apr. 10, 2016


David Hughes McGee ’85

David Hughes McGee passed away on November 10, 2013 in Oakland, CA where he had lived and worked for 24 years. He and his twin brother Edgar Harris McGee (Eddie) were born on July 29, 1963 in Winston-Salem to Louise White McGee and James Lloyd McGee (Spike). He graduated from Reynolds High School in 1981 and from Davidson College in 1985.

David worked in a variety of fields including IT marketing, journalism, financial services, credit counseling, and sales, but his great love was playing jazz guitar. He performed and recorded with a number of instrumental groups in the Bay Area where people in jazz venues, parties, jam sessions and churches enjoyed his gift of music. He is survived by his brother Eddie and Eddie’s wife Iris of Greensboro, NC, his brother Jim McGee of Louisville, KY and his brother Zell and wife Roz of Chapel Hill, NC. He is also survived by his aunt and uncle, Sarah and David Stedman of Winston-Salem.

The family is deeply grateful to cousin, Joy Heitmann of Raleigh, NC who joined Jim and Eddie in CA to make arrangements for the memorial service.

Rodney Gerald Holman ’85

Rodney Holman '85On Nov. 28, 2012, Rodney Gerald Holman ’85 took his final bow, as he departed from the arms of his committed, loyal, loving, praying mother, Sandra W. Holman, 239 Bingham and Parks Rd., Advance, NC 27006-7844, and entered into the presence of his Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

Holman, affectionately known as “Rod,” also leaves to cherish his memory an adopted father, Franklin A. Holman; one sister, Jenee’ Orr (Aaron); one nephew, Aaron M. Orr III; one niece, Jada Michelle Orr; two ‘sister-cousins,’ Deitra Toone (Damon) and Darlene Hinton (Mike); one aunt, Rosetta Williams (David); two uncles, Harold Wilson (Ethel) and Bobby Wilson (Louise); a host of cousins, loyal friends, colleagues, fellow “artists,” and the entire Holman and Wilson families.

Holman was a member of the Obama National Arts Policy Committee during the presidential campaign. He was a former writing consultant for the New York City Department of Education, and a former writing tutor at the College of New Rochelle, N.Y.

He also taught at Baruch College in New York and at Davidson as an apprentice teacher. Holman hails from Davidson, where he majored in political science, serving as the first minority freshman and sophomore class presidents.

He later completed his degree at SUNY Empire State University, N.Y. Holman more recently served as educational consultant with Carter G. Woodson School, as well as program director with Delta Arts Center. Holman also held positions as a regional program manager for VH1 Save The Music in Manhattan and Warner Brothers Productions.

As a teaching artist, he developed poetry writing workshops for grade school students and adults, including a writing workshop with the theme of creating community and racial harmony.

He trained school teachers how to incorporate poetry into their lesson plans. Holman is the author of several poems which have appeared in literary journals.

His most recent collection of poetry is The Universal Solvent, which may now be ordered on Amazon. Holman was a former CORO Public Policy fellow, HUD Community Development fellow, and Institute of Political Leadership fellow.

His current activities included: N.C. Governor’s School Foundation Board, life coach, Golden LEAF Scholars Program/Center for Creative Development, and a board member of the Winston-Salem Writers.

Kenneth R. Jaegers, Jr. ’85

Kenneth R. Jaegers, Jr. ’85, of Louisville, Ky., passed away on April 16 after an illness. He was 48. Jaegers was born in Vicenza, Italy, to Patricia B. Jaegers and Kenneth R. Jaegers, Sr., M.D. He grew up in Louisville, where he was an Eagle Scout. He was a graduate of Davidson and the University of Louisville School of Medicine. He pursued his residency in ophthalmology at the Wills Eye Hospital in Philadelphia, Pa., where he was chief resident. He then did a fellowship in vitreoretinal surgery at Wills Eye Hospital, after which he returned to Louisville in 2000 and entered practice with his father, retiring in 2007. Jaegers had a brilliant and contemplative mind, and an exemplary and comforting bedside manner. He was on an unending quest for knowledge and understanding, and he loved to travel. During the past 20 years, he made frequent visits to Kerala, India, where he opened an eye clinic, treated patients, and explored Indian culture. He was blessed to visit Anandashram in Kerala, and to meet and know Swami Satchidananda. He was also blessed to marry the love of his life, Radha, in 2005. He was loved and respected by his patients, colleagues, friends, and family, and he will be missed by all who ever knew him. He is survived by his wife, Radha Jaegers, 10513 Rile Rd., Louisville, KY 40223-3674, parents, and brother, Eric.