Katherine Dudley Garner ’85

Katherine Dudley Garner (Kitty) was delivered into God’s hands on October 7th, 2021 surrounded by her family after a seven-month battle with cancer.

Kitty was born on October 30, 1963 in Knoxville, Tennessee to Elizabeth Lindsay Wall, and Charles Trawick Dudley, Jr. She graduated from the Webb School in Knoxville in 1981 before matriculating at Davidson College where she graduated with a degree in English. Davidson is also where she met and began her lifelong relationship with her husband, Frederic Howard Garner (Ted). Following Davidson, Kitty attended law school at the University of Virginia and earned her degree in 1989.

Kitty and Ted married in 1988, and moved to New York City in 1990, where Kitty began her career as an associate in the corporate department at Shearman & Sterling. They moved to Charlotte in 1993, where Kitty joined Kennedy Covington Lobdell & Hickman before “retiring” to raise her young family and pursue a number of avocations and passions that propelled her through her extraordinary life.

Kitty had many interests and talents as well as a deep intellectual curiosity that created meaningful relationships and a rich fabric of life— her interests extended from bridge to flying to an obsession with the artistic capabilities of photoshop. There was little that she could not accomplish when she set her mind to it—Kitty, in a word, was indomitable. Kitty took up flying at the age of 50 and often enjoyed flying over Roaring Gap on clear summer days. Kitty also loved the game of Bridge drawn by its never ending challenges and became a competitive and accomplished player. However, she principally enjoyed its social aspects: the places traveled and the many friendships formed through the game.

Another passion was a love for contemporary art and design. Kitty spent much of her available time wandering the streets of New York exploring its rich inventory of museums and galleries. Kitty was immersed in the community of artists in Charlotte, and loved her relationships with the various galleries including Goodyear Arts, the Mint Museum, the McColl Center, and of course, Davidson. Kitty also served on the founding Board of Trustees for the Bechtler Museum of Modern Art, and pursued a brief career in interior design. To be sure, Kitty will be remembered for her artistic sensibilities and enormous sense of style not only through her design talents but also in her unique approach to fashion. Kitty loved to celebrate friends, family and causes with ornate and fun parties She would always light up a room with her wardrobe, and without a doubt, her coats and shoes. This sense of style contributed to her avant-garde approach to life, always pushing the envelope of ideas and community.

Kitty was an athlete and pursued a variety of activities in which she excelled (including a 3 hour 23 minute time in the New York City Marathon). Kitty loved to play tennis and was also an accomplished and graceful skier. She could tackle almost anything the mountains presented her either in Colorado or Europe. Kitty and Ted with their four children spent most Christmas and winter holidays in Colorado, including stays at the Sonnenalp Hotel—her favorite family retreat. Kitty will always be remembered for her fashionable dress on the slopes and starting a bit late in the morning but always making it to the last chair of the day.

Kitty was also well known for her athletic talents on the golf course learning to play at a young age at Cherokee Country Club in Knoxville where her parents were accomplished golfers. Kitty kept a single digit handicap throughout her life and won an extraordinary 25 club championships. Remarkably, she continued to play golf during her fight against cancer and competed in two tournaments as recently as this August, truly astounding her physicians. However, Kitty’s principle passion was carrying her bag on her shoulder while competing and playing with her friends and family in Charlotte and Roaring Gap.

One of Kitty’s significant contributions and for which she was most proud will be her dedication and commitment to diversity and racial equity. Kitty served on the steering committee and then as a founding Board Member of Trinity Episcopal School in uptown Charlotte. As exhibited in the Trinity Mission Statement, Kitty believed profoundly in having spiritual content in her children’s education as well as a sense of community and diversity. All four of the Garner children attended Trinity. Kitty dedicated the majority of her time over the past five years to the formation of The LoveBolt — a non-profit organization dedicated to the elimination of systemic racism through social inclusion and education. Kitty became a self educated expert on how our government, legal systems, and social mores have contributed to structural racism in our society. Kitty was omnipresent in Charlotte spreading her message and using art as a platform to educate and communicate the mission of LoveBolt. Kitty will always be known for not only “talking the talk, but also walking the walk.”

Kitty’s most important legacy will be the love and care that she shared with her four children, Lindsay, Teddy, Mebane and Cameron, as well as her lifetime partner and husband of 33 years, Ted. Kitty was committed to her children’s academic and spiritual education. She was a longtime parishioner at Christ Episcopal Church where she taught Sunday school and confirmation classes. She wanted to be an example not only through what she preached but also how she lived—a never ending commitment to personal development and learning, a generous and friendly spirit, and an unyielding desire to help others. Kitty had an unusual balance of carpe diem combined with a love of traditions. She approached life with verve never wasting a minute and believed each day was a gift not to be taken for granted. Indeed, as many have described, Kitty was a force — a force of nature, creativity, style, and spirit that spilled into the lives of everyone she met.

In addition to her husband, Ted, Kitty is survived by her children, Elizabeth Lindsay, Frederic Howard, Jr., Katherine Mebane and Ann Cameron; her mother Elizabeth Lindsay Wall of Knoxville, TN; her father, Charles Trawick Dudley, Jr.; her brother, James J. Dudley and his wife, Sloan of Charlotte and their children, Will, Woodson, and Hallie, her uncle Thomas Dudley and his wife Bonnie of Jacksonville, FL; and Powell Lindsay and his wife, Melinda, of Bethesda, MD.

Kitty will be irreplaceable as a friend, community leader, wife and mother. We will miss you and love you always and your memory will endure.

A service will be held at 11am Wednesday, October 13th at Christ Church, 1412 Providence Rd. Followed by an outdoor reception. This service may be viewed live online at www.christchurchcharlotte.org/funer-live-broadcast.

Memorial gifts may be made to Lovebolt, P. O. Box 5381, Charlotte, NC 28299 (lovebolt.org).

  • Copyright: Copyright (c) 2021 The Charlotte Observer

John White Westmoreland ’85

John White Westmoreland, 60, of Mooresville, N.C., passed away on Friday, October 1, 2021, at Maple Leaf Health Care in Statesville, N.C. He was born on December 11, 1960, in Mooresville to the late Eugene Roth Westmoreland and Opal Owens Westmoreland.

John was a 1978 graduate of Mooresville High School and was valedictorian of his class. He graduated from Montreat and Greensboro Colleges with a double major in music and religion. John was a writer and a radio broadcaster for radio station WHIP in Mooresville.

John is survived by a sister, Dr. Pam Westmoreland Sholar of Mooresville, and a brother, Dr. Henry Houston Westmoreland of Wingdale, N.Y.

Funeral services will be held on Tuesday, October 5, at 2 p.m. at First Presbyterian Church with Rev. Dr. Fred Coates and Rev. Jason Sentas officiating. Visitation for family and friends will be one hour prior to the service from 1 to 2 p.m. Burial will follow the service in Willow Valley Cemetery.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be sent to First Presbyterian Church, 249 W. McLelland Avenue, Mooresville, NC 28115

Cavin-Cook Funeral Home and Crematory, Mooresville, is serving the Westmoreland family. Condolences may be sent to the family at www.cavin-cook.com.

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 www.clementsfuneralservice.com.

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.