Carlos Alvarez

Carlos Alvarez
Davidson College Trustee Carlos Alvarez

Davidson College Trustee Carlos Alvarez, whose journey from immigrant small businessman to beer industry icon shaped his historic generosity to Davidson College and its international students, died Monday night in his sleep at his home in San Antonio, Texas. He was 73. 

“Carlos personified the ideal that, if life rewards you with success, then you give back,” said Davidson College President Doug Hicks. “He saw, through his daughter’s college experience, Davidson’s ability to transform lives, and he knew firsthand the obstacles to succeeding in an unfamiliar land. He ensured that international students at Davidson College would have the support that would open to them the kinds of opportunities that our nation afforded him.” 

Alvarez’s journey is legendary in the beer industry. He grew up in Acapulco, Mexico, where his father was a beer distributor, and he learned the basics of business from working on one of his dad’s trucks. 

“While everyone is there, out there at the beach, by the pool,” Alvarez told a Texas television station in 2021, “that was torture.” 

In 1986, he and his wife and daughters emigrated to Texas, where he was instrumental in introducing Corona Extra beer into the United States. He established his own company, The Gambrinus Company, and became the official importer for Corona. Eleven years later, it was the No. 1 imported beer in the nation—widely regarded as the most spectacular brand success story in contemporary brewing history. He also bought the struggling Spoetzl brewery in Shiner, Texas, that produced Shiner beer and strengthened the craft brewer until it was distributed in all 50 states. 

Alvarez’s daughter, Malú, graduated from Davidson in 2002, and he devoted his energy to supporting the college from her first day on campus. His family’s name is etched on the Alvarez College Union for which he and his wife, Malú, provided the signature renovation gift. 

Carlos Alvarez
The Alvarez Family on campus to meet with their scholarship recipients. (l-r) Malú Alvarez ’02, Malú Alvarez, Carlos Alvarez holding baby Charlie, Charlie’s mom Carla Alvarez Brozovich and John Brozovich.

They also created the Alvarez Scholars Program, the Alvarez Access Fund and the Alvarez Guarantee Fund distinguishing Davidson among colleges and universities for such comprehensive support of international students. His backing ensured that international students enjoyed the support they needed for equal access to opportunities such off-campus programs, internships and career searches. The international student population at Davidson has doubled since his efforts began. 

“The staff and resources … will help [international] students seize and weave together those experiences, to stand out as candidates for a dream job or grad school,” he said in 2018. “It just takes a little more creativity and a little more work than the typical domestic student.”

Carlos Alvarez
Alvarez visited with students supported by his programs during his trips to campus.

It was common during Alvarez’s campus visits to see him outside, sitting with one of the Alvarez Scholars, visibly delighted in learning of their discoveries and explorations. His most recent visit to campus, in January, was for a visit with those students. 

“He was at our house that evening,” Hicks said, “talking about the Alvarez Scholars and about the national awards that Shiner had won. You could see the joyfulness in him, that he had reached this place in life where he could help these students toward lives where they would go and solve big problems.” 

Alvarez was in his second term as a Davidson College trustee and had previously served on the Parents Council.

The Carlos Alvarez College of Business, at the University of Texas at San Antonio, reflects his faith in, and support for, education. He also was a member of the Chancellor’s Circle for the University of Texas system. 

In addition to Davidson, Alvarez served on the boards of: National Public Radio, Frost Bank, The Bullock Texas State History Museum, St. Mary’s Hall, the World Affairs Council of America, in Washington, D.C., the Foreign Policy Association, in New York, and the World Affairs Council of San Antonio, where he previously was chair. He was awarded the Ellis Island Medal of Freedom and was inducted into the Texas Business Hall of Fame. Alvarez received a degree in biochemical engineering from the Monterrey Institute of Technology, in Monterrey, Mexico. 

A memorial service is planned for Friday morning, April 19, at St. Anthony de Padua Catholic Church. 

Charles Grice “Lefty” Driesell

Lefty was inducted into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame in 2018. He was the Head Basketball Coach (never an assistant) at Granby and Newport News High Schools, Davidson College, University of Maryland, James Madison University, and Georgia State University. His achievements and contributions to the game of college basketball and his investment in the lives of hundreds of young men are too numerous to list but are well-documented in the media. His children and grandchildren remain his biggest fans, and while proud of his coaching accolades, they want others to know that there was so much more to love about him. They give thanks to God for the 92 years Lefty stirred up excitement, laughter, and fun in this world. Whether coaching, recruiting, storytelling, boating, and living the beach life; there are endless memories of Lefty adventures and antics. His spirit remained strong to the end and true to form, his life went into OT. He spent his final days exactly where he wanted to be – in his home overlooking the Chesapeake Bay beach where his story with Joyce began.

Charles Grice “Lefty” Driesell went to his everlasting victory on February 17, 2024. The southpaw was born in Norfolk, VA on Christmas Day 1931 to Frank and Lucy Driesell. Charles (as his mother always called him) became a manager of the Granby sports teams in second grade and went on to play varsity basketball, baseball, and football, becoming known to all as “Lefty.” The star athlete courted Granby Cheerleader Joyce Gunter and they became high school sweethearts. While Lefty was at Duke University on a basketball scholarship, he convinced Joyce to take a bus to Durham, NC, so they could elope; on December 14, 1951, they were married at the Durham courthouse and together they coached Lefty’s Most Valuable Team: their family.

With Joyce’s support, Lefty graduated from Duke University, earned his master’s degree from William and Mary College, left a stable job at the Ford factory to coach high school basketball and in 1960 launched what became a legendary career as a Division 1 coach. He accumulated 786 wins over 41 seasons and scored a lifetime of friends. Players, coaches, managers, administrators, and fans from all seasons of his life supported him to the end, and the family is especially grateful for the ways they loved him during the difficult years without Joyce by his side.

Lefty is survived by his 4 children and their families: Patti Moynihan and children Michael Moynihan, Patrick Moynihan, Morgan Hollings (husband Preston, son Easton); Pam Driesell (husband Joe Loveland) and children Tysor Anderson and Walker Anderson; Chuck Driesell (wife Paula Driesell) and children Taylor Driesell, Brette Driesell, Luke Driesell; Carolyn Kammeier (husband Brett Kammeier) and children Jake Kammeier, Charlie Kammeier, Christian Kammeier; sister Martha Driesell and her children Bill, Charles, Martha and Richard and their families; sister-in-law Margaret Gunter and her children Matt and Claire and their families; “sister” Diane Hodgson and her family; and a host of other beloved relatives and family-like friends. He is predeceased by his parents Frank and Lucy Driesell, brother-in-law William Gunter, sister-in-law June Batson, and lifelong sweetheart Joyce Lee Gunter Driesell.

The family extends their heartfelt gratitude to the many caregivers and neighbors in Virginia Beach, VA and Bethany Beach, DE who cared for him with patience, love, and dignity during his last season of life, especially Taylor Marron and Glenn Hamilton.

A visitation will be held Monday March 4 from 10:00 am – 12:00 pm at HD Oliver Funeral Home 1501 Colonial Avenue Norfolk, VA. followed by a 1:00 pm Celebration of Life Worship Service at First Presbyterian Church Norfolk 820 Colonial Ave. followed by a private family burial.

Those who wish to make a memorial donation may contribute to Charles “Lefty” Driesell Endowed Scholarship at the University of Maryland or the “Lefty” Driesell Memorial Fund of the Jimmy V- Victory over Cancer Foundation

Eleanor Workman “Wookie” Payne

Eleanor Workman “Wookie” Payne passed away peacefully on April 14, 2022 at age 79 after a courageous battle with cancer. Known to all as Wookie, she embraced her nickname and lived a truly global life, traveling the world for work and fun.

Wookie was born to Dr. Gatewood and Mildred Workman on December 25, 1942. She and her brother Bill, who preceded her in death, were raised in Davidson, North Carolina. She lived most of her life in North Carolina and was a proud graduate of Salem College.

After several years in Atlanta, Wookie returned to the town of Davidson with her family and embarked on a remarkable career at Davidson College. She started as a computer programmer and retired as Senior Associate Dean of Admission, responsible for recruiting international students and other underrepresented groups. Wookie had an immeasurable impact on these students, most of whom would not have had the resources or opportunity for a college education.

She was happiest exploring the world, making new friends wherever she went and embracing other cultures in the sixty or more countries that she visited throughout her life. Wookie was always up for an adventure whether it was hang gliding, zip lines or trips to fabulous islands but always returned to her roots. She grew up as part of four family generations who loved Montreat, its heritage and its community. Wookie ultimately retired to Black Mountain and the North Carolina mountains where she truly felt at home.

Wookie raised two children, Gatewood Campbell (Johnny) and Will Payne (Anna) and was “Drammie” to her four grandchildren, Justin and Hunter Campbell, Stella and Declan Payne. Drammie was loved for her mismatched earrings, fairy hair, party hats and even tattoos! She cherished her grandkids and loved watching their sporting events and musicals, but mostly enjoyed having them in her home.

Wookie was blessed with a wicked sense of humor, an infectious spirit and was truly Brave in All Things. GJM!

There will be a brief remembrance at the Montreat Memorial Garden at 2:30pm on April 24th, with a celebration of her life to follow at 3pm in Upper Anderson, 303 Lookout Road in Montreat. As one would expect, wine will be served. Wookie requested “tell everybody not to wear black.”

In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation in her name to the William Gatewood Workman Psychology Award at Davidson College, or the Mountain Retreat Association,

Harwood Home for Funerals & Cremation Services is assisting the family.

Published by Charlotte Observer on April 17, 2022.

Elisabeth Crawford (Betty) Ervin

Elisabeth Crawford (Betty) Ervin died at Grace Ridge on Wednesday, September 8, 2021, after a life well-lived. 

Betty was born on May 15, 1928, in Charlotte to Robert Taylor Crawford and Elisabeth Fore Crawford.  Although the family moved frequently during her early years, she always considered Charlotte her childhood home.  After completing high school in Roanoke, Virginia, Betty attended the University of North Carolina at Greensboro (then Woman’s College), earning an A.B. in 1950.  Upon graduating from college, Betty served as Assistant to the Dean of Students at Hood College in Frederick, Maryland, until 1952, when she married Samuel J. Ervin, III, and moved to Morganton, where she lived for the rest of her life. 

From 1953 until 1955, Betty taught at the North Carolina School for the Deaf.  After taking time away from the workforce to raise her four children (she once said of television that anything that could keep four children quiet for an hour couldn’t be all bad), Betty resumed her career in education, teaching social studies at Morganton High School and Freedom High School from 1971 until 1985, during which time she taught the first Advanced Placement history course in Burke County. 

While at Freedom, Betty was the sponsor for the CLOSEUP Program, which provided educational trips that allowed students to meet with governmental leaders in Raleigh and Washington, and worked with the American Field Service, an international exchange student program.

Betty also played an active role in North Carolina higher education. She was deeply involved in the UNC-G alumni association, serving on that organization’s board of directors from 1987 until 1990 and as its president in 1990.  She was a member of UNC-G board of trustees from 1994 until 2000 and chaired the board during 1999-2000.  In addition, she served on the board of trustees at Sam’s alma mater, Davidson College.

In addition to supporting her husband’s lengthy career in public service, Betty dedicated herself to the life of her community.  She served on the Morganton Board of Education from 1964 until 1967, during which time she supported the decision to desegregate the City’s schools and was involved in planning for the consolidation of the Morganton, Glen Alpine, and Burke County school systems.  Betty served on the Morganton Zoning Board of Adjustment, including a stint as its chair; the City of Morganton Historic Properties Commission; and the Western Piedmont Community College 2001 Task Force.  For many years, Betty was the Registrar or an Elections Judge for Morganton No. 5 precinct. 

After her retirement, she participated in the activities of numerous local charitable organizations, such as the American Field Service, the Pilot Club, the Burke County United Christian Ministries, and Hospice of Burke County, having served as the president of all four organizations.  Betty was very active in the First Presbyterian Church of Morganton, where she sang in the choir, taught Sunday School, volunteered as a youth advisor, served as president of the Women of the Church, and was a member of two different pulpit nominating committees (chairing one). 

Betty was the first woman to serve as the chair of the church’s Board of Deacons and was one of the first women to serve the church as a ruling elder.  In the wider Presbyterian denomination, Betty was a member of the presbytery’s New Church Development Task Force and the board of directors for the national Presbyterian Historical Society.       

Throughout her life, Betty was a force of nature who sought to leave the world better than she found it.  Betty was troubled by the injustices that she saw around her and tried to do something about them.  She went out of her way to help young people who needed a helping hand and made it possible for a number of them to obtain further education or to otherwise succeed in life.  She worked hard to ensure that women took their rightful places in the leadership of her church, her community, and her state and nation.  She impressed upon her children the dignity of all people, the critical role of life-long education, the importance of involvement in one’s community, and the necessity for knowledge of and contact with the wider world. 

Although Betty later enjoyed traveling to destinations all over the globe, she made sure that each of her children had the benefit of foreign travel before going abroad herself.  She greatly enjoyed spending time with her many friends at her beloved beach house outside Wilmington and was privileged to help raise an entire generation of Ervins, Crawfords, Sassers, Pattons, Smiths, and Lachots on Woodside Place and during annual trips to the beach.  More recently, Betty enjoyed visits from her canine friends, Poppy and Sadie.  Betty doted upon her husband, her children, her grandchildren, and, more recently, her great-grandchildren, and the other members of her extended family.

Betty was predeceased by her husband; her parents; her brother, Robert Taylor Crawford; and her in-laws, Sam J. Ervin, Jr., and Margaret Bell Ervin.  She is survived by her children: Samuel James Ervin, IV (Mary); Elisabeth Fore Ervin (Ken Razza); Robert Crawford Ervin (Dana); and Margaret Ervin Bruder (Joachim); grandchildren Davin Patrick Coutu, Kelly Stephen Coutu (Amanda), Samuel James Ervin, V (Kaya), Michael Worth Ervin, Cameron Virginia Ervin, Caroline Elisabeth Ervin, Valentin Joachim Bruder, and Samuel Wilson Bruder; and great-grandchildren, Elise Madeline Coutu and Cedar Everett Ervin.

The family is grateful to the many caregivers who provided assistance to Betty in recent years, including Dr. Martin Gessner and the staff at Grace Ridge, who provided her with loving care during her final years on this earth and became her friends as well as her caregivers.

A graveside service will be held at Forest Hills Cemetery at 11:00 a.m. on Saturday, September 11, 2021, with the Rev. Beth Ann Miller, presiding.  Memorial contributions may be made to the Betty Crawford Ervin Fellowship in History at UNC Greensboro, PO Box 26170, Greensboro, NC 27402-6170 or the Taiwanese ministry of John McCall (contributions should be sent to Presbyterian Church USA, P.O. Box 643700, Pittsburgh, PA 15269 and designated for John McCall, E200487).

The service will be live-streamed beginning at 11 a.m. on the Facebook page for Sossoman Funeral Home (

Nancy Overcash Blackwell

Nancy O. Blackwell

Nancy Overcash Blackwell, 91, formerly of Davidson, North Carolina and widow of Herbert Hoover Blackwell, passed away Saturday morning, January 9, 2021, at the Oaks at Pooler.

Born in Davidson, North Carolina, she was a daughter of the late Jimmie Lee Overcash and the late Katie Spencer Overcash. Mrs. Blackwell was a former longtime faithful member of Calvary Presbyterian Church in Davidson where she served as church organist and was a former Deacon and Elder. She later joined Davidson College Presbyterian Church.

As a senior in high school, Nancy’s journey at Davidson College began with a work study position in the Alumni Office. This transpired into a life-long career at Davidson where she retired after 61 years of service. In September, 2000, the Nancy O. Blackwell Alumni House was named in her honor for her years of devotion to the students, faculty, staff and college. She was an avid sports fan and especially loved to attend women’s basketball and volleyball games.

In addition to her husband and parents, she was preceded in death by a great-grandson, Drayton Levi Mitchell; sisters, Mabel Farrington, Sue Morrow and a brother, Jimmie Lee “Junior” Overcash, Jr.

Surviving are one daughter, Deborah “Debbie” B. Mitchell and her husband, Eddie, of Savannah; one son, Victor S. Blackwell and his wife, Sherry, of Matthews, North Carolina; four grandchildren, Brian Blackwell, Cory Mitchell and his wife, Dallas, Kylie Russell and her husband, Chris, and Eric Mitchell and his wife, Breanne; four great-grandchildren, Anthony Blackwell, Cohen Mitchell, Porter Mitchell and Kayden Russell; two sisters, Betty Morton and her husband, Parker, of Durham, North Carolina and Kay Spilker of King, North Carolina, and nieces and nephews.

The family would like to express their heartfelt gratitude to the special people at the Oaks in Pooler for their wonderful love and compassionate care that they gave her.
A Celebration of Life Memorial service will be held at a later date.
Remembrances: The Nancy Overcash Blackwell Scholarship at Davidson College – P.O.Box 7170 Davidson, North Carolina 28035-7145.

Please share your memories about Nancy Blackwell and her life at

Published in Charlotte Observer on Jan. 17, 2021.