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 (www.facebook.com/sossomanfh).

Donald W. Shriver, Jr. ’51

The Rev. Dr. Donald W., Jr. Acclaimed ethicist and President Emeritus of Union Theological Seminary in the City of New York, died on July 28 at Mount Sinai Morningside. He was 93. President of Union from 1975 to 1991, he presided over one of the most pivotal periods in the institution’s history. In the words of Professor Emeritus Larry Rasmussen, “Don Shriver saved Union Theological Seminary. That should serve as tribute enough. But more than that, he navigated changes that put in place a vibrant future Union, markedly different from the institution he joined in 1975.” Born in 1927 in racially segregated Norfolk, Virginia, Shriver was perhaps an unlikely candidate to become, in the words of Professor Cornel West, “the most prophetic seminary president in the late twentieth-century.”

He was raised, in his own words, to “never know how many injustices” his Black brethren suffered, yet throughout his career he would never stop speaking out against these injustices. Shriver graduated from Davidson College in 1951, and subsequently enrolled at Union Theological Seminary in Richmond, where he received his BD (M.Div.) in 1955. After seminary, he was ordained in the Presbyterian Church (USA), and served as a parish minister in Gastonia, NC from 1956, until he enrolled in the doctoral program at Harvard University in 1959.

After graduating, he embarked on a lengthy career in which he fought racism in church, culture and academia alike. In his own accounting, Shriver took Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King’s “Letter from Birmingham Jail,” and its call to white ministers, deeply to heart. His first book, “The Unsilent South: Prophetic Preaching in Racial Crisis,” collected nineteen sermons across the Presbyterian South speaking out against the evil of white supremacy. That same year, church elders tried to have him fired from North Carolina State University campus ministry because of his participation in the march on Selma, but Shriver refused to back down. In the ensuing years, Shriver became one of the nation’s foremost social ethicists, catapulting him to national renown.

In 1975, he was appointed President of Union Theological Seminary in the City of New York (UTS), succeeding Roger Shinn. He assumed the presidency amid considerable doubt that UTS would be able to stay open, due to severe financial woes. However, through the timely sale of Van Dusen Hall, Shriver was able to usher UTS through its 1980 accreditation. But his tenure as president transformed more than financial stability. Through hiring now-legendary professors like Cornel West, James Forbes, Phyllis Trible, James Washington, Beverly Wildung Harrison, Larry Rasmussen and more, he ignited the seminary’s modern era as a diverse and justice-oriented institution. “It has been an honor to know President Emeritus Shriver.

As much as he was known as an ethicist and pastor and someone who passionately denounced white supremacy, he was a truly great man on a personal level and will be missed by many,” said Rev. Dr. Serene Jones, Union Theological Seminary President. Both during his presidency and after, Shriver remained one of the nation’s foremost leaders. From his service as the 1979 President of the Society of Christian Ethics, to his longstanding tenure as a member of The Council on Foreign Relations from 1988 until his death, Shriver shaped both the academy and national politics. In 2009, he was awarded the Grawemeyer Award in Religion for his 2005 magnum opus, “Honest Patriots: Loving a Country Enough to Remember its Misdeeds.” He also received honorary doctorates from more than 10 colleges, universities and seminaries for his ground-breaking scholarship and prophetic leadership.

Shriver is survived by his wife Peggy, who was a ubiquitous presence on the UTS campus. As Assistant General Secretary of the National Council of Churches, together they helped shape the broader church’s witness on issues from the Vietnam War to economic and environmental justice. She also has authored many books of poetry, which Don was known to fondly read aloud, remarking “I love you, Peggy Shriver.” The couple were long standing members of The Riverside Church. The couple were awarded the Union Medal together, the seminary’s highest honor, on “Don’s Day,” May 13, 1991, a day- long tribute to Shriver’s 16- year presidency. He is also survived by their children, Lionel and Timothy. He was preceded in death by their beloved son Gregory. A memorial service is being planned for mid-September.

William “Billy” Hutchings II ’78

Dr. William “Billy” Hutchings II, age 65, of Macon, GA, entered peacefully into eternity June 16, 2021, surrounded by his loving wife and daughters. He was honored in a private ceremony on June 22.

Dr. Hutchings was the son of the late William S. Hutchings and Bettye O’Neal Hutchings. He attended St. Peter Claver Catholic School and Northeast High School. He continued his studies at Davidson College and graduated cum laude with a Bachelor of Science in Biology. He attended Vanderbilt Medical School and graduated with a Doctor of Family Medicine in 1982.

Dr. Hutchings’ passion for caring for the sick and love for his hometown led him back home to Macon, Georgia. He began his residency in family practice medicine at the Medical Center of Central Georgia in 1982 and later partnered with Dr. Ralph Austin in establishing a successful private practice in family medicine.

Dr. Billy Hutchings’ dedication to improving the health of his patients and his community expanded beyond his private practice. He was a member of the Medical Association of Georgia and Bibb County; Medical Director of Source Care Management; attending physician at the Central Georgia Correctional Institute; Macon Braves team physician; and radio show host of “A Healthy Me with Dr. B” on the K.D. Bowe Morning Show.


Affectionately known as “Dr. Billy” in both professional and social spheres, he spent a lifetime serving the greater Middle Georgia community. He earned the prestigious Eagle Scout Award with the Boy Scouts of America in 1972.

Later civic commitments include chairman of the Macon-Bibb County Race Relations Council; Macon Substance Abuse Foundation for Education; Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity; 100 Black Men of Macon; Rotary Club of Macon; Middle Georgia United Negro College Fund; Project READ; United Way of Middle Georgia; Bibb County Board of Education Member; United Churches of East Macon Prayer Team; and girls soccer coach with the Middle Georgia Youth Soccer Association.

Ever committed to learning and spiritual growth, Billy later earned an Associate Degree in Biblical Studies from The Christian Life School of Theology and a Doctorate of Theology from Beacon University. He was an active member of Stone Edge Church in Macon.

Dr. Hutchings retired from Hutchings Healthcare in October 2020 after 38 years as a physician.

A loyal husband, father, son, and brother, Billy leaves to celebrate and cherish his life on Earth his wife of 33 years, Melanie Woods Hutchings; beloved daughters; Sasha and Kayla Hutchings; mother, Bettye O’Neal Hutchings; siblings; Starr Purdue (David), Sharon Hutchings, Suzanne Malloy (Daryl), Walter S. Hutchings, MD, and Warren S. Hutchings, M.D (Tami); brothers-in-law, Thomas Woods, Glenn Woods, Kenneth Woods, and Keith Woods; Aunts Gloria Hutchings and Gertie Rogers; Linda Bell, his devoted nurse of 35 years; 4 nieces, 12 nephews, a host of cousins, extended family, faithful friends, and loyal patients.

In lieu of flowers, to honor Dr. Hutchings, donations can be made to the Middle Georgia Community Food Bank, 4490 Ocmulgee E Blvd, Macon, GA 31217 and the Rescue Mission of Middle Georgia, 6601 Zebulon Road, Macon, GA 31220.

Published by The Telegraph on Jun. 23, 2021.

Charles Nelms, Jr. ’61

Charles Randall Nelms, Jr., M.D., F.A.C.S. was born September 14, 1939, in Kingsport, TN to C.R. and Jane Dickinson Nelms. He died peacefully June 13, 2021 in Pinehurst NC, just about two months shy of his 60th wedding anniversary (8/5/1961). He was preceded in death by his parents and his infant granddaughter Ashlyn Morgan McCabe.

He is survived by his 4th grade sweetheart, (Kara) Gretchen (Goerdel) and children, Kara Elizabeth Ferril (Byron) of Amarillo, TX; Dr. Wendy Marion Nelms McCabe (Eric) of Lino Lakes, MN; and Dr. Jennifer Lynn Cutter of Cincinnati, OH. Surviving grandchildren are Kayla Elizabeth Lloyd (fiancé, Mitchell Norman); Nicholas Randall Lloyd (Elizabeth); Cullen Austin; Devlin Alexander and Cashlin Abigail McCabe; brother, Frank Dickinson Nelms (Farris); nephews and nieces, Frank (Susan) Nelms; David (Leigh) Nelms; Preston (Ashley) Nelms; Beth (Jon) Pierce; John (Trey) Hill III (Ross Ann); Karl Hill; Kevin (Beata) Hill; Robert Hill; Kimberly (Michael) Neas; Kathie Cashion; and Hank (Susan) Dunning, as well as several great nieces and nephews.

Dr. Nelms grew up in Kingsport, TN, later taking “Minnesota Hillbilly” as his CB handle for his many family road trips. He graduated from Dobyns-Bennett HS in ’57 and Davidson College in 1961 where he was a member of Kappa Alpha fraternity. He graduated from U.T. Medical School in Memphis in Dec. 1964; where he was elected to Alpha Omega Alpha, an Honor Medical Society. His internship and ENT residency were completed at the University of MN in 1970.

He served two years in the Air Force as a Major at Offutt Air Force Base in Bellevue, NE. Upon completion of his military service, he returned to the Twin Cities to practice ENT and head and neck surgery for 27 years. He served as Ramsey County Medical Society President for two terms and President of the Minnesota Medical Association, also two terms. He held two patents relating to ENT, the Nelms Elevator and Earbear Otoscope.

While in the Twin Cities he learned to downhill ski and enjoyed skiing with his family in CO, camping, canoeing and golfing. He attended all four golf majors as a spectator, a few more than once. Greg Norman nailed him in the thigh on hole #6 at Hazeltine National in the ’90s. He was an accomplished athlete logging numerous marathons, triathlons, Birkebieners and one Ironman, finishing first in his age group.

He went on to earn an MBA at the then College of St. Thomas in the early 90s and even took piano lessons for a few years. He retired to Pinehurst in 1999 and continued to play lots of golf. He was proud to have won Couples Club Championships at 3 different clubs (North Oaks Golf Club, Pinewild CC, and Pinehurst Super Senior division). He had 5 holes-in-one in his lifetime.

He loved travelling and visited 6 continents. He also travelled to visit his daughters and the grandchildren to watch/support their numerous sports and endeavors

We would like to thank the Comfort Keepers caregivers and those at Hospice House. Memorials may be made to Hospice House, 251A Campground Road, West End, NC 27376.

 Copyright Sandusky Newspaper Group, Kingsport Times-News, 2021. 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.