Julian McIver Pleasants ’60

Julian McIver Pleasants, 82, of Davidson, North Carolina passed away September 7, 2021 at The Pines at Davidson. Pleasants was born on November 12, 1938 in Moore Memorial Hospital in Pinehurst, North Carolina, son of the late James McIver Pleasants and Jean McIver Pleasants.

Raised in Sanford and Southern Pines, North Carolina, Julian graduated from Southern Pines High School in 1956. He played tennis and basketball for the Southern Pines teams, nicknamed “The Blue Knights.” For the remainder of his life, he was known to friends as “The Blue Knight” or just “Blue”. He earned a B.A. Degree from Davidson College in 1960 and continued his education with a M.A. in American History (1962) and in 1971, a Ph. D in American History from the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill.

Pleasants began his forty-six year teaching career as an Instructor at Converse College, Spartanburg, N.C. in 1962. Pleasants was an Instructor at the UNC History Department from 1967-1969 and spent one year, 1966-1967, as an Assistant Professor at Western Carolina University in Cullowhee, NC. In September 1969, he began a thirty-nine year career as a history professor at the University of Florida in Gainesville, Florida. He retired as a full professor in 2008.

While at Florida, Pleasants taught over 10,000 students and won thirteen teaching awards including Teacher of the Year, Most Inspiring Professor at UF (1989) and one of Ten Outstanding Professors at UF (1974). He was the first Director of the Upward Bound Program at UF and for a brief period, served as Director of Minority Affairs. He later organized the Collegiate Scholars Minority Program at Florida and acted as the Director of the UF Overseas Program at Cambridge University in England in 1994.

Pleasants was one of the founders of the University of New Orleans-University of Florida Summer School in Innsbruck, Austria and functioned as Associate Director and Director from 1976-1992. The summer school is now in its 45th year and has educated over 10,000 students. He directed the Samuel Proctor Oral History Program at the University of Florida from 2002-2008, helping the program achieve the status of one of the premier programs in the nation. Pleasants was a member of the Board of Presidential Counselors for the National World War II Museum in New Orleans, LA from 2002-2009.

Pleasants wrote ten books, including: Hanging Chads: The Inside Story of the 2000 Presidential Recount in Florida; Frank Porter Graham and the Senate Election of 1950 In North Carolina; The Political Career of W. Kerr Scott, winner of the Ragan Old North State Award for best non-fiction book on N.C. during 2015; and Home Front: North Carolina During World War II. Also: Buncombe Bob: The Life and Times of Robert R. Reynolds; Seminole Voices: Reflections on Their Changing Society, with Harry Kersey. Awarded the Silver Medal for Non-Fiction, Florida Humanities Council, 2010 and the Harry T. Moore Award for Civil Rights Publications, Florida Historical Society, 2011; and Orange Journalism: Voices from Florida Newspapers. He acted as a consultant and script writer on the documentary, “Dr. Frank: The Life and Times of Frank Porter Graham.”

Pleasants was included in Who’s Who in America; Who’s Who in the World; and Who’s Who in International Education. He was awarded a Rotary International Fellowship for study in Australia in 1965-1966 and received an Award of Merit for outstanding service to the city of Innsbruck in 1985 and 1991. He served his country as a First Lieutenant in the U.S. Army from 1962-1964.

Julian loved to travel and visited over 120 countries during his peripatetic wanderings. He was a devotee of Dixieland jazz, Springer Spaniels (Mandy and Sunshine), public television, reading, and college basketball. Most of all he treasured the many friendships he was fortunate enough to make during his lifetime and loved to reminisce about all the wonderful times spent with those special friends.

He is survived by his brother, James Rodney Pleasants and Rod’s husband, Steve Godwin. Also by his niece Jessica Pleasants Oncel, her husband, Okan Oncel, and their two children, Olive Rose and Leonardo James. Julian is also survived by his dear friends, Beth and Nick Mueller and their family.

In lieu of flowers, memorials should be directed to UNC-TV and Davidson College.
Condolences and memories may be shared at www.kepnerfh.com.
Julian McIver Pleasants '60

Published by Charlotte Observer on Sep. 12, 2021.

Robert “Bob” Amburn Gourley ’48

Saturday, Sept. 4, 2021, saw the passing of another of the Greatest Generation, World War II Veteran Robert “Bob” Amburn Gourley of Marion.

Bob was born in Greer, S.C., Dec. 14, 1924, to the late James Lee Gourley and Nora Brooks Gourley.

He graduated from Marion High School in 1940 where he was selected for the Honor Society. He entered Davidson College in 1941, but World War II interrupted college. Bob enlisted in the Army Air Force and became a fighter pilot. He was stationed in Iwo Jima flying from Iwo to Japan. Bob attained the rank of captain.

After he was discharged from the Air Force, he continued to attend Davidson College graduating in 1948 with a B.A. in music. He taught music in Valdese for several years and then was associated with Marion Buick Company until retirement.

Bob was choir director at First Presbyterian Church for 30-plus years. He was a past master of the Masonic Lodge and past president of the Kiwanis Club and had 41 years perfect attendance. He was a member of the Marion Lake Club for about 70 years, where he enjoyed playing golf. Bob enjoyed going on many cruises with his family and friends visiting many countries.

Bob was preceded in death by his first wife, Kathryn Ballew Gourley; and a brother, James Lee Gourley Jr.

He is survived by his second wife of 42 years, Edna Seaman Gourley; three children, Robert A. Gourley Jr. (Cathy) of Newport News, Va., John B. Gourley (Debbie) of Greensboro, and Ellen G. Mitchell (Jeff) of Hickory; eight grandchildren; and nine great-grandchildren.

The family will receive friends at Westmoreland Funeral Home, Thursday, Sept. 9, from 5 to 7 p.m. A funeral service will be held Friday, Sept. 10, at 11 a.m., at First Presbyterian Church, conducted by the Revs. George Hutchins and Robert Warren. Interment will follow the service at Oak Grove Cemetery with the U.S. Air Force providing military honors.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the First Presbyterian Church, 79 Academy St., Marion, NC 28752.

The family would like to thank Dr. Mark Burton for his care for these many years, and all the healthcare providers for the past several months.


Published by The McDowell News on Sep. 7, 2021.

Stafford Morrison Query, Jr. ’56

Stafford Morrison Query, Jr., 86 of Roanoke, passed away on Thursday, August 26, 2021. Mr. Query was born in Roanoke, Virginia to the late Stafford Morrison Query and Mary Estelle Luck Query.

Mr. Query graduated from Davidson College in 1956 with a BS in Economics. From July 1957 – July 1959, he proudly served his country in the U.S. Army Artillery. He was a radio repairman and earned the rank of Spec. 4. After his service, Stafford then attended Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University where he received a BS in Electrical Engineering in 1964. Mr. Query was a teacher for Carroll County and Rockbridge County Schools. He also worked for the Newport Ship Building and Dry Dock Company, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Wiley and Wilson, Inc. and then retired from Hayes, Seay, Mattern and & Mattern in January 1998.

Survivors include his sister and brother-in-law, Anne Worrell and Jim Hylton; nephews and spouses, David and Vanessa Worrell, Dan and Sandy Worrell, and Grey and Cindy Worrell; niece and spouse, Lisa and Tom Whittle; great-nephews, Shane Worrell, Logan Worrell, Stafford Lee Worrell, Evan Worrell, Koy Worrell, and Ben Whittle; great-niece, Lucinda Norman; special cousins, Mary Luck Bane and Gilbert C. Luck; and special cousin and caregiver, Scott Bane. Stafford was especially fond of his nephews, niece, great-nephews and niece. He will be greatly missed by all who knew him.

A private graveside service with inurnment following will be held at a later date at the Oakwood Cemetery on Longwood Avenue in Bedford, Virginia with Rev. Kevin Campbell officiating. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests donations to the Hillsville Presbyterian Church 172 South Main Street, Hillsville, VA 24343 or to the charity of your choice. A guestbook is available online by visiting www.vaughanguynnandmcgrady.com. Vaughan-Guynn-McGrady Chapel is serving the family.

 © 2021 Champion Media Carolinas.

Philip Bertram Smith, Jr. ’62

Philip Bertram Smith, Jr., age 81, departed us to be united with his Heavenly Father and Savior on Thursday, Aug. 26, 2021.

Phil was born the 18th of July, 1940 to Philip B. Smith and Cornelia Pearce Smith.

Phil was born and raised in Houston, Texas where he graduated from Lamar High School in 1958. Phil’s most treasured memories, while growing up in Houston, were spending time with his beloved grandparents.

He attended Davidson College where he was a member of the Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity and ROTC. He graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in History. He spent several college summers working as a ranch hand in Montana which sparked a lifelong love of the outdoors and tending to animals. After graduating from Davidson College, Phil joined the Army and served as a tank commander stationed in Fort Hood, Texas. He achieved the rank of Captain and later served in the 36th Infantry of the Texas Army National Guard until 1969.

In 1963, Phil married Patricia Ann Haas and relocated back to Houston, Texas where he began his family. Phil and Pat had three children together, Philip, Stephen and Renee Clark.

After graduating from South Texas College of Law, he joined the law firm of Vinson & Elkins as an associate in its oil/gas/real estate section. In 1976, Phil and his family relocated to Dallas where he continued his legal career as a partner with Locke, Purnell, Boren, Laney and Neely.

In 1980, Phil and his family moved to rural Waxahachie, Texas. He spent his days practicing law in Dallas, and his evenings and weekends enjoying the peace of the country and tending his horses. He truly enjoyed maintaining his country property, mending fences, cutting hay and taking care of his animals with a special love for American Paint Horses. Such hobbies were a necessary respite to maintain his active law practice. While in Waxahachie, he saw his three children graduate from high school and begin their respective lives.

In 1992, Phil married Maria “Jo”. In 1994, he recommitted his life to Christ and was baptized at Fielder Road Baptist Church in Arlington, Texas. Phil and Jo moved to Paris, Texas in 1997, where he continued his law practice at the Moore Law Firm, eventually going into private practice with an office at 1700 Place, Paris, until his death.

During their 28 years of marriage they enjoyed traveling, visiting Israel, Washington, D.C., California, Yosemite, Montana, Colorado and Tennessee.

While living in Paris, Texas, he was a member of Rotary, Gideons and East Paris Baptist Church, where he served on the Finance Committee. Living in close proximity with Jo’s family he became an integral part of their lives, becoming dearly loved and highly regarded as a step-dad and grandfather.

Phil is survived by his wife, Jo; his sister, Ann Blankenship, of Dallas, Texas; his son, Philip B. Smith III, of Hillsboro, Texas; son, Stephen T. Smith and his wife, Inga, of Houston, Texas; and his daughter, Renee D. Clark, of Keller, Texas.

He leaves behind the following grandchildren, Philip B. Smith IV, of New Orleans, Louisiana, Preston L. Smith, Parker T. Smith and Patrick H. Smith, of Houston, Texas, Corinne B. Clark and Campbell W. Clark, of Keller, Texas; and his niece, Dawn Hennessey, of Dallas, Texas.

He is also survived by step-children, Russ and Carolyn Ferguson, of Paris, Texas, Jan and John Moon, of Paris, Texas, LeeAnn and Shane Rost, of Venus, Texas, Dena and Eli Rivera, of Grand Prairie, Texas; and 16 step-grandchildren; and a host of step-great-grandchildren.

Services are scheduled for 2 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 4 at Bright-Holland Funeral Home, with Dr. Danny Moody and John Moon officiating. The family will receive friends at the funeral home one hour prior to the service.

Graveside services are scheduled for 1 p.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 7 at Glenwood Cemetery in Houston.

To leave a message or tribute for the family please visit brighthollandfuneralhome.com.

Copyright, 2021, The Paris News

William T. Huntley III ’58

William T. Huntley III passed away Aug. 21, 2021, at the age of 86.

He was a native of North Carolina, graduate of Davidson College and successful Atlanta business leader.

He was very devoted to his family and leaves his high school sweetheart and loving wife, Gladys; four children, David (Cathy), William IV, Charlton (Traci) and Kimberly (Tim); five grandchildren; and four great-grandchildren.

His legacy shall be: “I herewith bequeath thee an honest and good name as it has come to me from an honorable and honest ancestry. This is the best inheritance I could possibly pass down to you. Your name is a badge of honor to be cherished forever by all who inherit it.”

A private celebration of life will be held by the family at a later date.