Matthew David Auker ’80

Matthew David Auker, of Altamonte Springs, FL, passed away unexpectedly on July 14, 2022, at the age of 64. He was born on April 8, 1958, in Flint, Michigan, and was adopted by William and Delores Auker at 5 months old. He was raised in Lynden, MI and was a thoughtful and loving son who was always loved in the community. Together with his younger sister, Amy, and his parents, the family made a move to South Florida in 1972. He graduated from Atlantic High School in 1976 and was voted “Most Outstanding” by his peers. He received a football scholarship to Davidson College where he played 4 years and graduated with a degree in Economics in 1980. Following graduation, Matt began a career at Porter Paints in South Florida. In 1983, he met Nina Lamanno and the two wed in 1985. Matt and Nina raised a daughter, Amanda (Mandy), and a son, Tyler, who both still reside in Florida.

In 1998, Matt was relocated with the family up to Louisville, Kentucky. After a few years in Louisville, Matt decided to make the move back to Orlando and bought a Comfort Keepers franchise together with Nina. Comfort Keepers is a senior in-home care company that Matt had owned and operated very successfully since 2001.

Following his wife Nina’s passing in 2013, Matt was fortunate enough to have both of his children live with him for an extended period of time after their graduations from college before meeting Allison (Allie) Forst. Matt and Allie wed in 2016 and had been happily married since. Tyler and Mandy as well as Allison’s two children, Madeline (Maddie) and Ian, and all of their spouses were one large melting pot who loved celebrating the holidays and big life events at their Altamonte Springs home.

His faith was extremely important to him, and he always gave his time and talent to St. Mary Magdalen Church and School. Matt was recently elected as the Grand Knight of the Knights of Columbus which was a great honor to him. He was always loyal to his Alma mater, Davidson University and was an avid sports fan supporting Mandy & Tyler’s schools, UCF and UF, as well as attending Bishop Moore sporting events every chance he got.

Matt was a good man and with a kind soul. He had a passion for reading, woodworking, and traveling. He was the most thoughtful, loving, and likable person around. Matt was well known for his friendliness and never hesitated to let people know that he loved them. People gravitated towards him and always bellied up to his bar where he had a passion for making Dirty Martinis and 7&7’s. Matt’s professional and personal networks intertwined because regardless of how you knew him, you couldn’t help but consider him a friend. He was a loving son, husband, father, uncle, brother-in-law and friend. His truest passion was hanging out with his family and friends.

Matt was a natural caregiver as he showed to all of us by the love and devotion he gave to his late wife Nina and his children Mandy and Tyler. He was so very proud of Mandy’s & Tyler’s strength, courage and accomplishments. Being a grandpa also came naturally to Matt. He had three beautiful grandchildren: Bennett James, Evelyn Nina, and Brooks Shayne that he adored and loved with all of his heart & soul. He never hesitated to comfort a fussy baby or get on the floor and army crawl with them. He was a kid at heart and his children adored him along with all the other children of his close friends.

The connection that brought Matt and Allie together was divine in nature and their large, blended family was a gift to each of them. Combined, their four children, Mandy, Tyler, Maddie and Ian held Matt in the highest esteem and loved him with all their hearts.

He always gave you a smile and had something nice to say to make your day! It was often said that Matt never met a stranger. He will be missed deeply for his big heart, his laugh, his empathy & compassion, his faith and his loyalty.

Matt’s Visitation will be held at DeGusipe Funeral Home & Crematory, 9001 N. Orlando Ave,
Maitland, FL. 32751 on July 28, 2022, from 6-8pm. Matt’s Celebration of Life Mass will take
place at St. Mary Magdalen Catholic Church, 861 Maitland Ave, Altamonte Springs, FL. 32701 on July 29, 2022 at 10am.

Lynn M. Poland

December 13, 1949 ~ July 11, 2022

Lynn Margaret Poland, age 72, of Hamden, died peacefully at home of complications from a stroke, on July 11, 2022. Formerly of Huntersville, NC, Lynn was predeceased by her parents, Clark and Harriet Poland, and her beloved partner, Greg Preston.

Lynn graduated from New Canaan High School, Bates College in Lewiston, ME and earned her PhD. from the University of Chicago Divinity School. Dr. Poland taught Religious Studies at various institutions of higher education including Indiana University, NC State, University of Chicago Divinity School, her alma mater Bates College, and ultimately at Davidson College in North Carolina, from which she retired in 2018 after 28 years.

Lynn loved life on her farm in Huntersville, her own little Eden. She believed every girl should have a tractor! She loved her horses, the things she grew, and the people who worked on the farm with her. Lynn opened her heart and home to many rescue greyhounds. Always an artist, in her retirement Lynn discovered her passion and talent for pottery making.

Lynn is survived by her beloved sister and brother, Nancy Samela (Joseph) and George Poland (Lisa), and her cherished nieces and nephews, Joseph and Christina Samela, Katharine, Elizabeth, and John Poland. She also leaves behind many dear cousins and a legacy of lifelong friends and colleagues. All loved and will miss Lynn dearly.

A private service will be held at the family summer cottage on Lake Quaboag in East Brookfield, MA. Donations in Lynn’s memory may be made to Greyhound Friends in Hopkinton, MA (www.greyhound.org).

John Witherspoon Foster ’70

John Witherspoon Foster passed away on July 8, 2022 at the age of 73 after a long battle with Lewy Body dementia. 

John was born on November 6, 1948 in Columbia, South Carolina to Charles Cantzon and Isabel Witherspoon Foster. In addition to his parents, he was predeceased by his brother, Dr. Charles McDonald Foster. Raised by an accountant with a penchant for farming and a schoolteacher, John deeply valued education and the outdoors. Congaree Farm, which belonged to John’s grandfather, is where he felt most at home. 

John obtained his undergraduate degree in political science and economics from Davidson College in 1970 before studying Philosophy, Politics and Economics at the University of Oxford. He then went on to Harvard Law School, where he graduated cum laude in 1976. Following law school, John moved to New York City where he began his career as an attorney with Sullivan & Cromwell. He was married to Vesta Anne Haselden in 1977, and the two eventually moved back to their mutual hometown of Columbia to start a family. John practiced law and co-founded Foster Saad, a real estate development company dedicated to new development in the Midands and the preservation of historic buildings in downtown Columbia. 

John was an avid outdoorsman and particularly enjoyed hunting, horseracing, sailing, and flying airplanes. A colorful storyteller, John relished sharing tales of his adventures, like the time he crewed a sailboat from the U.S. Virgin Islands to Gibraltar, eating flying fish for dinner. He also had a passion for animals and a penchant for history. John’s greatest love of all however, was reserved for his daughters and grandchildren. 

John was a member of the Palmetto Club, Forest Lake Country Club, the Columbia Cotillion, The Centurion, and the Pine Tree Hunt Club. 

John is survived by his two daughters, Vesta Murray Ferris (Mead) and Isabel Foster Berbert (Tayloe); his grandchildren, Mead Boykin Ferris IV, Charles Witherspoon Ferris, Louise Blalock Ferris, Knox Blalock Berbert; his sister, Ann Foster Alexander; and his former spouse, Anne Haselden Foster. 

His family would like to give special thanks to the remarkable staff at Still Hopes Retirement Community who took such good care of John in his final years. 

A private memorial service will be held at a later date. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to The Unbridled Thoroughbred Foundation, a sanctuary for retired thoroughbreds (PO Box 122 Greenville, NY 12083; 518-755-1813). Shives Funeral Home, Trenholm Road Chapel, is assisting the family.

Memories and condolences may be shared at ShivesFuneralHome.com

Thomas Sanders Robert “Tommy” Ward ’51

March 24, 1930 – June 30, 2022

Tommy – “TSR” was born in Rock Hill, South Carolina, and died in his home in Roanoke, Virginia, after a nine year struggle with Alzheimer’s Disease.

He graduated from Davidson College and the Medical College of South Carolina. He completed his internship and surgery residence at Charity Hospital and urology residency at Ochsner Clinic in New Orleans, Louisiana.
He returned to his hometown to practice urology for a year. In 1963 he brought his family to Roanoke, Virginia, where he practiced urology at Lewis-Gale Clinic until his retirement in 1993.

He is preceded in death by his parents, Dr. and Mrs. William B. Ward; his sister, Juliet Brice; his brother, Dr. William B. Ward, Jr; his first wife, Mary Lee Ward; and his son, William Vaughn Ward.

His is survived by his loving wife of 27 years, Kaye Ward; son, Tom Ward, Jr. and wife, Valerie; his daughter, Mary Ward Seyler and husband, Richard; his daughter, Juliet Brown and husband, Chris; his grandchildren, Logan Ward, Forrest Ward, Rose Seyler, and Abby Brown; siblings, Dr. Robert Lee Ward, Dr. John Logan Ward and wife Nini, Jane Gregory, Mary Maners and husband Jimmy, Ann Houck; and sister-in-law, Dicksie Ward.

The family wants to thank Denise, who was Tommy’s caregiver for the duration his illness, and who is considered a member of the family. They would also like to thank caregivers, Brysha and Mary, as well as the staff of Good Samaritan Hospice.

A memorial service will be held at the First Evangelical Presbyterian Church, July 5, 2022, at 11 AM. Everyone is invited to join the family in the fellowship hall for a reception and to share special memories and stories.

In lieu of flowers, consider a gift to the Alzheimer’s Association, Good Samaritan Hospice, or the charity of your choice.



Linny Marshall Baker ’56

On Wednesday, June 29, 2022, Linny Marshall Baker of Concord, NC passed away at the age of 88 following a brief illness. Born March 11, 1934, in Ashe County, Linny was the youngest of five children born to Linny McKinley Baker and Bertha Phillips Baker. Linny was preceded in death by his father, who passed away unexpectedly in late 1933, prior to Linny’s birth. He initially grew up in Wilkes County before moving with his family to Kannapolis, NC, in 1942.

Linny graduated from A.L. Brown High School in 1952 as valedictorian and co-captain of the Wonder’s state championship basketball team. He was also one of the student representatives from A.L. Brown who joined their counterparts from Concord High School to acquire the “victory bell” from Southern Railway in 1950. After graduating as salutatorian and Phi Beta Kappa from Davidson College in 1956, Linny graduated at the top of his class from the Duke University School of Medicine in 1960 and attained the highest score in North Carolina on his state board examination. Following medical school, he pursued a residency in Pediatrics at Duke University Hospital where he was selected as Chief Resident in 1962 and was named a Wyeth Fellow, which recognized him as one of the top pediatric residents in the United States.

In 1956, Linny married the love of his life, the former Joyce Carroll Holshouser. In 1963, Linny and Joyce moved back to Cabarrus County and made their home in Concord. He joined the Cabarrus Pediatric Clinic and embarked on a lifelong mission of caring for many local children as well as serving his community through involvement in various organizations like the Boys and Girls Club, Rotary, and the Jaycees. He also served as chief of the medical staff at Cabarrus Memorial Hospital, Captain and physician in the US Army National Guard, Chairman of the Cabarrus County Board of Health, and Chairman of the Northeast Foundation Board. Linny was an active member of St. James Lutheran Church where he spent over 40 years teaching Sunday School and frequently serving in various leadership positions within the church.

In 1999, Linny retired from the Cabarrus Pediatric Clinic and began working as a pediatrician for the Cabarrus Health Alliance. After more than 50 years of practicing medicine, Linny treated his last patient in 2015 at the age of 81 and permanently retired his stethoscope. The Health Alliance honored him by naming their children’s clinic the “Linny M. Baker Pediatric Clinic.” In 2016, the Governor of North Carolina awarded Linny with the Order of the Long Leaf Pine, the highest civilian honor in the state.

In his spare time, Linny was a devoted family man and spent many years supporting his children’s and grandchildren’s various endeavors. He also enjoyed playing golf, snow skiing, and pulling for the Duke Blue Devils. Being an A.L. Brown and Duke graduate, he was often reminded by his three children, all of whom attended Concord High School and UNC, that he was on the wrong side of these big rivalries.

Linny was preceded in death by his wife, Joyce, mother, Bertha, father, Linny, and three siblings, Herbert Baker, Ruby Lynch, and Eunice Bradshaw. He is survived by his sister, Lois Wetter, as well as his three children, including daughter, Deedee Gilbert, and husband, Jeff Gilbert; son, Dr. Scott Baker, and wife, Dr. Kristin Baker; and son, Brad Baker; all of Concord. Additionally, he is survived by six adoring grandchildren, Leah Baker, Kelli Baker, Michael Baker, Marshall Cromer, Thomas Baker, and Emerson Baker. Linny is also survived by his close friend and companion, Patricia (Pat) O’Neal, who continued to remain by his side during his final days.

The family will receive friends at Wilkinson Funeral Home in Concord on Friday, July 1, from 4 to 7 pm. A service to honor Linny’s life will be held at St. James Lutheran Church in Concord on Saturday, July 2, at 2 pm. A graveside burial will be at Carolina Memorial Park in Kannapolis immediately following the service. The family would like to thank the staff at the Gardens of Taylor Glenn for their kind and compassionate care for our father.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to St. James Lutheran Church, P.O. Box 684, Concord, NC 28026-0684, or the Boys and Girls Club of Cabarrus County, P.O. Box 1405, Concord, NC 28026-1405.