Bill Kirby Jr., January 2022

Let us remember…

While a community anticipates a prosperous and healthy 2022, let us not forget those we lost in 2021. They were fathers and mothers, husbands and wives, sons and daughters, grandparents, friends and neighbors and a part of our lives. Let us remember, they walked among us and may we never forget.

Owen Eugene Widman, 90. “Not the beginning of any day was without praise for his Lord and Savior. Every morning, you would find him on bended knees, his Bible open near his easy chair.” January 1, 2021.

Hector Alfred Black, 82. A Tolar Hart Mill boy with a love of family, golf, cards, midnight snacks and the backyard squirrels. January 5, 2021.

Reid Anthony Horne, 69. Of kind heart, good nature and good soul, and if you knew him, you surely would say so, too. January 8, 2021.

Ruby S. Murchison, 88. National Teacher of the Year in 1976, “She made us all feel important.” January 10, 2021.

Roland John Bersch Jr., 90. From ballroom, the waltz, the foxtrot, the tango, the cha-cha, the rumba, the salsa, the East Coast swing, the West Coast swing, the shag, the hustle, the Lindy Hop and the two-step polka, he was master of the dance. January 15, 2021.

Jill Spell Koonce, 57. “God needed a special angel in heaven.” January 26, 2021.

Phyllis Meredith Crumley, 72. She had a beautiful smile that could light up anyone in any room. And she forever will be a part of the kids who grew up along Arlington Avenue. February 6, 2021.

John G. Hood, 73. “A faithful servant of our Lord and walked in the path of righteousness.” February 6, 2021.

Sue Canaday Hubbard, 77. She had a love for children and children loved her back. February 17, 2021.

Roxie “Leona” Parnell Penland, 95. “Matriarch of Breezewood Avenue.” February 19, 2021.

Constance Marie Ellis Martin, 94. A Southern lady for sure. March 1, 2021.

Dr. Frank Palmer Stout, 77. Picture perfect smiles throughout the community because of his orthodontic hands; generous in his philanthropy and always humble each and every day. March 6, 2021.

Command Sgt. Maj. (Retired) Kenneth J. “Rock” Merritt, 97. From World War II, D-Day and Vietnam, he was an 82nd Airborne soldier’s soldier, and proud to serve his country all the days of his military career and beyond. March 10, 2021.

Billie Dove Paroli, 93. She loved lighting a candle after Mass on Sunday at St. Patrick Catholic Church and joining her grandchildren on a Thursday morning Mass. And always in the stands on Friday nights to cheer on the football coaching husband she loved. March 18, 2021.

Margaret Adams, 86. “I love you a bushel and a peck and a hug around the neck.” March 22, 2021.

Eleanor Boone Manning, 96. A wonderful legacy in our community, including where children enjoy the Eleanor & Raymond Manning Children’s Pavilion at Cape Fear Botanical Garden. April 1, 2021.

Billie Pomeroy Widman, 86. Of selfless Christian witness, charity and caring ways for others. April 8, 2021.

William James Carver Jr., 81. The E.E. Smith High School kids called him “Coach.” April 13, 2021.

Panthia Helen Buie “Peggy” Collier, 82. Personification of a loving wife, mother, grandmother and great-grandmother. A giver first. A taker last. April 24, 2021.

Harvey Wright Raynor III, 70. He loved a good conversation, especially about this city and county and politics, and music, too. He could tell you all about the songs of the late Jackie Wilson, and almost every lyric. Friends called him “Butch.” May 3, 2021.

Dana Holliday Ward, 90. Home is where her heart was happiest of all. May 20, 2021.

Robert Winslow Warren, 78. An Eastover native who came to love the camera’s eye. May 30, 2021. Dr. William Paul “Bill” Shipp, Sr., 80. Longtime esteemed educator and founding principal of Westover High School. June 9, 2021

Rev. Chrysostom Manuel, 89. “All human beings are created in God’s Image. All human beings are loved by God.” June 11, 2021.

Helen Louisa Hudson, 92. There wasn’t much Helen Hudson couldn’t tell you about heating oil and propane near the railway tracks on Cumberland Street, where Mrs. Hudson was something of a legend as an office manager for D.K. Taylor Oil Co. from February 28, 1948 until her retirement in 2019. June 12, 2021.

Sherrill Allen Collier, 84. “He inspired me to become a Christian,” Fred Skipper Jr. says, and that says everything about this Linden native and who Sherrill Collier was in life. June 15, 2021.

Anthony J. Augustine Jr., 74. He could be the life of any party. Friends called him Tony. June 26, 2021.

Charles “Chuck” Weber, 73. “Anyone who knows him will tell you, he was loyal, honest and loved life.” June 20, 2021.

Sue Wampler, 72. An indomitable spirit, love, intelligence and perseverance. June 24, 2021.

Judy B. Klinck, 73. “… a doer of good, tirelessly helping others in our community and living a life of service to those in need.” June 26, 2021.

Maria Dolores Patron Beck, 89. “With my family, I never feel alone. I feel blessed by the Lord.” July 5, 2021.

Brian K. Edkins, 51. “A great role model for his students and a great friend to all that knew him.” July 6, 2021.

Marilyn Gates Fleishman, 90. “Only the Best For Children.” July 16, 2021.

William Joseph Leon Crisp, 81. “We will bring this city together,” the old Fayetteville City Councilman would remind us in his final days. “We will bring this city into total unity. That’s my promise to you.” July 28, 2021.

Dr. Joel Hedgecoe, 78. “One of my last vivid memories of my parents together was when I was walking with my dad and my mom in front of his house,” son would say. “Dad was struggling a little bit, both physically and emotionally. Mom said simply, ‘Hold my hand.’ And she offered her hand to him, and Dad reached out and embraced her. Over this past year, Mom has been side by side with him, and encouraging him along the way. He loved Mom more than anything. He worshiped the ground she walked on.” August 10, 2021.

William “Bill” Maxwell, 87. A self-made businessman of generous heart for others. He left his footprints all over the Cumberland County landscape. August 16, 2021.

Moses Lee Best, 89. A Black History Museum along Murchison Road was his pride and joy to share with others. August 28, 2021.

Walker Yeatman Worth, Jr., 93. An attorney of honor. August 30, 2021.

Karen Gallimore Argo, 70. A second mama to so many young people who came through the youth group at Haymount United Methodist Church. August 30, 2021.

Glenn Reginal Jernigan, 82. He will be remembered by some for his years in the state House and the state Senate. Or sitting on the fifth or six-row pew every Sunday at Highland Presbyterian Church, his Bible by his side. And remembered, too, as standing close by in a soft rain at a mother’s service on December 21, 2009, at the little, white church up Moore County way. September 3, 2021.

Allen Rudolph Green Jr., 86. A Massey Hill boy tried and true. September 20, 2021.

William Lawrence “Larry” Cheek, 85. “Hey, honey, you gotta read Larry Cheek.” September 30, 2021.

Rev. Arnold Pope, 89. From the pulpit to the high school and college classrooms to officiating in the basketball arenas and the football fields to the Grandfather Mountain Highland Games to the N.C. Weightlifting Hall of Fame, he was an everyman. September 30, 2021.

Donald Lionel Melvin, 86. He talked so often of heaven and what a day he knew that would be. October 11, 2021.

William Edward “Billy” Highsmith, 75. From the annual Knights of Pythias Cumberland Lodge No. 5 Cajun Fish Fry to helping Friends of the Cancer Center to Myrover-Reese Fellowship Homes on Wilkes Road; helping men and women find new lives, he was there to “make a difference.” October 12, 2021.

Harold Kinnon Warren, 93. The longtime Pine Forest High School principal who found joy in watching students succeed in academics and athletics or whatever their goals. October 16, 2021.

John Gilbert Shaw, 85. A lover of family, friends and the outdoors. November 12, 2021.

JoAnn Johnson Hodges, 81. She never knew a stranger and was the type of person that when you meet her once, you would never forget her, nor would she forget you. November 22, 2021.

Howard Ward, 84. A sports editor to remember. They called him “Hay Street Howie.” December 2, 2021.

Virginia Lilly Yarborough, 86. So many of us became who we are, because of who she was in our journalism careers. December 5, 2021. Bill Kirby Jr. can be reached at, or 910-624-1961.