Obituaries for April 3, 2013

Apr. 02, 2013 @ 04:41 PM

Ransom Harris

Ransom Baine Harris, PhD, Eminent Professor of Philosophy Emeritus of Old Dominion University, Norfolk, Va., 85, passed away Feb. 6, 2013. Born in Hudson, Dr. Harris retired as chair of the Department of Philosophy and Religious Studies in 1995.

Dr. Harris studied and received degrees at Mars Hill College, University of Richmond, Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, Emory University and Temple University. He was ordained a Baptist minister in his youth. His teaching career of 38 years included the University of Louisville, Spellman College in Atlanta, University of Richmond and Frederick College in Virginia, Clemson University, Eastern Kentucky University and concluded at Old Dominion University.

An important part of his life was to be a main founder of The International Society for Neoplatonic Studies in 1973. He planned and conducted 13 international conferences on Neoplatonism and edited 12 scholarly books published by Suny Press. He lectured in 26 countries.

What started as a hobby of recording carillon bells turned into a small business, Hudson Recordings. Several churches and one courthouse play his recordings regularly.

He enjoyed writing essays and did so until shortly before he died.

Dr. Harris, Baine, as he was known to his family and friends, is survived by his “Favorite” and only wife of 55 years, Ettie Jeanne; his “Favorite” oldest daughter, Nancie Elizabeth Laing, her husband Gregory and their sons, Ian (21) and Ryan (12), of Chesapeake, Va.; “Favorite” youngest daughter, Lori Ann Harris of Asheville; sister Betty Williams of Portsmouth, Va.; and nieces Marcella and Bob Bridgeman and Shirley and Sam Buff of Hickory.

He was preceded in death by his parents, Hettie and Ransom Zelah Harris, and siblings Ruby Sprinkle, Pearl Killian and Max Harris.

A graveside memorial service will be held in the Sardis Cemetery of the First Baptist Church Hudson on Saturday, April 6, at 11 a.m., Rev. Wade Dellinger officiating.

In lieu of flowers donations may be made in his name to Churchland Baptist Church, 3031 Churchland Blvd., Chesapeake, VA 23321, to be used to help the needy and to support a scholarship program.

Russell Perry Jr.

Russell Eugene Perry Jr., 48, of Granite Falls passed away Monday, April 1, 2013, at Frye Regional Medical Center, Hickory, NC. He was born September 17, 1964 in Newport News, Va., to Russell Eugene Perry Sr. and Christine Vess Johnson.

He is preceded in death by his father.

He is survived by his daughter, Chelsea Perry Combs of Wilmington; a grandson, Jude Combs of Wilmington; two brothers, David Perry of Durham and Jason Perry of Chapel Hill; and a nephew, Connor Perry of Chapel Hill.

A Celebration of Life will be held at the home of Bradley Queen at 2386 Keith Ave., Granite Falls, on Saturday, April 6, at 12 noon.

Mackie Funeral Home is serving the Triplett family.

You may view the obituary online at

William Howard Jr.

William Freeman Howard Jr., affectionately known as Witt, passed away Tuesday, April 2, 2013, at Caldwell Hospice Kirkwood. He was born July 19, 1924, to William Freeman Howard Sr. and Wilvie Thompson Howard of Statesville. In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by a brother, Joe Shelton Howard of Greensboro.

Witt moved to Lenoir in 1928 when his father opened the original Lenoir Belk store. Educated in the Lenoir City School System, Witt was president of the 1942 senior class of Lenoir High School and a delegate to The Tar Heel Boys State. He attended the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill for one year, but his studies were interrupted by World War II. Drafted into the U.S. Army in 1943, Witt served in the 555th Military Police Escort Guard Company and guarded POWs during the war. He received four service medals and an Honorable Discharge in 1946 with the rank of Sergeant.

It was in 1946 that he officially began his long and distinguished 46-year career with Belk beginning in the Boys Department when the store was located on the corner of Harper and Main. As his career continued, Witt epitomized what a merchant was all about by conducting himself with undeniable integrity and honesty along with a genuine interest in each and every one of his customers. He worked tirelessly to ensure the Belk store in Lenoir was not only well stocked with fashionable merchandise for all ages and walks of life, but was a friendly, warm and comfortable place to shop and visit with friends. It has been said that Witt knew more people by their name than anyone else in Lenoir and, as a result, made every customer of Belk feel valued. He served as the store’s General Manager from 1966, when it located in downtown Lenoir on West Avenue, until his retirement in 1993, when the store was located in the former Lenoir Mall.

A lifetime member of First United Methodist Church of Lenoir, he served as an usher and Trustee as well as teaching youth Sunday school for many years. In later years, he continued to enjoy the fellowship of his Methodist friends during their weekly breakfast trips to Scotties. A longtime member of the Masonic Lodge, he was also a 40-year member of the Lenoir Optimist Club and received the Optimist of the Year Award in 1965. Witt served on the Board of Directors of Lenoir’s Northwestern Bank, First Union National Bank, Lenoir Downtown Merchants Association and the Chamber of Commerce. During his retirement years, he faithfully served as a volunteer with Caldwell Memorial Hospital as well as the Caldwell County Schools. He also had a lifelong passion for sports and was an avid fan and supporter of the University of North Carolina Tar Heels.

Witt loved his family and was immensely proud of them. He is survived by Ruth C. Howard of Lenoir; his son, William F. Howard III and wife Denise of Lenoir; his daughter Belinda Howard Corpening and husband John of Chapel Hill and his daughter Marsha Howard Morgan and husband Robert of Wilmington; his nine grandchildren, Ross Howard of Mooresville, Jack Howard of Chapel Hill, Anna Corpening Edwards and husband Josh of Little Mountain, S.C., Katherine Corpening Neighbors and husband Josh of Raleigh, Abigail Corpening of Raleigh, Meghan Morgan Corwin of Haymarket, Va., Dr. Robert Morgan Jr. and wife Melanie of Durham, Ellen Morgan of Naples, Fla., and Peter Morgan and fiancée Anna Spurgeon of New Bern; his two step-grandsons, Ryan Feimster of Charlotte and Brandon Feimster of Boone; and six great-grandchildren, Joseph Ruppel, Gabrielle and Madeline Corwin of Haymarket, Va., Hardin and Margaret Edwards of Little Mountain, S.C., and Henry Neighbors of Raleigh. Witt is also survived by two nieces, Rebecca Howard Dallke of Chapel Hill and Lisa Howard Scott of Julian.

The family sincerely expresses their heartfelt thanks to the Caldwell Memorial Hospital staff for providing our father the opportunity to visit with and assist the hospital’s visitors and patients. To Lenoir Park staff and residents, we are indebted to you for your care, friendship and loving support provided to our father during his nearly eight years there as a resident. We are also grateful to Caldwell Hospice staff for the affectionate care provided to our father during the last months of his life. And to his many friends, we thank you for your visits, calls, support and love. We specifically thank Mrs. Margaret Johnson for her dedicated friendship, sincere devotion and most importantly, for her excellent driving skills over the last few years.

The Rev. Jamie Armstrong will lead a memorial service to celebrate Witt’s life at 4 p.m. Thursday, April 4, at First United Methodist Church in Lenoir. The family will receive friends immediately following the service in the Christian Life Center. Internment at Blue Ridge Cemetery will be private. The family will also receive friends at the home of William and Denise Howard at 405B Tremont Park Circle in Lenoir.

Memorials may be made to First United Methodist Church Building Fund at 309 Church St. NW, Lenoir, NC 28645, or to the Caldwell Memorial Hospital Foundation at 321 Mulberry St. SW, Lenoir, NC 28645.

Serving as pallbearers are Ross Howard, Jack Howard, Josh Edwards, Josh Neighbors, Dr. Robert Morgan Jr. and Peter Morgan. Honorary pallbearers are former and retired employees of Belk of Lenoir.

Online condolences may be left at

Greer-McElveen Funeral Home is serving the Howard family.

Derald Perry

Derald Lenoir Perry, 71, of Morganton passed away on Monday, April 1, 2013, at his home.

Born Sept. 19, 1941, in Caldwell County, Derald was a son of the late Tom and Ruby Perry. He was a carpenter by trade and Baptist by faith. Derald loved fishing and tinkering on old cars. He loved the Lord and his family. In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by a daughter, Cathy Lenora Perry, and one sister, Joyce Peele.

Survivors include a daughter and son-in-law, Jennifer and Johnny “Eddie” Persinger; a son and daughter-in-law, Roger and Paula Perry; his ex-wife, Reba Lynn; two sisters, Judy Beaver and Carolyn Barber; one brother, Robert “Bob” Perry; his special dog, Peanut; three grandchildren, Chris Perry, Olivia Triplett, and Jonah Persinger; and two step-grandchildren, Jessica Melton and Jon Gragg.

The family will have a private memorial service at a later time.

The family will receive friends on Thursday night, April 4, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the home of Jennifer and Eddie Persinger at 169 Wildwood Road, Lenoir.

Memorials can be made to the Perry family at 169 Wildwood Road, Lenoir, NC 28645.

Online condolences may be sent to the Perry Family at

Evans Funeral Service & Crematory of Lenoir is serving the Perry Family.

James Rowell

James William Rowell, 72, of Sheriff’s Road, Lenoir, died Sunday, March 31, 2013.  Memorial services will be held Saturday, April 6, at 11 a.m. at Greer-McElveen Funeral Home Chapel. Greer-McElveen Funeral Home and Crematory is in charge of arrangements.

Wade Duncan

Wade Duncan, 71, of Hudson, died Tuesday, April 2, 2013, at Caldwell Hospice and Palliative Care Hudson. Funeral services will be held on Thursday, April 4, 1 p.m. at Harvest Baptist Church in Hickory. Burial will follow in the Ed W. Buchanan Cemetery, Newland.

Brett Jerome

Brett Dalton Jerome, 56, of Hickory passed away on Monday, April 1, 2013, at Caldwell Hospice in Lenoir.

Online condolences may be sent to the Jerome Family at

Evans Funeral Service & Crematory of Lenoir is serving the Jerome Family.