1930s Graduates

’38 Dr. Cecil Winston Gayler, age 103, of Cape Coral, Florida, died Nov. 8, 2019. A lifelong science and engineering enthusiast, Dr. Gayler graduated from Howard College where he was a member of Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity. He was a past member of the Pensacola Yacht Club and was active in the Coast Guard Auxiliary.

1940s Graduates

’43 Sarah Margaret Barrett, age 97, of Birmingham, Alabama, died Nov. 17, 2019. Sarah Margaret worked for many years at Webster Elementary in the library and also in the office. She moved to Fairview Elementary when it opened and retired from there. She served her family and community through helping lead Cub Scouts, Girl Scouts and serving as a band chaperone. Her beautiful life will forever be cherished in the lives of her children.

’43 Ralph David Edfeldt, Sr., age 97, of Huntsville, Alabama, died Sept. 19, 2019. Ralph was a man who made all he encountered smile and feel important. He loved God, his wife, his family and all he endeavored to serve.

’44 Carolyn Garrick Coggin, age 98, of Fort Worth, Texas, died April 21, 2020. Carolyn was energetic and vivacious, "the life of the party"; a cheerleader, student body president and valedictorian. Attending Howard College as a young woman during WWII, she met James Earl Coggin, and they married in 1943 and moved to Fort Worth where Carolyn attended Texas Wesleyan College and completed her B.A. and master's in religious education. Carolyn received awards from Samford University, Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary and the Southern Baptist Convention and was known as an exceptional Bible teacher.

’44 Virginia “Jena” Lipscomb Pitt, age 97, of Scottsboro, Alabama, died Sept. 20, 2019. While attending Howard College, she was a member of Delta Zeta Sorority. With her husband she opened Jim Pitt’s Flowers, which later became Jim Pitt’s Gifts, which they operated together for over 26 years.

’45 Dr. Louis Robert Cobbs, age 94 of Tyler, Texas, died Feb. 2, 2020. He served in the Navy during World War II in preparation for service as a Navy Chaplain. He served as a member of the staff of the Baptist Foreign Mission Board in Richmond, VA, for 27 years, until his retirement in 1991. At the Foreign Mission Board Dr. Cobbs developed the Missionary Journeyman Program, and for 20 years served as director of the Personnel Selection Department, overseeing the appointment of more than 7,200 missionaries traveling to more than 55 countries.

’46 Dr. Sigurd F. Bryan, age 96, of Birmingham, Alabama, died March 8, 2020. Sigurd touched many lives during his 46-year teaching career in the department of religion and philosophy at Samford University and the accompanying decades of preaching and teaching in churches throughout Alabama. He will be remembered especially for his deep devotion to the Lord, his love of teaching the Bible, his genuine interest in everyone he met, and his kind and gentle demeanor.

’46 Helen Songer Churchwell, age 92, of Atlanta, Georgia, died April 14, 2020. Helen married her high school sweetheart Fred Churchwell in 1947 after he returned from WWII, and they enjoyed a happy marriage until his untimely death at age 44. Helen attended Howard College as a journalism major. She served as editor of the Civitan International Magazine, wrote the first comprehensive history of the Vulcan statue in Birmingham, and edited multiple regional, state and local newsletters. She volunteered at Cruselle-Freeman Church of the Deaf as newsletter editor, historian, and with music and youth programs while also serving on the Board of Trustees. Helen's interest in language directed her development of the first preschool in Georgia with an English as a Second Language curriculum. Most recently, Helen served as director of arts and crafts where she taught 52 adults with developmental disabilities to communicate through art.

’48 Dr. William Allen Poe, Sr., age 93, of Tuscaloosa, Alabama, died April 23, 2020. Following his graduation from Howard College in 1948, he married his college sweetheart, Beth Kelley Poe. He then attended Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, where he received a Master of Theology, and the University of Alabama, where he received a Ph.D. in European history. Dr. Poe was blessed with an active ministry spanning over 66 years. He and his wife served as missionaries in West Africa for nearly 15 years, where he taught in Nigeria, Ghana and Liberia. There, he was instrumental in planting several churches and the Ghana Baptist Theological Seminary, all of which are thriving today. After returning stateside, he taught as a history professor at William Jewell College and Northwestern State University. During this time, he continued to pastor at several churches in Alabama, Kentucky and Louisiana and led revivals throughout the U.S., England and West Africa. Even in his retirement, he remained active, writing books and leading Sunday school classes and Bible studies.

’49 H. Boyd Barnard, age 95, of Birmingham, Alabama, died Jan. 29, 2020. He was a World War II veteran and served in the European Theater of Operations as a Radio Operator with the 787th Anti-Aircraft Battalion. He was the retired manager of the Birmingham Group Office of the John Hancock Life Insurance Co. He was the kindest, most loving and caring friend to all he came in contact with.

’49 Iva Jewel Burton Tucker, age 93, of Birmingham, Alabama, died, Feb. 24, 2020. Iva worked for the Baptist Convention for 23 years. For 15 years she was on the staff of the national Woman's Missionary Union, where she was editor of Girls' Auxiliary (Girls in Action) magazines and materials. She was an editorial assistant and later Director of the Editorial Department for The Alabama Baptist.

1950s Graduates

’50 James Edward “Uncle Red” Brake, age 92, of Birmingham, Alabama, died Oct. 25, 2019. James served his country in World War II and was honorably discharged. He was retired from Drummond, Inc. and the YMCA. He was a loving and generous member of Huffman United Methodist Church. He loved the church choir and he sang in it for over 50 years. He also served as a volunteer with the Auxiliary of St. Vincent's East.

’50 Dolly Jane Williams Wyatt, age 91, of Mobile, Alabama, died Nov. 11, 2019. She was vice president of Alpha Delta Pi sorority while attending Howard College. Her and her husband led MYF for years, helped start the Stephen Ministry, volunteered for Meals on Wheels and were longtime members of the Country Club of Mobile. Family was everything to Dolly, especially her grandkids. She leaves us with full hearts of wonderful memories of a life well lived.

’51 Francis B. Barringer, age 95, of Coker, Alabama, died March 16, 2020. Frances retired as an RN, having worked at Druid City Hospital for over 30 years in various capacities. The Alabama State Nurses Association recognized her as Nurse of the Year in 1972. Frances helped restart Scouts in Coker in 1965 and became an Adult Leader Trainer for Scout leaders locally and travelled all over the southeast and to England for training events. She was awarded the Silver Fawn Award for Outstanding Adult Leader Service in 1972 by the Black Warrior Council on behalf of the National Council, Boy Scouts of America.

’51 Hannah Culpepper Brock, age 90, of Tuscaloosa, Alabama, died April 18, 2020. She was a loving and committed wife, servant to her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren, and a generous and compassionate person to all who knew her. She received her degree in nursing from Birmingham Baptist Hospital School of Nursing (now Ida Moffett) and then went on to complete nurse anesthesia school at the University of Alabama. Hannah was a long-time member of Calvary Baptist Church where she taught Sunday school for many years to teenage girls and later senior adults. She was instrumental in starting several national Christian based programs in Tuscaloosa including Child Evangelism, Campus Crusade for Christ (CRU) at the University of Alabama as well as helping to bring Community Bible Study (CBS) to Tuscaloosa where she served in leadership roles for 27 years.

’51 Dr. Raymond E. Gilmer, Jr., age 90, of Winter Park, Florida, died April 8, 2020. He was the lead partner of an orthopedic medicine practice in South Orlando, which he cofounded in the mid-1960s. Dr. Gilmer was an avid golfer and enjoyed boating on the area's lakes and relaxing on the beach at Siesta Key, Florida. He also loved travelling with his wife and children. He earned his B.S. from Howard College where he was a member of the Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity.

’51 Jack Farley Mayer, age 93, of Greenville, South Carolina, died April 12, 2020. Jack was a graduate of Woodlawn High School and Samford University. Jack was honored as a distinguished alumnus of the Samford School of Business and later served on the Samford University Foundation Board of Directors. Jack married Betty Jean Brock Mayer in 1947 and they shared 65 happy years together before her passing. The couple moved to Greenville, South Carolina in 1959, where they raised their two children. He served our country in the U.S. Coast Guard during World War II. Jack began his distinguished career at the Texize Company in 1951 and retired as president 34 years later. He then worked for the Dow Chemical Company until his complete retirement in 1988.

’52 Marjoryn Rawls Creighton, age 87, of Birmingham, Alabama, died Nov. 20, 2019. She was a longtime member of Mountain Brook Baptist Church. Marjoryn was a member of the Alabama Watercolor Society and a founding member of the Mountain Brook Art Association. She enjoyed spending time with her grandchildren and spending time with fellow members of her Sunday school class.

’52 Henry Wallace “Wally” Garrett, age 87, of Houston, Texas, died March 6, 2019. Wally always lit up the room with his warm personality and his quirky sense of humor. He was in the Navy Reserves for 6 years before he enlisted in 1955. He loved sharing stories about his time as a radio operator on the sea planes they flew through the Bermuda Triangle. He was an amazing husband, father, grandfather, great-grandfather and a friend to countless. He sowed the seeds of family, friendship and kindness in all he knew.

’53 Dr. Dennis L. Ireland, age 89, of Birmingham, Alabama, died Dec. 24, 2019. Dr. Ireland served as pastor of many churches. He also served as ED of the Alabama Citizens Action Program. Among the many places of leadership in Alabama, he served as chairman of the Board of Missions and president of the Alabama Baptist State Convention. He was one of the founding members of the CEO Fellowship House in Gadsden for alcohol rehabilitation. He served on the national level through the Southern Baptist Convention and the American Council on Alcohol Problems (ACAP), serving as President of ACAP'S Board of Directors. Dan Ireland was a diligent servant for the cause of righteousness and the good for all people of Alabama.

’53 Robert F. Roberson, age 90, of Columbus, Georgia, died June 26, 2019. He graduated from Howard College and after being ordained as a Baptist minister; he attended the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky and pastored four churches. Bob was Vice President at United Way of the Chattahoochee Valley for over 20 years. During his time at United Way, Bob wrote a regular community interest column in the Columbus Ledger-Enquirer.

’53 Dr. Shelby A. Smith, Sr., age 92, of Gulf Shores, Alabama, died Sept. 25, 2019. His pastoral ministry spanned more than 71 years. His ministry took him overseas in 1958 when God called him to serve as a Southern Baptist foreign missionary in Ecuador. Shelby was a beloved husband, father, grandfather, great grandfather and faithful servant of Jesus Christ.

’53 Jane Chalker Wells, age 87, of Dothan, Alabama, died Dec. 16, 2019. Jane taught school in Birmingham at McArthur and then McElwain schools. She became a member of the Salvation Army Advisory Board in 1967 and served there the rest of her life. She was honored by the Salvation Army as a Life Member for her dedicated service on various committees of the advisory board. She was a devoted wife, mother and friend.

’54 Dr. William Clifford Rhodes, age 87, of Tallahassee, Florida, died Oct. 5, 2019. In 1981 he was named Alumnus of the Year by Samford. He retired as FSU emeritus professor of chemistry in 2000 where he also served as director of the Institute of Molecular Biophysics for 10 years. After he earned his PhD from Johns Hopkins University, he joined the faculty at FSU. Bill was a quiet, gentle, modest man with a brilliant mind, always searching for truth and honesty.

’54 Ray Albert Thompson, age 88, of Jackson, Mississippi, died Aug. 16, 2019. During the Korean War, he served as an officer in the U.S. Navy, specializing in explosive ordinance disposal and diving. After a 30 year career with Southern Bell, Bell South, AT&T and South Central Bell, Ray retired as general manager with the State of Mississippi. He loved spending time with his family and was an active member of Northminster Baptist Church.

’55 Peggy Wade Cruce, age 86, of Chattanooga, Tennessee, died Aug. 21, 2019. The family resided for a time in North Africa where she effectively, and with much aplomb, bridged the boundaries of race, language and religion. Peggy's life was enhanced by a vast array of friends from church and the YMCA, who were drawn in by her loving heart, curiosity, big smile, great sense of humor and detailed memory of their lives and preferences.

’55 Dr. Grady Jackson “Jack” Gravlee, Sr., age 89 of Estes Park, Colorado, died Dec. 27, 2019. After high school, Jack went into the Air Force for 4 years during the Korean War. Jack spent the final 39 years of his career at Colorado State University where he was chair of the Communications Department for 15 years. Jack traveled extensively for international academic research, consulted in British political campaigns and authored multiple publications in his field.

’55 Louis “Lou” Kelly Isaacson, age 90, of Birmingham, Alabama, died Nov. 24, 2019. After serving in the Army, finishing his education and graduating from Howard College, Lou began his career with the East End News as a journalist. He then spent 38 years until his retirement with the Birmingham News. But his "fun" jobs were being an umpire for girls' softball, referee for youth basketball and referee and coach for youth football. "Mr. Lou" finally retired from umpiring at age 80. He loved well and was loved in return.

’55 Fred David Nichols, age 86, of Jasper, Alabama, died Aug. 22, 2019. Fred loved the Lord and was a member of Jasper's First Baptist Church for more than 60 years. After graduation, he began work as an investigator with Equifax, where he worked for 40 years. He was a loving and faithful father, grandfather and a wonderful friend to numerous people.

’56 George William “Bill” Ash, age 89, of Vestavia, Alabama, died Oct. 7, 2019. He was a wonderful husband, father, uncle, brother and grandfather. He served in the U.S. Navy and was a member of Lakeside Baptist Church. Bill was also a wonderful businessman for 65 years and was very successful. He was the president and owner of Ashcraft Cookware, Fashion Royale China, and American Cookware, Inc.

’56 James “Jimmy” Irving Harrison, Jr., age 87, of Tuscaloosa, Alabama, died Feb. 24, 2020. Jimmy developed the family business into the nation's second-largest privately held drugstore chain, Harco Inc., and served his community and state through numerous educational and service enterprises. In 2019, Jimmy was inducted into the Samford Athletics Hall of Fame. He lived the kind of exemplary existence that made others yearn to do likewise.

’56 Margaret “Peggy” Parker Hill, age 88, of Vestavia Hills, Alabama, died March 2, 2020. Peggy was a dedicated educator who passionately encouraged students. She retired as a counselor from Shades Valley High School in 1992. Peggy relished her retirement years with family, church, travel and friends. She was an active member of Bluff Park United Methodist Church for more than 50 years, supporting children, youth and adult ministries with her time and talents.

’56 Bill W. Mathis, age 85, of Louisville, Kentucky, died May 16, 2020. He was married to the love of his life, May Ann MacDonald Mathis, for 50 years before she passed in 2018. Bill was a pioneer and thought leader in healthcare information technology. He gained an interest in computer technology in the 1960s working for Honeywell. Then as an employee of Baptist Hospitals Inc., he dreamed of sharing information to improve patient care and created an information services group named Health Data Network where he was president. He envisioned and led the networking of seven hospitals in Kentucky into one information system that served 2,000 beds. He later became the vice president/CIO of Orlando Regional Medical Center and linked their four separate hospitals into one comprehensive computer network. Bill was an active member of Hurstbourne Baptist Church, and more recently Second Presbyterian Church. Anchored in his Christian faith he served as a deacon, Sunday School teacher, guest preacher, and volunteered on many committees. He believed in hospitality and was the consummate host, always making everyone feel welcome.

’56 Kathryn Ann Spurlock, age 85, of Atalla, Alabama, died April 16, 2020. Kathryn was a native of Etowah County and graduated from Etowah High School in 1953. She was a graduate of Howard College and received a Master of Art degree from George Peabody College. She taught school in DeKalb County, GA, for 6 years and retired from the Attalla City School System in 1997 with 34 years of service. Kathryn was a lifetime and faithful member of the First Baptist Church, Attalla.

’57 Max Bumpers, age 83, of Christchurch, New Zealand, died Jan. 3, 2019. After college, Max joined the U.S. Navy for a four-year stint as journalism officer on ships to the Antarctic and the Arctic Circle. After his release from the Navy, Max relocated to Washington, D.C., where he was employed by Vitro Contracting, a navy defense contractor at the Pentagon. After moving to New Zealand, Max and his friend started a business of researching and writing a monthly country economic report, a financial report and a farm report. It was published monthly with annual subscriptions by New Zealand businesses, business organizations and business associations. He was loved and respected by all who knew him, both in the U.S. and New Zealand.

’57 Dr. Henry Louis Lyon, lll, age 83, of Montgomery, Alabama, died April 30, 2019. He received the master of divinity from New Orleans Theological Seminary in 1960. Dr. Lyon was awarded the doctor of humanities from Troy University and the doctor of divinity from Judson College. He was ordained as a minister of the Gospel in 1952 when he became pastor at Snowdoun Baptist Church. In 1986 Dr. Lyon was invited to join the staff of the Alabama Baptist State Board of Missions and greatly enjoyed his work there.

’57 Lloyd Lee McElroy, age 88, of Trussville, Alabama, died June 17, 2020. Lloyd served his country during the Korean War in the U.S. Air Force before graduating from Howard College School of Pharmacy. He owned and operated McElroy Drug Company in Irondale for many years. Lloyd was a member of NorthPark Baptist Church. He was an avid golfer and loved every chance he got to play. Among his greatest joys was attending the many sporting, school and church events his grandchildren and great grandchildren were involved in.

’57 Albert Monroe Pardue, age 85, of Vestavia Hills, Alabama died May 3, 2020. Al attended Howard College majoring in art, married Wynelle Poole and had three daughters. Al and Wynelle enjoyed 64 years of marriage and friendship. He was a loyal employee of The Birmingham News for 48 years and he had his own photography business, Pardue's Pretty Pictures. He was an accomplished guitarist, a talented artist and a private pilot belonging to the Civil Air Patrol and the Birmingham Aero Club. He was a lifelong member of Shades Valley Presbyterian Church where he served as a deacon.

’58 Rev. James E. Bishop, age 90, of Sugar Hill, Georgia, died May 11, 2020. He was known for his quick wit and humor and believed that if he could help someone smile it would make that moment in their day better. Immediately after high school, Jim enlisted in the USAF. He would serve almost 7 years and be stationed at 7 different military bases including Japan and Korea. In 1953 he met his future bride, Ila Jo Wallace, when he and his uncle went to visit her Daddy. It was part of God's plan for his life as Ila Jo introduced him to Jesus Christ. That was the beginning of a new life and new path. Jim answered the call to ministry and would serve his Lord faithfully in ministry for over 60 years. He re-entered the Army in 1966 as an officer and Chaplain and was stationed in Georgia, Germany, New York and Maryland. He also served a tour of duty in Vietnam. He was awarded several medals and decorations during his military career. After retiring from the Army, he continued to serve as pastor, often alongside his minister of music wife. It was during his "second retirement" in Tennessee that God used Jim and his wife Jo to restart a church plant, First Baptist Church Tellico Village. The foundation established continues today as the Gospel is shared and demonstrated through this thriving church. He had several distinctions throughout his life, but his greatest distinction that he loved was that of husband, Daddy, Dad, Granddaddy, Pawpaw and Uncle.

’58 Rev H. Lynn Dozier, age 88, of Decatur, Alabama, died May 17, 2020. He served in the Korean War and was later selected by the U.S. Navy to participate in a "Goodwill" tour around the world. While stopped in Sri Lanka, India, he felt God's call to assist indigenous pastors in small villages. Now, 50 years later there are 52 church groups, seven schools, orphan ministry, widow ministry, all part of the Indian outreach. There are more than 40,000 recorded handwritten personal testimonies of Indian brothers and sisters in Christ. Lynn, bivocational pastor, served many churches through the years. He will be dearly missed.

’58 Michael “Mack” E. Haworth, Jr., age 90, of Birmingham, Alabama, died Aug. 28, 2019. He was loved and cherished by family and friends. He will be missed.

’58 Helen Tucker Kelley, age 91, of Eldridge, Alabama, died May 6, 2020. Helen was a graduate of Carbon Hill High School and earned a bachelor's degree from Samford University and a master's degree from the University of Alabama. She was a teacher for 30 years at Eldridge Junior High School, where she also served as assistant principal. She was a reading consultant with the Walker County Board of Education for more than 10 years and a member of Alpha Delta Kappa professional sorority. Helen trusted Jesus as her Savior at a young age and was a member of the Eldridge Baptist Church, where she served as a teacher, choir member, church clerk and deacon's wife for many years.

’59 Rev. Charles Thomas “Tom” Bodkin, age 82, of Raleigh, North Carolina, died, Sept. 21, 2019. After serving 3 years in the U.S. Army, 2 years in Germany and completing his seminary studies, he married Betty Stanford. Together they served churches in Georgia and North Carolina. Tom was very active in the North Carolina Baptist life, and served as president of the North Carolina Baptist Foundation Board and vice president of the General Board.

’59 Clarence Arlton Brooks II, age 84, of Birmingham, Alabama, died April 23, 2020. Clarence graduated from Samford University and enjoyed his successful interior design business for well over fifty years. He is survived by Dottie, his devoted wife of 54 years, and his loving son Christopher.

’59 Margaret Beatrice Griffin Davis, age 78, of Dothan, AL, died May 1, 2020. She was a 1959 graduate of Dothan High School and later graduated from Birmingham Baptist School of Nursing with a nursing degree. Bea retired after 44 years. She was a very active member of Gardendale First Baptist Church and served many years as a children's Sunday school teacher.

’59 Nancy “Joryn” Sullenger Koski, age 82, of Fort Worth, Texas, died Nov. 9, 2019. She was a faithful member of First Christian Church of Fort Worth, and was active in the Christian Women’s Fellowship in Fort Worth and at Peachtree Christian Church in Atlanta where the Koskis also had a home. Joryn enjoyed a long and successful career as a licensed pharmacist. Her father-in-law, Dr. Koski, was the founding dean of the music department at Samford University. After his death, Joryn and her mother-in-law Golda Koski established the Koski Endowed Music Scholarship at Samford.

’59 Rachel Greenberg Rosenthal, age 82, of Vestavia Hills, Alabama, died Jan. 16, 2020. She was the owner of Backgrounds Interior Design in Homewood, AL. She was cherished by her family and will be missed.

’59 William “Bill” Edward Sewell, age 81, of Birmingham, Alabama, died, Sept. 26, 2019. Bill dedicated his career to public service as an officer with the Tarrant Police Department, an agent of the United States Secret Service, a parole officer of the Alabama Bureau of Pardons and Parole, the director of the Jefferson County Correctional Center and a fraud investigator for Central Bank. Bill's was a life well lived and his strength, character, intellect and wisdom will be lovingly remembered and missed by his family and friends.

’59 Sam Santo Spitale, Jr., age 88, of Morgan City, Louisiana, died March 23, 2020. He was lovingly known by his grandchildren as “Poppie,” Sam was the quarterback for the Ole Miss Football team from 1952-53, then attended Howard College where he graduated as a pharmacist. Sam proudly served his country in the U.S. Army for 2 years. He later moved to Morgan City in 1961 and opened a pharmacy. In Morgan City he happily met his wife, Linda of 54 years, and lived a wonderful life, had four children and was loved by many.

’59 Roy Lee Tate, age 87, of Birmingham, Alabama, died Feb. 17, 2020. He served in the Army during the Korean War. Later, he worked at the Norwood Clinic and G.E.S and Golbro Jewelers where he was a bookkeeper for 35 years. He spent the last 20 plus years working as a "real bearded" Santa. He took great joy in helping children get the presents from Santa they so desired.

1960s Graduates

’60 Dorothy “Dartie” Ann Smith Flynt, age 81, of Auburn, Alabama, died Feb. 11, 2020. Although she appeared on stage, her preference throughout life was backstage, where she won two Masque Awards for makeup design. After graduating college, she served as a summer missionary in California before beginning her career as an English teacher in Gadsden and Tallahassee, Florida. Her empathy, creativity and patience was life-changing in many student’s lives. As a deacon at Vestavia Hills Baptist and Auburn First Baptist churches, she continued her family tradition of ministry to others; she won converts as much by her courage as by her fiercely-held Christian faith.

’60 Bruce Johnson, age 90, of Nashville, Tennessee, died April 16, 2020. After serving in the U.S. Army in Korea, Sergeant Johnson was honorably discharged and married the love of his life, Jeari Ann Durham. They moved to Birmingham where Bruce attended Howard College studying pharmacy. Bruce had a long and successful career as a pharmacist, where he enjoyed selling toys and greeting cards as much as medicine. Bruce was an early member of Forest Hills Baptist Church, where he served among other duties, as deacon, Sunday school teacher and greeter.

’60 John Thomas Reading, Sr., age 89, or Pensacola, Florida, died Dec. 26, 2019. He felt an early calling to serve his country so he joined the U.S. Navy. He then further honored his service by joining the Army Air Corps/Air Force. He owned the Cantonment Pharmacy for 43 years and he loved all of his customers dearly. When someone met John, they were guaranteed to have him put a smile on their face. He was loved dearly and will be greatly missed.

’60 Charles “Bob” Robert West, age 88, of Birmingham, Alabama, died May 29, 2020. He was a lifelong member of Hillview Baptist Church, where he was active for many years serving as a deacon and working in the children's department. Mr. West spent his life's work in the wholesale grocery business. He worked for the A&P Tea Company for many years and retired from Piggly Wiggly Alabama Distributing Co. in 1999. Bob was a U.S. Army Veteran of the Korean Conflict and he loved his country. Most of all, he loved spending time with his grandchildren and family. He was a devoted husband, father, grandfather and friend. He will be dearly missed.

’61 & ’81 Bonnie Patterson Brown, age 80, of Alabaster, Alabama, died April 28, 2020. A graduate of Birmingham Baptist Hospital School of Nursing (now Ida Moffett), she went back to school at age 40 and graduated from Samford with degrees in psychology and sociology. She and her husband, Dr. Bob Brown, were married for 60 years and served in ministry in churches in Alabama, Indiana and Florida. Bonnie was also a church planting missionary for the North American Mission Board and the Shelby Baptist Association, retiring in 2016.

’61 Carolyn Henderson Moon, age 79, of Dothan, Alabama, died Jan. 26, 2020. Carolyn worked as a public school teacher, counselor, and retired as Director of Admissions at George C. Wallace Community College. She was an avid gardener and member of the Dothan Camellia Club and often served as a judge for their shows. She will be missed by those who knew her.

’61 Patricia Ellis Rooney, age 91, of Birmingham, Alabama, died Sept. 20, 2019. Patricia was in the insurance business for over 50 years and served as the executive director for most of the insurance groups in Birmingham. She will be greatly missed.

’61 Charles Edgar Tuggle, age 81, of Trussville, Alabama, died Nov. 27, 2019. He worked as an engineer for over 40 years at Rust Engineering, Passavant and Georgia Pacific. He was a life-long member and leader in the Church of Christ and was one of the founders of Jefferson Christian Academy in Birmingham, Alabama.

’61 Charles E. Wear, Sr., age 89, of Hurst, Texas, died April 13, 2019. In his professional life, Charles was an industrial and mechanical engineer who worked in the steel and manufacturing industries on product quality and production. He applied his knowledge in all aspects of his life, improvising, improving and creating projects at home and for family.

’62 Lucile Clare Evans Atkins, age 80, of Quincy, Florida, died Feb. 7, 2020. Among her many accomplishments she was a leading pharmaceutical company sales representative. Her family and friends loved Lucile very much and will remember her always, especially for her generous heart, radiant smile, passion for sewing, deep throaty voice and contagious laugh.

’62 Selina Jewell Carter, age 91, of Birmingham, Alabama, died Sept. 5, 2019. Jewell, as she was affectionately known, earned her Master's Degree and became a Librarian at Samford University where she worked until retirement. She was a member of Huffman Baptist; she loved her church and all of her church family. She will be dearly missed.

’62 Rev. Leslie Monroe Duke, age 91, of Calera, Alabama, died Dec. 15, 2019. He served his country in the U.S. Maritime Service, the U.S. Navy, and the U.S. Air Force honorably discharging in 1955. He returned to Birmingham and while working with Hayes Aircraft Corp. he began church ministry while attending and graduating from Howard College. He devoted 43 years of service in the ministry. He was a devoted pastor to many and a friend to all. He loved the Lord and his family.

‘62 Carla Kirkpatrick Gray, age 80, of Birmingham, Alabama, died April 14, 2020. Carla was a graduate of Ramsey High School, University of Alabama, and Samford University. She was a member of Phi Mu Sorority. She was lovingly known as "Mimi" to her grandchildren. She will be dearly missed.

’62 Richard “Spookey” Wayne Montgomery, age 79, of Moulton, Alabama, died, Dec. 7, 2019. Spookey enjoyed local, stateside and foreign mission work along with building wheelchair ramps with men from his church. As a registered pharmacist, he owned the Corner Drug Store for many years. In 1978 he sold the drug store to follow his passion of law enforcement. Spookey began as an investigator for the Lawrence County Sheriff’s Office. He served his community as a volunteer firefighter with Moulton Fire and Rescue before becoming a career firefighter. Later he worked as a Deputy Alabama State Fire Marshal and retired as the Alabama State Fire Marshal in 2006.

’62 Bennie Bryce Storie, age 81, of Cropwell, Alabama, died Sept. 1, 2019. Bennie was a member at Mt. Pisgah Baptist Church and the Bulldog Club at Samford University as well as the Kenny Morgan Foundation. He was a lifelong educator and an avid fisherman. He was well-known for his smile and he always had a joke. He loved having his family around.

’62 Carolyn Kendrick Tate, age 78, of Pensacola, Florida, died Sept. 3, 2019. Carolyn was a member of Delta Zeta social sorority during her time at Samford. She was actively involved in many aspects of the churches she attended and was well-known for her flair and creativity. Carolyn was a teacher for most of her adult life. Her students delighted in her talents for creating exciting lessons full of creative activities, while teaching them to be kind and loving to their friends, parents and teachers.

’62 Robert Burns Templin, age 81, of Lillian, Alabama, died Dec. 20, 2019. In 1966, he began a career with the Demopolis city school system that spanned over 30 years in positions from principal to assistant superintendent. Robert loved meeting, conversing with, and interacting with people throughout his life. It could truly be said that he never met a stranger. His wife and children remember him as a kind, gentle and loving husband and father.

’63 Marcia Simpson Ball, age 79, of Ridgeland, Mississippi, died May 31, 2020. Education was her greatest passion and she taught at Provine High School for many years. A longtime resident of Ridgeland, she spent most of her life as a minister's wife serving in churches throughout Mississippi and Alabama. She was a proud "Daughter of the American Revolution." Mrs. Ball was a member of Highland Colony Baptist Church.

’63 Betty “Sue” Thacker Brackin, age 83, of Tuscaloosa, Alabama, died Dec. 10, 2019. Sue grew up in North Birmingham, graduated from Samford University, and spent her life serving the Lord and helping anyone that she could. She will be missed by those who knew her.

’63 Bernard Moore, age 80, of Atlanta, Georgia, died Oct. 8, 2019. He loved to travel, read books, and listen to music, especially jazz. He held a Bachelor of Science in Pharmaceutical Science from Howard College. He will be missed by family and friends.

’63 Dr. Paul David Robinson, age 81 of Pensacola, Florida, died Oct. 28, 2019. Paul enlisted in the U.S. Air Force in 1956 as a language intercept process specialist. After leaving the Air Force in 1959, he was ordained as a Southern Baptist minister and pastored several churches while attending school. He became a chaplain in the U.S. Navy in 1966. After retiring from the Navy he was a professor at Florida Baptist College. Paul was a wonderful and loving husband, father and grandfather.

’64 James Lewis Corbet, age 80, of Wickenburg, Arizona, died Aug. 16, 2019. In addition to his busy law practice, he served as town attorney, spearheaded numerous community activities and fundraisers and was a faithful donor throughout the community. Jim was a beloved family man and friend. His warm smile and friendly “howdy” will be missed by all.

’64 Jane Burks Forbes, age 77, of Chapel Hill, North Carolina, died Oct. 11, 2019. Jane established her own law practice in Franklin, Tennessee in the early 1980s, becoming one of the first successful female lawyers in the area. She later became a bankruptcy trustee for the Middle Tennessee Bankruptcy Court and held her practice until 1994. She went on to practice pharmacy in the Franklin area until her retirement in 2011. Jane was a hardworking and actively engaged woman throughout her life, never giving less than her best and always expecting the best out of others.

’64 Rev. Robert Elvin Liveoak, age 94, of Russellville, Alabama, died, Sept. 29, 2019. Elvin entered the ministry in 1958 and was an active participant in the Baptist Association, serving in several positions. After retiring in 1986, he continued his ministry as interim pastor for several churches. He will be remembered as a good man who loved the Lord, his family and his friends.

’64 J. Gary Morris, age 78, of Gardendale, Alabama, died Sept. 12, 2019. Gary was a longtime member, deacon and Sunday school teacher at Gardendale First Baptist. He served on the Gardendale City Council for almost 2 decades. He retired from Proctor and Gamble after over 30 years of service. Gary was a loving husband, father and granddaddy and has left a wonderful legacy for his family.

’64 Jerry Hugh Partridge, age 80, of Leeds, Alabama, died Sept.16, 2019. At Samford he played and won many games under Coach Bobby Bowden. After Samford he coached for 36 years for 6 schools where everyone who played for him, including both sons, learned that the most important thing about football is relationships. There is no greater tribute to Jerry than his influence on his family and countless former players and coaches.

’65 Perry Durant Lollar, age 78, of Jasper, Alabama, died Aug. 16, 2019. Perry was a member of the last graduating class from Howard College in 1965. While at Howard, he was a member of Lambda Chi Alpha Fraternity. He earned a Bachelor’s Degree from Howard and post graduate degrees from University of Alabama in Birmingham. Perry was a retired mining executive. He is missed by many.

’65 Douglas “Doug” Franklin Mackey, age 76, of Dora, Alabama, died Nov. 26, 2019. Doug loved his family deeply. He was a wonderful husband, father and grandfather. He never met a stranger and was a friend to all who were blessed to meet him.

’65 Geraldine Conwill Waldrop, age 78, of Vincent, Alabama, died Sept. 23, 2019. Geraldine’s life was filled with love for the Lord, her family, her church and her countless friends. A lifelong member of First Baptist Church Vincent, Geraldine was a vital part of the music ministry for over 50 years. A retired teacher in the Shelby County School System, Geraldine taught at Vincent High School and Vincent Elementary School for 30 years.

’66 Billye Jo Nolin Burns, age 75, of Pensacola, Florida, died Aug. 18, 2019. Billye taught elementary grades in Alabama and Virginia. As a member of Mount Olive Baptist Church in Pensacola, Florida she enjoyed playing bells with the handbell choir for several years. One of the highlights was being a part of the building committee for the 6th, 7th, and 8th grade Worship Center. She delighted in knowing her work would contribute to the spiritual growth of young people.

’66 Dr. Larry Ward Draper, age 75, of Rome, Georgia, died Aug. 21, 2019. Dr. Draper was one of the premier preachers of our generation. He was a faithful expositor of the Word of God. He preached the Word with confidence, without apology, and without compromise. He served as full-time evangelist under the auspices of Sound the Trumpet Ministries, Inc. since March 1995.

’66 Joseph Henry Fisher, age 97, of Miami, Florida, died Feb. 24, 2020. He enlisted in the U.S. Navy as an Aviation Cadet in 1942 and retired with the rank of Lieutenant Commander in 1963 after completing 21 years of active duty as a naval aviator. He served in the SW Pacific area during WWII in Patrol Bombing Squadron 104 and was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross, three Air Medals and the Purple Heart. His last tour of sea duty was aboard the aircraft carrier USS Forrestal, as the Officer in Charge of the Combat Information Center.

’66 David Earl Hampe, Jr., age 82, of Birmingham, Alabama, died March 7, 2020. He served with the Marine Corps before heading to the University of Alabama. He practiced law for over 50 years compassionately serving so many who needed him. He had a passion for music and was a fantastic dancer. His sense of humor was unmatched even in his last days.

’66 James “Jimmy” Albert Rodgers, age 75, of Hattiesburg, Mississippi, died Oct. 23, 2019. Jimmy served the community as a pharmacist for over 50 years and worked in independent retail pharmacy for several area businesses. He retired from Vital Care Compounding in 2017. He was involved with many pharmacy organizations and was a preceptor for the University of Mississippi’s School of Pharmacy for 13 years.

’66 Linda Suzanne Woodard Speer, age 74, of Hightstown, New Jersey, died Jan. 24, 2020. She worked at the UAB Medical Center's Clinical Research Lab. For anyone and everyone who knew Suzanne, she was open, accepting, friendly, loving, helpful, an exceptional mother, caring friend whenever needed. She touched each life that was blessed with her presence.

’66 Willis Randall Stricklin, age 76, of Vestavia Hills, Alabama, died Dec. 21, 2019. While in college Willis coached at the Ensley and West Hills YMCAs where he was greatly respected and admired. He went on to coach at Pleasant Grove Junior High, Springdale Junior High, and Tarrant High School. After coaching, Randall served as a police officer with the Fairfield Police Department for 25 years.

’67 Rev. John D. MacLaren, age 78, of Montgomery, Alabama, died Sept. 19, 2019. John was a longtime pastor and former director of the office of Cooperative Program/Stewardship Development for the Alabama Baptist State Board of Missions. He will be greatly missed by all who knew him.

’67 Jerry Brantley Oglesby, age 79, of Anniston, Alabama, died Nov. 17, 2019. Recognized by the State of Alabama Bar Association in 2017, Jerry was honored with a pin and certificate to honor his actively practicing law for 50 years. Jerry loved everyone. He never met a stranger or forgot a face and rarely forgot a name. Jerry was his own man and a true Southern gentleman. He was kind and generous and a good friend to many.

’67 Sandra Bethea Taylor, age 74, of Vestavia, Alabama, died Aug. 24, 2019. Sandra was an active member of the Homewood PTO, serving as president for several terms. She was also an avid tennis player as well as a creative baker, known for the elaborate gingerbread houses and intricately decorated cookies. She was a devoted grandmother who loved hosting family gatherings.

’68 Ashley L. “Buddy” Huey, Jr., age 74, of Rockwell, Texas, died Nov. 4, 2019. Buddy had a passion for the Lord and a passion for music. He was on the leading edge of the burgeoning contemporary Christian music world in the 1970’s and 80’s. Buddy’s God-guided life led him to other production and musical endeavors including serving as pastor of music ministries at Hoffmantown Baptist Church, Albuquerque, New Mexico. After leaving Albuquerque Buddy joined the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association serving as advance choir director to Cliff Barrows. Throughout his life, Buddy’s career, faith and trust in God remained true.

’68 Nancy Jane Horsley McMahon, age 76, of Huntsville, Alabama, died Sept. 9, 2019. She worked as a teacher and guidance counselor in the Jefferson County, Marshall County and Huntsville school systems. After devoting many years to raising a family, Nancy returned to work, conducting training courses in writing with the Communications Skills Company in Huntsville for 11 years and working as a technical editor for Teledyne Brown Engineering for 17 years.

’68 Dianne Sullivan Riley, age 72, of Greenville, South Carolina, died Aug 23, 2019. Dianne practiced law in Greenville for 31 years and she loved going to work with her rescue dog, Scarlett. She was an elder at Fourth Presbyterian Church. Dianne was known for making a good meal for her family and loved spending time with her grandchildren.

’68 Nancy Wright Ryan, age 72, of New Orleans, Louisiana, died Oct. 1, 2019. At Samford she was affiliated with Zeta Tau Alpha. Nancy taught elementary school in South Carolina and Kentucky while her husband served in the U.S. Navy. After many years of volunteering with the Shawnee Mission PTA, she served as Kansas PTA State President. She was a member of the executive board of the Women's Committee for the UMKC Conservatory, editor of the newsletter, and helped raise scholarship funds for deserving conservatory students. Nancy was a loving wife, a devoted mother and a loyal friend.

’68 Rev. John David Shirley, age 86, of Opelika, Alabama, died Sept. 25, 2019. John David was a loving husband, father and grandfather. He worked with the Alabama Baptist State Convention in Jefferson County as Associate Director of Missions and also served in several churches in Alabama and Louisiana. He will be dearly missed.

’69 George Milton Beason, Jr., age 75, of Huntsville, Alabama, died Aug. 13, 2019. Upon graduation from Cumberland School of Law, George joined the FBI as a Special Agent. In 1972 he returned to Huntsville and, with Doug Martinson, Sr., founded Martinson & Beason. George was involved with numerous civic organizations and served on many boards. He will be missed by those who knew him.

’69 Sarah Ruth Bradford Horn, of Florence, Alabama, died May 7, 2020. In 1952, she began her teaching career in the Bessemer City School system. After a ten-year hiatus following her marriage to the Rev. Charles K. Horn in 1955, she returned to Bessemer as an administrator in early-childhood education. She earned an M.S. in 1969, and an Ed.S. in 1981, both from Samford University. She was a member of Kappa Delta Pi Honor Society at the School of Education, and she was the recipient of the Administrator Award from the Associated Alumni of Samford in 1987. She spearheaded an effort to create a pilot program for adding kindergarten to Bessemer's elementary schools, and successfully obtained a grant from the Alabama Department of Education. The success of that pilot program eventually prompted the State Legislature to pass a law making 5-K an integral component of all public-school systems in Alabama. Sarah retired from the Bessemer Board of Education in 1996. Sarah earned a degree in Education for Ministry (EFM) from the School of Theology at the University of the South in 2004, and went on to become an EFM mentor. Most of all, she was a devoted and empowering mother, grandmother, and friend.

1970s Graduates

’70 Maurena Sue Burton, age 73, of Harvest, Alabama, died Sept. 4, 2019. She was a graduate of Samford University and a licensed pharmacist for over 50 years. She will be missed by family and friends.

’70 Anne Slayden Nelson, age 71, of Clearwater, Florida, died Feb. 2, 2020. What followed her schooling was 38 years in the Hillsborough and Pinellas school systems. After a formal retirement, Anne satisfied her love of fashion and education working part-time in retail and editing college curriculum literature. Above all, she loved cooking elaborate meals for friends and loved ones.

’71 Donald Thomas “Beetle” Bailey, age 72, of Maylene, Alabama, died Dec. 1, 2019. He will be dearly missed by those who knew him.

’71 Willard “Wheeler” Smith, age 75, of Birmingham, Alabama, died April 30, 2020. Wheeler was a southern gentleman with a kind heart and a keen intellect. He had a quick, quirky wit and loved music and dancing. He found joy in helping others, Lake Martin sunsets, but most of all in his family. He graduated from the University of Alabama and the Cumberland School of Law. At Alabama, he was a Sigma Chi and he remained active throughout his life. He practiced law in Birmingham for 40 years and was also very active in his community and church activities. He spent many years on the vestry of his church and volunteering on various boards. But his favorite volunteer role was as coach, spending countless hours throwing the ball with his kids in the backyard. Wheeler was a blessing to those who knew him.

’71 Dr. Maggie Isabelle Lovell Wilson, age 100, of Leeds, Alabama, died Feb. 14, 2020. Maggie taught school in the Birmingham School System for several years before retiring to pursue her love of painting and the arts. She was very active in the Methodist Church as president and district president of WMU. Her paintings were chosen to represent the United States at The Salon des Nations in Paris, France in 1984.

’72 Dr. James Everette Reed, age 75, of Dothan, Alabama, died Jan. 31, 2020. James served in education and ministry for 50 years. He was a gifted teacher who influenced the lives of countless students. James was a past member of the Dothan Rotary Club and a member of First United Methodist Church of Dothan.

’72 Ted Carlton Williams, age 82, of Oneonta, Alabama, died Feb. 28, 2020. Ted retired from Bell South and was a Captain in the U.S. Army Special Forces. He was founder and president of General Design, Inc. and a consulting firm for 34 years. He will be missed by many.

’73 Teresa Bishop Crawford, age 70, of Cullman, Alabama, died April 8, 2019. A native of Albertville and graduate of Albertville High School, Teresa went on to study religion and sociology at Samford University. She ministered faithfully in her church and she will be dearly missed.

’73 Rev. William “Allan” Murphy, age 69, of Birmingham, Alabama, died June 13, 2020. He attended Samford University, where he met and fell in love with Mary Love, marrying her just after he graduated magna cum laude in 1973. While in college, Allan served at Shady Grove Baptist in Selma, Alabama, Bethel Baptist in Georgiana, Alabama, and Sardis Baptist in Greenville, Alabama. Allan later established the first Board of Ministerial Mentors at Samford. He completed his master of divinity in 1977 at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky, where he served on staff at Lynden Baptist Church, before returning to Birmingham to serve on staff at Philadelphia Baptist Church in Cahaba Heights. In 1986, Allan answered the call to serve as a foreign missionary. Allan and Mary attended a year of Spanish language training in Costa Rica before moving to the Caribbean island of Curacao and learned the language of Papiamentu for their work as church planters. In 1995, Allan moved his family back to Alabama, where he served as the first full-time pastor of the newly formed North Shelby Baptist Church until his retirement from full-time ministry in 2018. He then served as the interim pastor at Indian Springs First Baptist Church until March of 2020. He loved God and others by sharing Jesus with the world.

’73 Bonnie Sartain Palmer, age 68, of Dothan, Alabama, died April 27, 2020. Bonnie and her husband Jesse G. Palmer served churches in Louisville, Montgomery, Opelika and Birmingham and were instrumental in founding The Church at Brook Hills. Bonnie taught school in Kentucky and Alabama and pursued her master's degree while teaching in the Bessemer school system. Bonnie was known for her vibrant personality, quick wit and storytelling. Bonnie was a dedicated naturalist, avid gardener and advocate for animals and the environment. Most recently, Bonnie was an active member of Mt. Gilead Baptist Church in the Dothan area.

’73 Mark Benjamin Reed, age 68, of Daphne, Alabama, died, Sept. 30, 2019. Mark attended and played baseball at Samford University and graduated from Cumberland School of Law. He was a partner in the law firm of McDermott, Slepain, Windom and Reed. Mark was cofounder of Checkers Drive-Thru Restaurant and also enjoyed many real estate ventures.

’74 Philip Anderson Black, age 86, of Guntersville, Alabama, died Feb. 1, 2020. Philip’s work at the Carriage Hills and Cloverdale Churches of Christ and at Grace Pointe touched many in the community and beyond. His was a faith that forgave others of their flaws and valued the strength and humanity in everyone. Philip's life, memory and humor will be cherished by his family and all who knew him.

’74 Rev. Ronald Allen Headley, Sr., age 79, of Pinson, Alabama, died May 23, 2020. He was a member of East Gardendale Baptist Church and a proud member of the choir. He was an ordained minister who served as a church music director for over 40 years, and performed weddings at the Jefferson County Courthouse for over 34 years. He and his wife, June, were married 26 years and loved to travel together. Allen loved the Lord with all his heart and stood firmly on his Christian beliefs. He had a great concern and love for people. 

’74 Caroline Lewy Marx, age 94, of Birmingham, Alabama, died Jan. 8, 2020. Caroline lived a long, full life and will be greatly missed.

’75 Paula Jan Birchfield McCall, age 68, of Smyrna, Tennessee, died May 1, 2020. Paula earned two degrees from Middle Tennessee State University after also graduating from Samford University. She retired from the Rutherford County School system where she was an elementary school counselor for nearly 20 years. Paula was a long-time member of LifePoint Church in Smyrna where she served in many ways as long as she was able to do so.

’75 Nancy Howell Mitchell, age 68, of Tuscaloosa, Alabama, died Oct. 6, 2019. Nancy was an attorney practicing within the legal departments of American Telephone & Telegraph, General Foods, Garden Way and BellSouth. Nancy was the founder and cochair of the Multiple Sclerosis Self-Help Group in Tuscaloosa. She had a calm, generous spirit which she used to encourage, support and comfort others.

’75 Wesley L. Wallace, age 73, of Saint Augustine, Florida, died June 5, 2020. He earned his Bachelor's Degree from Florida State University in 1969. Wesley then served in the United States Army before earning his Juris Doctor at Cumberland School of Law, where he was honored to be a member of Law Review. He returned to Jacksonville, Florida, where he and his wife, Sandra, raised two children. Wesley worked as a public defender, assistant state attorney and maintained a broad legal practice until retiring in 2016.

’75 Martha “Marti” Jones White, age 66, of Bogalusa, Louisiana, died Oct. 17, 2019. Martha was an early childhood educator in the Auburn City School System for almost 20 years. She also served as the director for the Child Development Center for Auburn City Schools. She had a profound impact on thousands of children's lives throughout her 40 plus years as a teacher. Martha was, at her core, a devoted mother, grandmother, daughter, sister and friend.

’76 Judy Cowley Barnes, age 65, of Birmingham, Alabama, died Dec. 20, 2019. Judy was an avid supporter of the Jimmy Hale Mission and law enforcement. She had a long successful career in Corporate Finance, working with several esteemed corporations. She enjoyed spending time with her grandchildren, channeling her creative spirit, serving those around her, and pouring love into everyone's lives. She will be remembered for her love of the Lord, her servant's heart and her infectious laughter.

’76 Robert William Witek, age 77, of Gardnerville, Nevada, died Jan. 16, 2020. Robert was active in the Air Wing of the U.S Marine Corps reserve, honorably discharged as Staff Sergeant. The majority of Robert's legal career was spent as a public defender. Since the late 90s Robert maintained a private practice in Yerington, Nevada extending to surrounding rural areas. He served 2 elected terms on the Nevada State Bar Board of Governors and was President of the Smith Valley Rotary Club. His zeal for defending the underprivileged is well known by his friends and colleagues.

’77 Dr. David Wayne Dockery, age 64, of Princeton, West Virginia, died Oct. 9, 2019. David was a 1977 graduate of Samford University and he later earned a Master of Divinity and a Doctor of Ministry from The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky. He will be greatly missed.

’77 Thomas "Tommy" Whitfield Dunaway, III, age 68, of Anderson, South Carolina, died April 16, 2020. Tommy was a prominent attorney and served the Anderson Community for over 35 years at the Dunaway Law Firm. He was a graduate of Wofford College and Cumberland School of Law. Tommy served as an Anderson City Councilman for 33 years and was a member of St. John's United Methodist Church, where he served as a trustee and on the administrative board. He served as a South Carolina Real Estate Broker and was an agent with Lawyer's Title Insurance Company. Tommy received numerous awards and appointments during his long career, however, he was better known for working tirelessly for his clients, an incredible mind, gregarious personality and being a man of the people.

’77 Hon. William D. Jennings, III, age 68, of Augusta, Georgia, died March 10, 2020. William was known for his patience, classic southern manners and integrity on the bench and throughout his life. He will be missed by all who knew him.

’78 JoAnn Robinson Meredith, age 85, of Panama City, Florida, died Sept. 27, 2019. JoAnn was a registered nurse and attended Forest Park United Methodist Church. She was a very loving wife, mother, grandmother and great grandmother who was loved and cherished by all who knew her.

’78 Bari Mazer Roseman, age 69, of Birmingham, Alabama, died April 14, 2020. She received her undergraduate degree from the University of Alabama and her master's from Samford. She spent the majority of her career at Homewood High School where she was the head of the Social Studies Dept. and a valued and respected teacher. The culmination of her passion was traveling around the world by private jet--she traveled to all 7 continents and 66 countries. Her life was built on her ability to live in the present; to grow in good times and bad; to remain calm under stress and most of all, her ability to love her friends and family unconditionally.

’79 Donna Lee Belluchie, age 80, of Greensburg, Pennsylvania, died Jan. 5, 2020. Donna was employed as the executive vice president of human resources at Commercial National Bank. She will be missed by friends and family.

1980s Graduates

’80 Dr. Cydney “Cyd” Lee Estes, age 62, of Huntsville, Alabama, died Oct. 28, 2019. Mr. Estes grew up in Berea, Kentucky and attended Berea Community School. He was a graduate of Samford University School of Pharmacy and will be missed by all who knew him.

’80 Gary Rayford Keel, age 70, of Chattanooga, Tennessee, died Feb. 5, 2020. After serving in the U.S. Navy, Gary returned to MTSU for his undergraduate schooling and received his Pharmacy degree from Samford University. Gary owned and operated several pharmacies in the area. He will be dearly missed.

’80 Rodney “Rod” Eric Poovey, age 63, of Gadsden, Alabama, died Oct. 10, 2019. Rod’s goal and purpose in life was to love and serve others in such a way that exemplified the love of Christ. Rod attended Calvary Baptist Church in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, where he was the senior adult pastor. He will be missed by many.

’81 Brenda Lee Parker Miller, age 75, of McCalla, Alabama, died Oct. 6, 2019. She was a graduate of Samford University School of Nursing and was one of the founders of Affinity Home Hospice. Her memory will be cherished by all who knew her.

’81 Robert Henry Sheppard, age 69, of Montgomery, Alabama, died Jan. 13, 2020. He taught at Troy University and developed the Math and Science Tutorial Lab there. He was an avid reader and enjoyed watching old movies. He was a great animal lover and was forever adopting strays.

’82 Shirley Little Morris, age 59, of Birmingham, Alabama, died May 21, 2020. Shirley earned her nursing degree from Samford University. Her compassionate care for others influenced her lifelong career in nursing, and she was most recently executive director of Alabama Hospice Care.

’82 Sally Swan Reynolds, age 60, of Scottsboro, Alabama, died Jan. 22, 2020. Sally was a devout Christian and member of Scottsboro First Baptist Church. She was very active in her church and community. While Sally had many interests, none could compare to the love and joy she experienced when spending time with her nieces and nephews. She will be remembered as one of the kindest, compassionate, caring people who never met a stranger.

’82 Virginia M. Schneider, age 93, of Birmingham, Alabama, died Nov. 9, 2019. Virginia was an active member of her church for over 50 years, where she served in the LWML, Fellowship and Braille Ministry. She is fondly remembered by those she knew there. Second only to her Christian faith was her love for her family.

’83 Hon. Robert Daniel “Dan” Beck, age 73, of Fort Payne, Alabama, died Dec. 22, 2019. Dan spent his life as a true public servant enjoying his community, family and friends. Representing the U.S.A. in the Vietnam War, Dan was awarded the Bronze Star Medal for Heroism and Ground Combat while in the Republic of Vietnam. He went on to be a Distinguished Service Judge and a Special Assistant Attorney General in the State of Alabama under Governor George Wallace.

’83 Cheryl Hudson Samples, age 58, of Chattanooga, Tennessee, died Nov. 23, 2019. Cheryl was a member of Brainerd Baptist Church where she played oboe in the orchestra for 20 years. She was an actuary with Unum Provident Insurance, retiring after 24 years of service. Cheryl was a loving and Godly wife to her husband and mother to her daughters,

’84 Barry Kent Love, age 57, of Charlotte, North Carolina, died Aug. 27, 2019. Barry joined Wachovia Bank in Atlanta, where he worked for 16 years. In 2002, Barry helped start Gulf Stream Asset Management in Charlotte as its chief credit officer. Gulf Stream was acquired by an outside firm in 2011 and Barry subsequently joined US Bank in an executive role and worked there until his recent retirement. Most significantly, Barry was an exemplary husband and father who never lost his playful humor or his intellectual curiosity about the world. An accomplished financial executive who prized his family and his faith above all.

’84 John L. Robertson “John R.”, age 62, of Auburn, Alabama, died Feb. 16, 2020. John R. spent the latter part of his lifelong career in hospital administration as the regional hospital administrator at West Central Georgia Regional Hospital in Columbus, GA. He was a friend and leader to all who asked. He will be remembered for his quick wit and contagious personality. His tremendous spirit and attitude positively affected so many around him. Perhaps his greatest accomplishment of all was his role as husband and father.

’84 Ida Bell Lett Swift, age 71, of Birmingham, Alabama, died Nov. 8, 2019. Ida was a loving and kind spirited person who volunteered her time often. A retired RN, she dedicated her life to caring for others. Ida was a generous and unselfish volunteer, helping Hospice of Monroe County, the Health Care Ministry and the Nurses’ Guild. She was also a member of the Black Nurses Association and an avid baker.

’85 Nelda Goodwin Clements, age 81, of Pell City, Alabama, died Jan. 11, 2020. She was employed by UAB Hospital as the charge nurse of the prestigious 9th floor suites taking care of foreign dignitaries, as well as local movie stars and musical performers. She will be greatly missed.

’87 Dell “Dee” Yarbrough Rollins, age 91, of Mobile, Alabama, died Nov. 16, 2019. Dee graduated from the University of South Alabama with a degree in Art History. She also received a Juris Doctor from Cumberland School of Law. She was a loving and tenderhearted individual who loved her family, her church and her country.

’88 Brent Alden King, Sr., age 56, of Huntsville, Alabama, died Sept. 21, 2019. At Samford, Brent was president of the Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity and a member of the Division One men’s tennis team. He practiced law in North Alabama for 30 years. He was well-loved in the community and a consistent winner of the “Best of the Best” Award in the Attorney Practice area by The Decatur Daily. He loved his children in an immeasurable capacity and always enjoyed and supported them in their extracurricular events.

’88 John William “Bill” Rhyne, Jr., age 59, of La Fayette, Georgia, died Aug. 23, 2019. Bill went into private practice as Rhyne Law / John William Rhyne, Jr. Attorney. He loved people, loved to help people, loved La Fayette and Walker County and he was a good friend to many.

’89 Deedra Abernethy, age 52, of Shalimar, Florida, died Oct. 8, 2019. Deedra spent her entire legal career helping children, first as an attorney for child support enforcement and then as managing attorney at the Department of Children and Families for the First Judicial Circuit. Deedra loved her family and friends and will be greatly missed.

1990s Graduates

’90 Bobby “Bob” Dixon Peterson, age 84, of Birmingham, Alabama, died May 17, 2020. Bob's talents and training in drafting and design led to a career at NASA in Huntsville in the 1960s, where he worked as part of the team who designed the Saturn V "Moon Rocket." In 1968, he opened El Palacio Mexican Restaurant in Birmingham, and grew it into a 17-unit chain that flourished across the Southeast, serving its famous hot sauce for over 30 years. Bob earned his law degree from Samford University, guiding him well through a later career in real estate. His parents instilled in him a tremendous work ethic and integrity of character, values that defined him as a person, a father and an employer. He believed in serving God by sharing one's resources, time and talents. In an effort to live a righteous life, he was generous in all of these ways.

’90 DeLaine Dawson “Trice” Summerville, age 51, of Birmingham, Alabama, died Nov. 30, 2019. DeLaine was a member of Shades Mountain Baptist Church and always loved helping people. She will be remembered as a loving mother and daughter.

’91 Samuel Joseph Fitts, age 77, of Gulf Shores, Alabama, died Nov. 27, 2019. Samuel received his master of religion from Beeson Divinity School. He was a member of Oyster Bay Baptist Church, but he served in many Baptist churches through the years as a pastor and youth director. He loved the Lord and was honored to be able to teach about God and His love.

’91 Nina Marie Isaminger, age 83, of Pelham, Alabama, died March 5, 2020. Nina was a housewife where she provided a loving home for her children and later was employed by the Alabama Baptist Children Home where she retired. Nina was an active member of Hunter Street Baptist Church, and loved being a part of Joy-full. She most of all enjoyed family gatherings and trips with her daughter.

’91 Kelli Ann Carruth Miller, age 53, of Idaho Falls, Idaho, died Jan. 25, 2020. She was a mother, teacher, shepherdess, author, historical reenactor/educator and entrepreneur. She will be dearly missed.

’91 John M. Whitcomb, age 64, of Birmingham, Alabama, died March 8, 2020. John had a long career in various areas of the banking industry. He was involved in Scouting, attaining the rank of Eagle Scout, and was a longtime member of Bluff Park United Methodist Church, where he served in many capacities. John's greatest joys were time spent with family and friends.

’92 Andrew M. Battle, age 51, of Birmingham, Alabama, died Oct. 13, 2019. Andy received his B.S. from Birmingham Southern and M.B.A. from Samford University. He was a long time employee in the banking business and will be missed by many.

’92 Carla Adams York, age 68, of Birmingham, Alabama, died Feb. 4, 2020. Carla worked as a professional paralegal for several firms and she will be dearly missed.

’93 Bernardette Jordan Hearns, age 50, of Cumming, Georgia, died Nov. 28, 2019. Bernardette served many years as a program manager for global solutions, acquisitions and integrations. She had a way of connecting with people and touching many lives. She was a faithful member of the Eastgate Church and involved in several ministries as a leader on the Hospitality Team and Womens Ministry Team. Bernardette had a great smile that would light up a room whenever she was in the company of her loved ones and friends. She was a great wife and a fantastic mother who loved her family.

’93 Geoffrey Edward Parmer, age 53, of Tampa, Florida, died April 28, 2020. Geoffrey was a kind, gregarious soul with a spot-on quick wit who generated warmth and humor everywhere he went. He was an accomplished lawyer, skilled in the courtroom and dedicated to his clients. He was a loving, proud father who coached his son's teams at Palma Ceia Little League, where he was known for his kindness and fairness. He never missed his son's baseball games or music recitals. He was a dedicated husband of 19 years. He will be missed.

’94 Clinton Chadwell Carter, age 53, of Montgomery, Alabama, died April 3, 2020. A proud native of Johnson City, Clint shared many memories of growing up in Seminole Woods and attending University School and Liberty Bell. Clint earned a degree in Business and Political Science from Emory and Henry College followed by Doctor of Jurisprudence from Cumberland School of Law. He had his own law firm in Montgomery. A man of integrity, he had a deep passion for friendship and spread his joy of music, literature, sports and kindness to all who knew him.

’96 Shannon Bearse Palmer, age 45, of Knoxville, Tennessee, died Aug. 14, 2019. Shannon began working with his father at Financial Concepts, Inc. Following the passing of his dad, he excelled at carrying on the family business with pride, integrity and immense success. More than anything else he loved his children and his family with a generous, adoring, sacrificing devotion that was unparalleled.

’97 Kevin Michael Williams, age 45, of Saltillo, Mississippi, died May 19, 2019. He was a 1992 graduate of New Hope High School and went on to receive his bachelor’s degree in theory and music composition from Samford University. Kevin was a member of the A Capella Choir and served as its president for one year. He also arranged music several years for Step Sing.  On August 9, 1997, he married his high school sweetheart, Christian Studdard. Kevin had dedicated his life to God and sharing his musical gifts and talents through leading others in worship in many churches and events throughout the United States. He worked as a personal banker for Cadence Bank in Columbus for four years. Kevin loved spending time with his family and friends, listening to music and watching a good movie. He was a member of Harrisburg Baptist Church in Tupelo.

2000s Graduates

’01 William Lawrence Ronning, age 48, of Savannah, Georgia, died Oct. 5, 2019. William became a partner at Bouhan, Williams, and Levy, LLP in Savannah before he partnered with his friend, Gary Nesbit, at Coastal Medical Billing. He became the sole proprietor of that business in 2016. Will was an unforgettable figure, a character who created a lasting impression with anyone who spent time with him. Will was an exemplary father, husband, son, brother and friend.

’05 Thomas “Tommy” Logan Davis, age 39, of Birmingham, Alabama, died Sept. 2, 2019. Tommy was an attorney in Birmingham and he will be greatly missed.

’05 Christopher “Chris” Scott Oakley, age 37, of Peachtree City, Georgia, died Dec. 12, 2019. He attended college at Samford University and graduated with a degree in business management. It was there that Chris developed a passion and call from God to use business as a platform for ministry. In 2017 Chris launched Chris Oakley Coaching to help Christian business owners win in the marketplace and leverage their influence for Kingdom impact. Chris loved investing in others in this way and he thrived on helping others achieve success. Many will remember him as an incredible leader and an even better friend with the most generous spirit and servant heart. His greatest love was for his Savior and Lord, Jesus Christ. He sought to make an impact on this world for Christ and to help others do the same. His faithful love for others was rooted in Jesus’ faithful love for him. Chris’ life will be forever remembered as a legacy that reflected Christ unapologetically.

’06 Mark Christopher Holmes, age 37, of Niceville, Florida, died May 12, 2020 after a courageous 16-month battle with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. Growing up, Mark loved the beach, a variety of sports, and kayaking the Nantahala River in North Carolina. At Niceville High School, he set an 18-year school record in the pole vault. He continued his pole vault career at Samford University where he met his wife, Jenny Wottle. Upon graduation, Mark was commissioned a 2nd Lieutenant in the U.S. Air Force by his dad, AF Lt. Col. (Retired) Dan Holmes. Mark's first duty assignment was at Malmstrom AFB, Montana, as a missile launch officer in the Minuteman III weapon system, where he also completed his M.B.A. degree. When he passed, Mark was a major in the AF Reserves and a contracting specialist at the USAF Academy Contracting Office.

2010s Graduates

’11 Joel Bradley Stevens, age 47, of Redmond, Washington, died Nov. 9, 2019. Joel and his wife, Shannon, opened Stevens Chiropractic where he served the community. As his practice grew, they opened Ultimate Fitness. In 2009 he went back to school and subsequently opened Summit Healthcare where he was able to provide a unique level of treatment to his patients. Joel enjoyed traveling and spending time with his family and friends and was especially proud of his daughter.

Faculty & Friends

Faculty Lila Faye Acker, age 78, of Ada, Oklahoma, died March 1, 2020. Lila received her bachelor of science in math and history from Texas A & M Commerce and continued her education earning a master’s degree in computer science. For many years, the Ackers made their home in Greenville, Texas, where Lila taught math at Greenville High School. In 1981, Lila and Charles moved to Birmingham, Alabama. During her 15-year tenure as a professor at Samford University she established the computer science department.

Faculty Deborah Anne Childs-Bowen, age 66, of Decatur, Alabama, died Dec. 16, 2019. Deborah began her career as an elementary school teacher before serving on multiple educational leadership roles. She was the associate professor and director of the Institute for Teaching and Student Achievement at Samford University. It was there she designed a mentoring program for local districts as part of an innovative initiative from the New Teacher Center and the Carnegie Foundation.

Faculty Susan Thorpe Dean, age 70, of Birmingham, Alabama, died Aug. 12, 2019. Her 30 plus years as a professor included time at UAB, Samford University, and the University of Maryland Europe. As an educator and as a mother, she imparted knowledge and showed by example how to lead a life of kindness, strength, generosity and good spirit.

Faculty Paul M. Hall, age 89, of Birmingham, Alabama, died Jan. 31, 2020. Paul served churches as the minister of music in Virginia, Louisiana and Birmingham and was the associate dean of the School of Music at Samford University. He also served in the U.S. Air Force during the Korean War as an officer.

Faculty William “Bill” O’Brien, age 86, of Dallas, Texas, died Feb. 1, 2020. He and his wife served 12 years as missionaries in Indonesia before he joined the administrative staff of the Foreign Mission Board in Richmond, Virginia, in 1976 for 15 years, including 9 years as executive vice president. In 1991 he became founding director of the Global Center at Beeson Divinity School, a resource for data and conferences ranging from urban strategy, conflict transformation and world Christian mission. He also taught missions at Beeson Divinity School before his retirement in 2000.

Staff Ann Potts Kolter, age 90, of Birmingham, Alabama, died Sept. 1, 2019. Ann was a long time member of Trinity United Methodist Church in Homewood and she loved her job as "Snow White" of the Samford University telephone services. Ann was a loving mother to three wonderful children who gave her grandchildren and great grandchildren. She will be dearly missed.

Staff Irene Morissette, age 92, of Birmingham, Alabama, died Oct. 5, 2019. Irene spent her career as an educator. She gained degrees in education from CT College of Education in Providence, Rhode Island and also attended Boston College for post graduate work. Irene joined the Sisters of the Holy Union of the Sacred Hearts in 1946. She earned the title of Mother Superior and served in her role as a sister for over 26 years, spending 11 of those years in Cameroon, Africa as a teacher and school principal. She returned to Alabama in 1974 where she worked for the Cumberland School of Law at Samford University for over 25 years. Irene loved life and loved her family. She never met a stranger and had a way of making everyone she met feel special.

Staff Patrick “Pat” Joseph Sullivan, age 69, of Birmingham, Alabama, died Dec. 1, 2019. Pat was the first Heisman Trophy winner from the state of Alabama in 1971. After several years in the NFL, he returned to Birmingham to the private business sector. At the age of 36, Pat left the private sector to answer his calling to mentor and empower young men through the game of football. He was head coach from 2007-2014 at Samford University. After retiring from coaching in 2014, Pat served at Samford University as a Special Advisor to the President. Pat was a man of faith and integrity; he was dedicated to enriching the lives of those around him. He selflessly loved the Lord, his family, and Jean, his wife of 50 years.

Staff Annie Ford Wheeler, age 99, of Homewood, Alabama, died Dec. 7, 2019. A woman of compassion, wisdom, humility, fortitude, and intellect, she will be remembered with fondness and gratitude by the many who knew and loved her in this life. In 1958 she joined the library staff of Howard College where she moved up the ranks from Special Collections cataloger to associate librarian for collection development, and a final two-year appointment as acting university l rarian. Throughout these years she served as mentor to generations of students. During her time at Samford she helped to spearhead the organization and development of Samford's highly acclaimed Institute of Genealogy and Historical Research.

Trustee Boyd Eugene Christenberry, age 91, of Montgomery, Alabama, died Nov. 28, 2019. Boyd graduated from Auburn University, with a BS in Agriculture Science in 1950. In 1956, he was hired to work at Farm Bureau Insurance, now ALFA, where he rose through the ranks to become the executive vice president of marketing until his retirement in 1993. Beyond his work and family life, Boyd was a consummate community leader, rising to chairman/president of many of the organizations he served. Throughout his family, work, and community life, he remained an active and committed member of his Church. Boyd received many honors throughout his life and was the subject of a book authored by J. Paul Till, entitled "Achieving Balance." That title sums up the essence of Boyd’s life, balancing his faith, family, community service and work life to provide a full life for his family, while blessing so many others along his life path.

Life Trustee ‘77 Harlan Hobart Grooms, Jr., age 88, of Birmingham, Alabama, died April 25, 2020. He received a BS in Law from the University of Alabama in 1954 and a law degree in 1955. He was the male recipient of the university's Algernon Sydney Sullivan Award for character and service to humanity. After completing Officer Candidate School in 1955, he was commissioned as second lieutenant in the Marine Reserves in which he served for 30 years on active or reserve duty, retiring as colonel. Hobart also married Julia Claire Walker in 1955. After 38 months of active duty in the Marine Corps, Hobart joined the Birmingham law firm of Spain & Gillon LLC with whom he practiced for 41 years. He was the firm's senior partner prior to retiring and becoming Of Counsel in 1999. Hobart served many years on Samford University's Board of Trustees and became a life trustee in 2015. He also served as cochair with the late Governor Albert Brewer of Samford's Presidential Search Committee, which nominated Dr. Andrew Westmoreland. A longtime member of Brookwood Baptist Church, he served as chairman of its board of deacons, adult Sunday school teacher, chairman of the Medical Missions Committee and also participated in several mission trips. In 2000, years after retiring from the Corps, Hobart was asked to design and supervise construction of the Alabama Marine Memorial. The beautiful memorial today stands at the Navy-Marine Corps Reserve Center in Bessemer, Alabama. He also conceived, researched, wrote and coproduced the acclaimed WWII documentary film, For One English Officer, concerning fellow Samford trustee A. Gerow Hodges' freeing of 149 Allied prisoners of war in Normandy in 1944. The award-winning film was shown on National Public Television. Hobart was a member of the Rotary Club of Birmingham and was active in the Baptist World Alliance, serving on its General Council.

Trustee Elmer Beseler Harris, age 80, of Cropwell, Alabama, died Dec. 23, 2019. Harris was an Alabama businessman, philanthropist and former CEO of Alabama Power. Harris joined Alabama Power in 1958 as an engineering co-op student at Auburn University. Following graduation, he spent 10 years in Alabama Power's Southern Division in various engineering positions, while continuing his education and serving in the U.S. Air Force and Alabama National Guard. Harris was named president and CEO of Alabama Power in 1990. He served 12 years as the company's CEO prior to retiring in 2002 with 44 years of service. A champion of economic development, Harris played a major role in creating the Economic Development Partnership of Alabama (EDPA). In 1989, Harris created the Alabama Power Foundation, the largest corporate foundation in the state. During his tenure, the foundation invested nearly $60 million in projects benefiting Alabama communities. Harris served as honorary consul general of Japan and was inducted into the Alabama Engineering Hall of Fame in 1996 and Alabama Business Hall of Fame in 2007.

Friend Doris Hitt Blake, age 95, of Birmingham, Alabama, died Aug. 30, 2019. Doris worked for Robert Mitchell Photography prior to marriage and children. Later in life she worked and retired from Bromberg's & Company in Birmingham. She was a member of Dawson Memorial Baptist Church in Homewood, Alabama. Doris was a wonderful daughter, sister, wife, mother, grandmother, aunt, cousin and friend. She never grew too old to make new friends. She is loved and will be missed by all.

Friend Robert Marvin “Bobby” Dailey, age 91, of Birmingham, Alabama, died Aug. 20, 2019. Bobby was self-employed as a seating installation contractor. He represented several companies, installing various types of seating in fifteen U.S. states and four continents. He was past president of the Kenny Morgan Scholarship Foundation and a member of the Earl Gartman Scholarship Foundation. Both organizations provide scholarships for students attending Samford University. Dailey was a loving and devoted husband, beloved father and much loved grandfather

Friend James Leo Garrett, Jr., age 94, of Nacogdoches, Texas, died Feb. 5, 2020. James unabashedly promoted Southern Baptists' educational institutions, publishing houses, foreign missions, ties to global Baptists and formation of a lobbying arm to preserve separation of church and state in the U.S. He was, though, first and foremost a trainer of ministers.

Friend John Kaul Greene, age 89, of Birmingham, Alabama, died Sept. 4, 2019. John attended Yale University where he earned a Bachelor of Science in Industrial Administration. After Yale John joined the U.S. Marines and was eventually recruited by the U.S. Clandestine Irregular Warfare Operation.  In 1958, IBM appointed John to manage their European division in Paris. William McCormick Blair then recruited John to lead his company's European business, thus beginning John's 42 year career with William Blair & Company. John will be remembered for his wide ranging intellect, his gentle sense of humor and his unique wisdom that changed many lives for the better.

Friend Betty Woods Healey, age 93, of Birmingham, Alabama, died Dec. 6, 2019. Betty received a BS degree from the University of Georgia. For several years she taught high school home economics in Quitman, Georgia. She then moved to Atlanta and worked as an economist for the Georgia Power Co. After several years Betty wanted to go back to school. She received a teaching scholarship at New York University. After receiving her Master's degree at NYU she worked for Cornell University in their New York food information programs. From New York she went to LSU to teach and do research. Several of her research projects were published. Betty loved Birmingham and taught part time at Samford University and the University of Montevallo. She became involved in many civic and charity organizations in the Birmingham area. In 1978 Betty was selected Woman of the Year for Birmingham. One of the organizations she volunteered for was Opera Birmingham where she was one of the founding members of the Opera Guild.

Friend James “Jimmy” Bill Koikos, age 81, of Bessemer, Alabama, died Nov. 16, 2019. After attending the University of Alabama, Jimmy started working at the Bright Star in 1960. Aside from his time serving in the U.S. Coast Guard in the early 1960s, he worked at the Bright Star for the rest of his life. Jimmy's ambition and natural gregariousness as manager and host led the Bright Star to higher levels of cuisine, service, and recognition from the 1970s onward. Jimmy was best known and loved for his infectious sense of humor, his generosity to family and friends, and the keen interest he showed in everyone he met. His presence will be felt at the restaurant he loved, in the hometown that he loved.

Friend Evelyn Pearson, age 80, of Birmingham, Alabama, died Sept. 4, 2019. She was a member of West End Baptist Church in Clanton, Alabama, and later, Calera Baptist Church. Evelyn worked many years in sales, including for Avon, World Book Encyclopedia and Liberty National Insurance, followed by several years at Walmart stores in Shelby County.

Friend Edith “Maxine” Scott Wright, age 95, of Trussville, Alabama, died May 22, 2020. She loved her family and kept in touch regularly with nieces, nephews and cousins. Maxine loved her church, her family and her friends, many of them for 50 or 60 years. Maxine retired as a CPCU from the insurance business in 1991. She enjoyed working and was active in the Insurance Women's Organization. She was a supporter of Samford University through service as a Life Member and officer in the Samford Legacy League. She was a devoted member of Deerfoot Baptist Church, singing in the choir, working in Vacation Bible School, serving in the WMU and teaching Sunday School. She will be dearly missed.

Friend Marvin “List” Underwood, Jr., age 69, of Mountain Brook, Alabama, died Nov. 20, 2019. He was a graduate of Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas where he was a member of Kappa Sigma fraternity. He was a banker for 45 years and recently retired from Regions Bank. List was a devoted husband, a loving father and grandfather. He will be greatly missed by his family and friends.