The R-C News-Herald Obituaries for April 5, 2008

Published 12:00 am Monday, April 14, 2008

Violette M. Graham

NORFOLK, Va. – Violette Mizelle Graham, 83, a native of Bertie County, died April 1, 2008, in Sentara Leigh Hospital.

she retired from First Colonial Christian School in Virginia Beach as a school teacher. She was a member of Azalea Baptist Church.

Survivors include her daughter, Sara Hawkins of Norfolk; two sisters, Sara Mizelle Richardson of Winston-Salem, and Minnie Mizelle of Suffolk; and three grandchildren.

, David Graham, Michael Graham and Wesley Graham; three great-grandchildren.

A memorial service will be conducted Monday, April 21, at 11 a.m. in Azalea Baptist Church. Hollomon-Brown Funeral Home, Tidewater Drive Chapel, is handling the arrangements. Condolences may be offered to the family at

Richard Thomas Vann

MURFREESBORO n Richard Thomas Vann, 87, a native of Murfreesboro, NC, died April 1, 2008 in the loving care of Countryside Village Retirement Community in Stokesdale, NC, where he had resided since November 2002.

A funeral service will be conducted at 11:00 a.m. Saturday, April 5, 2008 at Meherrin Baptist Church by the Rev. James Hester and assisted by Dr. Rob Evans. Burial will be in the church cemetery following the funeral. The family received friends Friday, April 4 from 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. at the church fellowship hall. Memorial donations may be made to Meherrin Baptist Church, Meherrin Lane, Murfreesboro, NC 27855 or Chowan University (“Campaign for Columns”), One University Place, Murfreesboro, NC 27855 or Eastern NC Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association, 400 Oberlin Road, Suite 220, Raleigh, NC 27605.

Mr. Vann was a lifelong member of Meherrin Baptist Church where he taught Sunday School classes for many years and served as a deacon and trustee. He was a charter member and first President of the Murfreesboro Exchange Club where he served and volunteered for over 50 years. He was the 1968 recipient of the Book of Golden Deeds Award presented by the Exchange Club for his achievements, contributions and dedicated service to the local community where he resided. He helped organize and was a member of the Murfreesboro Historical Association and was known for his interest in local history and genealogy. He was elected to the Murfreesboro Town Council in 1947 and served until he was elected Mayor of Murfreesboro in 1953. As Mayor, he helped lead a period of development and growth for the town for many years until resigning in 1968. While Mayor, he was appointed to the USS North Carolina Battleship Commission to help preserve this Navy ship as a memorial to those North Carolinians who gave their lives in World War II. In 1968, he was appointed to serve as a local Magistrate for the State of North Carolina for 6 years until being elected as Hertford County Clerk of Superior Court in 1976. He was elected for several terms until he retired in early 1989. He was a graduate of Murfreesboro High School and Chowan University, Murfreesboro, NC. He attended both N.C. State University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and completed other post graduate work at the Institute of Government (now known as the UNC School of Government). Following college, he worked for Glenn L. Martin Aircraft Company for 3 years then served his country for 2 years in the U.S. Navy as WWII was ending. He returned to his hometown to work and eventually owned and operated Vann’s Red & White Supermarket for 26 years. He was married to the late Lavinia Sullivan Vann, who passed away in 2006, for over 60 years. Richard and Lavinia loved history and its preservation and were one of the first couples in the town to act on their dreams when they purchased and restored “Melrose,” the historic home of the founder of Murfreesboro, in 1964. Mr. Vann enjoyed his family and grandchildren, gardening and bird watching at Melrose for many years until the Vanns relocated to Stokesdale, NC to be closer to their daughter.

Survivors include one daughter and three sons: Lavinia Vann Evans and her husband, Rob of East Bend, NC; Richard Thomas Vann, Jr. and his wife, Marta of Dallas, TX; Harry Sullivan Vann and his wife, Anita of Peacham, VT; and Samuel Hearst Vann and his wife, Jane of Virginia Beach, VA; twelve grandchildren; and eleven great-grandchildren.

Garrett Funeral Home Ashley Chapel 205 NC Highway 42 West Ahoskie, NC, is serving the Vann family.

Gladys R. Berry

WINDSOR n Gladys Ryan Berry, 80, a native of Bertie County, died March 22, 2008 at home.

A funeral was conducted Saturday at Tabernacle The Pillar of Fire, Windsor, by the Rev. Edward Conaway. Burial was the Ryan Family Cemetery, Windsor. Cherry’s Funeral Home was in charge.

She was a CNA-1.

Survivors include four daughters, Dorothy Conway, Darlena Potter and Barbara Baylor, all of Windsor and Jean Bell of Plymouth; two sons, John Swain of Winton and Clifton Swain of Fayetteville; one sister, Theresa Elliot of New York; two brothers, Edward and Weldon Ryan, both of Windsor; a host of grandchildren; and great-grandchildren.

Barbara Jordan

SUFFOLK, Va. – Barbara Byrd Whitehurst Jordan, 75, a native of Nansemond County, died March 27, 2008

in Sentara Heart Hospital March 27, 2008. She was the widow of Melvin E. Whitehurst.

Mrs. Jordan had retired from Union Camp with 30 years of service as senior insurance clerk and was a member of Bethlehem Christian Church.

Survivors include her husband, C. Frank Jordan of Suffolk; three sons, Michael O. Whitehurst of Suffolk, Mitchell J. Whitehurst of Virginia Beach and M. Wayne Whitehurst of Corapeake; one brother, William H. Byrd of Suffolk; a stepson, C.F. Jordan Jr. of Roanoke Rapids; a stepdaughter, Suzanne Langston of Suffolk; two grandchildren; and five stepgrandchildren.

A funeral was conducted

Sunday in Bethlehem Christian Church by the Revs. Jonathan Palmer and Mark Burns. Entombment was in the Nansemond Suffolk Mausoleum. Harrell and Hill Funeral Home, Suffolk, was in charge. Memorial contributions may be made to Bethlehem Christian Church, Oakland Christian Church, Lake Prince Woods Benevolent Fund or a charity of your choice.

Bettie M. Cotton

NEWARK, N.J. – Bettie Mae Cotton, 87, a Southampton County native, died March 28, 2008.

A funeral was conducted Friday in Galilee Missionary Baptist Church, Branchville, Va. Faison’s Funeral Home, Seaboard,was in charge.

George L. Goodman

SUNBURY – George L. Goodman, died March 31, 2008.

The youngest of five children, George was born Nov. 7, 1925, to the late Charlie Hood Goodman and Dahlia Roscoe Goodman Lassiter. George was educated in the public schools of Gates County and graduated at the age of 15. He further studied at Hampton University, Hampton. He became a member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc. while earning a BS degree in science. George was drafted into the U.S. Army. He re-joined St. John AME Zion Church.

He is survived by a sister, Ida Saunders; and nieces and nephews.

A funeral will be conducted at 10 a.m. Saturday in St. John AME Zion Church, Sunbury, by the Rev. Samuel Buck. Burial will be in the Drake Memorial Cemetery. The body will lie in repose Saturday from 9 a.m. until time of service. Stallings Funeral Chapel, Gatesville, is in charge.

Lucille C. Vinson

WINTON – Lucille Cooke Vinson 89, of the 300 block of River Road, died Thursday April 3, 2008 at Roanoke Chowan Hospital.

She was a native of Bertie County, a daughter of the late James Thomas and Cora Hoggard Cooke, a retired Bank Teller and Cashier for Tarheel Bank, now Southern Bank  in Winton, and also with her husband owned and operated Old Mill Golf and Country Club in Winton. She was a member of Winton Baptist Church and the widow of Woodrow E. Vinson, Sr.

Left to cherish her memory is two sons; Woodrow E. Vinson, Jr. and wife Kay S.

Ahoskie, NC, Donald W. Vinson and wife Judy H., Winton, NC, four grandchildren;

Scott Vinson and wife Jody, Newman, GA., Lisa Pope and husband David, Winton, NC., Hope Vinson, Wilmington, NC, Christy Michele Hodges and husband, Tim, Como, NC, three great grandchildren; Jack Davidson Vinson, Clayton Ellis Vinson, and Sara Grace Vinson; and many nieces and nephews.

A celebration of life service will be 4:00 PM Sunday, April 6, 2008 at Garrett Funeral Home Ashley Chapel 205 NC Highway 42 West Ahoskie, NC, with Rev. Franklin Stansbury officiating. Burial will be in Ahoskie Cemetery.

The family will receive friends at the funeral home from 2:30 to 4:00 PM Sunday prior to services and other time at the home of Woodrow E. Vinson, Jr. Memorial donations may be made to University Health Systems Hospice Care P.O. Box 272, Ahoskie, NC. 27910 

Edna E. Brinkley

AHOSKIE n Edna E. Boswell Todd Brinkley, age 81, of the 1000 block of Troy Street, died Thursday, April 3, 2008, peacefully at home.

Mr. Brinkley was born June 3, 1926 in Bertie County, NC, the daughter of the late James L. Boswell and Dellie Hughes Boswell both of Bertie County, NC.  She was the wife of deceased Lewis Todd, Jr. and deceased Donald L. Brinkley.

Mrs. Brinkley was a long time employee at the Fashion Shop in Ahoskie and the Hertford County School System and a member of the First Baptist Church of Ahoskie.

Survivors include her daughter, Betty T. Earley and husband, Wayne of Harrellsville, NC; her son, Donald E. Brinkley and wife, Celeste of Hickory, NC; brothers, James L. Boswell and wife, Helen of Warner Robins, GA, Joe Boswell and wife, Hazel of Robersonville, NC; sisters, Sheila B. Morgan and husband, Charlie of Atlantic Beach, NC, Pat B. Timberlake and husband, Tim of Roanoke Rapids, NC, Sharon B. Peele and deceased husband Mike of Lewiston, NC; grandchildren, Penny E. Santa of Williamsburg, VA, and Derrick W. Earley of Hampton, VA; and step grandchildren, Whitney and Hayley Ward of Hickory, NC.

A celebration of life service will be conducted at 1:00 p.m. on Sunday, April 6, 2008 at Garrett Funeral Home-Ashley Chapel, 205 NC Highway 42 West, Ahoskie, with burial to follow in Ahoskie Cemetery.  The family will receive friends one hour prior to services at the funeral home and other times at the home.  Flowers are welcome or memorial donations may be made in Mrs. Brinkley’s name to University Health Systems Hospice Care, P.O. Box 272, Ahoskie, NC, or to First Baptist Church of Ahoskie, P.O. Box 649, Ahoskie, NC, 27910.