William Harold Gatling

Published 9:28 am Tuesday, July 17, 2012

MURFREESBORO – William Harold Gatling, 67, husband to Peggy Wommack Gatling of Murfreesboro and father to Melissa Ann Gatling, departed for his final journey on Sunday, July 15, 2012.

Harold was a gentle spirited man that loved his family and took great pride in his family’s history, most notably his last name “Gatling” Harold spent a large portion of his free time in prior years researching his family tree and his direct connection to Doctor Richard J. Gatling, the inventor of the “Gatling Gun”. This gun was used initially during the Civil War and was also used for several campaigns thereafter by the US Army.  This was the first machine gun and was capable of firing 200 rounds per minute.

Harold retired from International Paper / Union Camp in Franklin VA after many years of service.  Prior to his career at International Paper he served in the United States Air Force.

Harold was a man of few words; when he did speak his statements carried weight and value to those who respected and loved him.  He would often visit family that resided at a place called Spring Creek in the Appalachian Mountains of NC. This place at Spring Creek was the most sacred of locations to him.  He cherished each moment that his feet touched mountain soil.

In Hertford County before and after retirement he enjoyed growing produce in his garden at the family farm located just a few miles from where he resided.  He earned the certificate of Master Gardener, and he was indeed just that.  He enjoyed agriculture and anything that revolved around this subject.

Harold suffered from a very aggressive form of dementia called Pick’s disease.  He was diagnosed with this just under three years ago.  This disease was extremely aggressive with Harold and the adverse effects were ever present during the past year.  He eventually lost his ability to verbally speak, but retained the ability to speak through his eyes.  In those eyes you could see the compassion and love that he felt, you could see his happiness when he laid eyes upon his daughter. His eyes were truly the window to his soul and his soul was not affected by his disease.

If Harold could have chosen a heaven it would be in the valley where Spring Creek flows, with his family by his side; instead of streets of gold he would have preferred the dirt road that led to this place and the small house that his grandmother lived would be his mansion.

Funeral services will be held at Massey Funeral Home in Aulander. The family will receive visitors at the funeral home on Wednesday, July 18 from 7-9 p.m. The funeral service will be held the following day, on Thursday, July 19 at 2:00 p.m. The graveside service will immediately follow at Meherrin Baptist Church Cemetery in Murfreesboro.

Online condolences may be sent to the family at