Deaths
Home :: Deaths

R. Harris Kesler D’43 died June 23, 2007, in Richmond, Va. He was a U.S. Navy chaplain during World War II in the Pacific theater. Afterward, following additional post-graduate training at Union Seminary in New York, he served parishes across the Virginia Conference of the United Methodist Church for 37 years before his retirement in 1984. Predeceased by his wife, Sarah, he is survived by five nieces and many great-nieces and nephews.

Benjamin F. Musser D’44 died July 3, 2007, in Elm City, N.C. He was a United Methodist pastor and evangelist in the North Carolina Conference for 43 years. His wife of 55 years, Hattie Lewis Musser, predeceased him. He is survived by two sons.

George H. Needham D’44 died May 2, 2007, in Asheville, N.C. He was a chaplain who earned the Legion of Merit for his service with the U. S. Army during World War II and Korea, and a parish minister in the Western North Carolina Conference of the United Methodist Church for 42 years until his retirement in 1982. He is survived by his wife of 64 years, Clara Howell Needham, a son and a daughter.

Benjamin R. Oliphint D’46 died July 7, 2007, in Houston, Texas. A United Methodist pastor who served parishes in Louisiana and Texas, he was elected bishop in 1980, and he led the Houston, Kansas and Louisiana areas over the next 12 years. He was instrumental in helping start Africa University in Mutare, Zimbabwe, and launching the Methodist Global Education Fund for Leadership Development. Following retirement he served for 10 years as president of the Texas United Methodist College Association. He is survived by his wife, Nancy Kelley Oliphint, a daughter, three sons, and several grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

Troy J. Barrett D’48 died July 9, 2007, in Cary, N.C. He was a distinguished leader in youth ministries and served for more than 40 years as a United Methodist pastor in the North Carolina Conference of the United Methodist Church. During his student years in the Divinity School, Troy was Duke University’s head cheerleader from 1945 to 1947. He is survived by his wife, Robbie Williams Barrett, three sons and eight grandchildren.

Max W. Wicker T’49, D’52 died May 10, 2007, in Southern Pines, N.C. A Baptist chaplain to Duke University students, he transferred to the Methodist Church in 1954 and subsequently served parishes across Virginia for 40 years. He is survived by his wife, Ann Stewart Wicker WC’55, five children and seven grandchildren.

Stacy Selph D’59 died July 1, 2007, in Lakeland, Fla. He was a United Methodist pastor in the Florida Conference who also served in the U.S. Army Air Corps during World War II. He is survived by his wife of 62 years, Elizabeth A. Selph, two daughters and four grandchildren.

Ben D. Bradley D’61 died June 22, 2007, in Gulf Breeze, Fla. He was a U.S. Army Airborne chaplain and Bronze Star recipient during service in Vietnam, and later a pastor in the Alabama/West Florida Conference of the United Methodist Church. He is survived by his wife, Sallie Bradley, four children and two grandchildren.

Raymond M. Rowe Jr. D’63 died May 26, 2007, in Durham, N.C. He served for many years as a pastor and district superintendent in the West Virginia Conference of the United Methodist Church, and in retirement he mentored ministerial students, worked with Methodist family services, and as a visitation pastor. Dr. Rowe is survived by his wife, Mary Belle Rowe, a son, two daughters including Mary E. Rowe Miller D’92, a United Methodist pastor in Ramseur, N.C., an adopted son, five stepchildren and 15 grandchildren.

Charles Lee Helton D’73 died March 29, 2007, in Charlotte, N.C. He was a pastor in Ohio, North Carolina, and Washington, D.C., elected in 1994 as the 49th bishop of the Christian Methodist Episcopal Church, initially serving in West Africa and then overseeing the Seventh Episcopal District which includes the Carolinas, Washington and New York. He and his wife also founded a nursing home. Bishop Helton is survived by his wife, Willie Ann Stitt Helton, two daughters and a son.

Jerry Lowry D’85 died May 4, 2007, in Sanford, N.C. He was a pastor and, at the time of his death, district superintendent in the North Carolina Conference of the United Methodist Church. A member of the Lumbee tribe, he served and supervised more than two dozen local churches—most of them Native American—as a pastor and cooperative parish director. He was also a church consultant, campus minister, chaplain and certified pastoral counselor during his 25 years of professional ministry. He was a former chair of the board of trustees at the University of North Carolina-Pembroke. He is survived by his wife and high school sweetheart, Doreen Lowry, two daughters and six grandsons.