Class Notes 


Jonathan Jeffries was named a Distinguished Graduate at his Air Force ROTC commissioning ceremony in December. The honor is given to the top 10 percent of the Air Force ROTC graduating class nationwide, which this year included 1,815 graduates from 144 detachments.

M-ObrockMark Obrock has joined Hamilton Capital Management as an associate financial advisor.


ComptonGrayson B. Compton '15 '16 joined Butler+Burke LLP in Winston-Salem as an associate accountant.

Amanda Bounajim has joined Kelly Services as the scientific and clinical business development lead in the Raleigh-Durham area.


Cara Linens Sharpe wed Justin Sharpe '12 (left) on Sept. 30 at Preston­wood Country Club, Cary. The couple lives in Charlotte.
Tina Foster '13'15 '16 wed G. Clay Mickey Jr. on Oct. 15 at Flowers Landing, Belhaven. The wedding party included Ashley N. Bonner '16, Tammy Mickey Reynolds '97 '99, Erica H. White '01, Melissa McDonald Mickey '03 '08, E. Paul Mickey '04, Charles Reynolds '95 and Joseph D. Pope '03 '07. She works as a public communication specialist with the ECU College of Nursing.

H-VarnerHarold Varner III '12 retained his PGA Tour card for 2017 by finishing in the top 125 on the official money list and then won the Australian PGA Championship in December. He had lost the same tournament in a playoff in 2015.


Voices CDSteve N. Lewis Jr., director of the Midwest Chamber Ensemble, has been named a semifinalist for the American Prize in orchestral performance and in performance in American Music for the ensemble's CD, Voices from the Middle: New Music for Kansas City.


Paige White married NASCAR driver Brad Keslowski on Feb. 10.They live in Mooresville


Anthony J. Maglione has been commissioned to compose a 25-minute cantata for chorus, soli, organ and chamber orchestra for the 2018 American Guild of Organists National Convention to be held in Kansas City in July 2018.


Dana Bullard Hall of Autryville was named parks and recreation director for Sampson County in January. Timothy James Morgan has been appointed to the North Carolina Symphony Society board of trustees. His term expires in 2020. He is a risk advisor for Towne Insurance in Raleigh.

B-QuallsBrandon Qualls '05 executive chef of Villedge Wood-Fired Kitchen and Bar in Greenville, has been honored by the Food Network and as a competitor at the Food Lion Cooking Challenge at the North Carolina Seafood Festival. The Food Network featured Qualls' CBR Burger on its list, "51 Top Burgers from Coast to Coast." In September, Qualls won the Chef's Hat at the Seafood Festival cooking competition for the second consecutive year.


Kelly Garner Dixon has been promoted to budget and grants analyst for Pitt County. Lesley Ashworth Tyson '03 '09 has been named the K-5 director for Harnett County Schools.


ChessChesley "Chess" Black '00 '08 joined Sealed Air Corp. as executive director of corporate campus operations for the new global headquarters in Charlotte. He was previously executive director of university IT service management of Johnson & Wales University's four-campus system.




Jarrett Duke Wallace and Susan Gregg Wallace '99 '00 announce the birth of their daughter, Juliette Grace, on Aug. 8.


Brian Thomas McDonald received his doctorate from Penn State University and is now a district administrator in the school district of Lancaster in Lancaster, Pa.  Denise Cobb Urban has been promoted to budget administrator for Pitt County. Larry "Donnell" Williams is director of quality assurance for Healthgrades in Raleigh.


Jennifer Marceron Moss has been recognized with the Florida Public Relations Association's John Dillin Professional Award, the highest honor in the organization. Moss was recognized for her continued and sustained leadership in FPRA.


Dr. Emil Cekada '91 has joined Wilson Surgical Associates and the medical staff at Wilson Medical Center. He will be offering general surgery services.

Tom FlyeWilliam Thomas "Tom" Fyle has been appointed to the Wilson Community College Board of Trustees.

Rob PressleyRob Pressley, president of Coldwell Banker Commercial MECA in Charlotte, has been named to the Platinum level of the Coldwell Banker Commercial Circle of Distinction. Pressley was recognized for being the top sales professional in his state for the organization.




Michael Camden is the 2016-2017 president of the Virginia Advisory Council on Military Education. The VA-ACME mission is to serve, support and educate the military community in Virginia.


Glenn F. Kuhn III of Oneida, N.Y., received the Samuel Gompers Distinguished Service Medal for demonstrating qualities of leadership that keep union management strong. Kuhn is a nationally certified school psychologist and building principal in the Rome City School District, Rome, N.Y.


Richard L. Barfield Jr. has retired from the Wake County Public School System after 30 years.


S-BrodyStephen Brody '83 '84, a senior financial planner and the founder of Greenville Financial Advisors, has received his doctorate in interdisciplinary leadership from Creighton University.


Tom Gill Return Bookcover Tom Gill published Return to Emerald Isle, the sequel to his 2016 novel, The Bridge. The book takes place 17 years later as Kirby and her 14-year-old son, Journey, return home following the tragic and heroic death of her husband, Marine Lt. Col. Sam Fontaine. In their return, they face barriers including transition from a successful military family to a single mom with a teenage son, issues with a mysterious suitor and life-and-death challenges with a killer hurricane. It's available in area book stores and through Amazon.



TantClaude Tant has joined Florida Luxurious Properties as a broker associate.


RogersDebbie Caton Rogers '79 '86 has been named executive director of the North Carolina Foundation for Alcohol and Drug Studies. She retired from the Eastern Area Health Education Center in August.


L-McMahonLinda McMahon of Stamford, Conn., has been named to lead the federal Small Business Administration. She's the former chief executive of World Wrestling Entertainment.


RowlandWilliam H. "Bill" Rowland received the Governor's Medallion Award for Volunteer Service in July. He was honored for his 57 years documenting the history of the CSS Neuse and was named an honorary captain of the Neuse. The remains of the Civil War ironclad are in Kinston.


NE GordonNympie Edgerton Gordon '41 of Carthage died Sept. 13 at 97. She was a teacher and later assisted in running a family business with her husband, Leslie.

BlevinsNorma Wellons Blevins '42 of New Bern died Sept. 13. She was a high school teacher at a number of different schools in North Carolina and West Virginia.

AL HusseyAlice Leigh Hargrove Hussey '42 of Wilmington died Nov 14 at 95. She was active in a number of groups in the Tarboro community.

J MillerMildred "Jay" Jordan Miller '46 of Asbury Grove, Mass. died Sept. 6 at 92. She was a physical education teacher and opened her home to seminary students, missionaries and other young people.

PH GrayPeggy Hopkins Gray '47 of Wilmington died Nov. 30 at 90. She taught at Williamston High School and was the librarian at Williamston Primary School for many years.

CC HughesClifford Craven Hughes Jr. '49 of Wilmington died Sept. 15 at 89. He was a custom home and commercial builder, working with the Minchew Corporation and Scholz Homes before founding the C Hughes Company.

EP White Enid Petteway White '49 of Winston-Salem died June 21 at 85. She was a former teacher at Farm Life High School and operated the Arlington Hall Art Gallery in Greenville for 15 years.

J Worsley Jerome Worsley '49 of Fuquay-Varina died Nov. 13 at 88. The majority of his 32-year vocational career was spent at what is known as Durham Technical Community College. There, he served as a professor, dean of adult and general education and dean of the faculty for technical degrees and vocational educational diplomas. He was one of the founders of the N.C. Community College Adult Educators Association and served as its president.


TE CaseyThomas Edward Casey '50 of Grifton died Nov. 4 at 92. He was the owner and operator of Grifton Gas Company for 45 years. William Carter Smith '51 of Greenville died Jan. 20. A World War II veteran, he worked in and taught correctional and rehabilitation administration.

RD MeiggsRaymond David Meiggs '53 of Hertford died Oct. 5 at 84. After two years as a teacher, he embarked on a 60-year career in the fertilizer industry in North Carolina and was a founding member of Parkway Ag and served as its consultant for 19 years. Vera Hardison Salter '53 '77 of Beaufort County died Oct. 10 at 85. She was a retired second-grade school teacher. Ruth Branch Little McCormick '54 of Colorado Springs, Colo., died Oct. 14 at 83. She traveled the country throughout her husband's Air Force career and was a singer, pianist and piano teacher. Mary Lou Stewart Wingard '56 of Aiken, S.C., died Oct. 4 at 82. She taught school for 40 years in Newport News, Va., Hollywood, Fla., Wilmington and Turbeville, S.C.

JB NicholsJay B. Nichols '57 of Greenville died Sept. 11 at 80. He spent his career in the U.S. Marine Corps, retiring as a lieutenant colonel. He was stationed in Vietnam, Cherry Point, Twenty­nine Palms, Calif., Washington, D.C., and Okinawa, Japan. Rebecca Dean Gaylord '58 '60 of Jupiter, Fla., died Dec. 7 at 80. She was a home economics teacher and guidance counselor, and after retiring from education she ran an insurance business and worked as a real estate agent.

PT PatrickPearl Tyndall Patrick '58 of Gastonia died Nov. 6 at 79. She taught school in Gaston County for 30 years, with most of her career spent at Grier Junior High. Alfred Lonza "A. L." Moye '59 of Snow Hill died Sept. 17 at 85. A special education teacher, he retired from the Caswell Center in Kinston.

BP McLawhornBilly Powell "Bill" McLawhorn '59 '61 of Ayden died Aug. 20. He worked in education for 30 years with the Martin County Board of Education and in adult education at Pitt Community College for several years, and he also bought tobacco for the TY Tobacco Co. Mary Byrd Nickerson '59 of Framingham, Mass., died Oct. 23 at 87. She was a teacher and worked for her family insurance business.

V StricklandVerne Strickland '59 of Wilmington died Nov. 12 at 79. He was an anchor at WRAL-TV in Raleigh for 16 years, and his voice was also heard daily on the N.C. News Network and Capitol Agribusiness Network. He also served as media consultant for U.S. Sen. Jesse Helms' re-election campaign, produced a television special called KGB: The Lie and the Truth and later formed his own multimedia production company, Verne Strickland Communications, which provided specialized communications to leading agribusiness companies and government agencies.


Robert Joseph Nelson '60 of Fayetteville died Sept. 27 at 81. He was a public health professional with the Cumberland County Health Department, where he specialized in the treatment of infectious diseases. Johnny Daniel Wike '60 of Cullowhee died Sept. 3 at 82. He coached football at Cullowhee High School and Carson-Newman College and spent most of his career coaching football and golf at Western Carolina University. He was inducted into the WCU Athletics Hall of Fame in 2009.

D HodgsonRichard L. "Dick" Hodgson '61 of Wilmington, Del., died Oct. 11 at 84. He was a history teacher and a track and cross-country coach, spending most of his career at The Tatnall School. Billy Ray Ward '61 of Ocean Isle Beach died Sept. 28 at 83. He enjoyed a successful 30-plus year career as an educator, spending most of his career in Marlboro County as the principal of Wallace High School. He also served as assistant superintendent of the Marlboro County School System. Louis W. Sewell Jr. '61 '66 of Jacksonville died Oct. 14 at 81. He was a founding director of Investors Management Corporation, the corporate parent of Golden Corral, where he served until his retirement in 2015. His involvement helped Golden Corral grow into a national chain of 500 restaurants. He also founded Coastal Equipment Co. in Jacksonville. Percy Eugene "Gene" Saunders Jr. '62 of Raleigh died Aug. 15 at 80. He was an accountant for C.C. Mangum Construction Co. in Raleigh. George Donnley "Goldie" Golden '63 of Atlantic died on Dec. 2 at 75. A lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Air Force, he earned his pilot wings in 1965 at Webb Air Force Base, Texas, and completed combat crew training in F-102s. He flew combat assignments in Vietnam, winning the Air Medal and the Distinguished Flying Cross, and he worked as an instructor pilot at air bases in Texas, Florida and Georgia. After his military retirement, he was president of KRIGO Associates.

BC BuchananBetty Cash Buchanan '64 of Winterville died Sept. 21 at 75. She taught school in Winston-Salem and then Farmville for 20 years. Joyce Lee Worthington '64 of Greenville died Nov. 5 at 74. She was a longtime educator with Pitt County Schools. Virginia Dickens Cannon '65 of Charleston, S.C., died Sept. 2 at 87. She spent 30 years as a guidance counselor with Charleston County Schools and was a dance instructor and etiquette teacher. Wade Anderson Gardner Jr. '66 of Wilson died Nov. 10 at 80. A lifelong educator, he was a teacher and principal at Charles L. Coon Junior High, Woodard Junior High and Beddingfield High in Wilson. He was awarded the Order of the Long Leaf Pine in 2004. Robert Christesen '66 '87 of Raleigh died Oct. 12 at 73. Known to his students and colleagues in the Wake County Public School System as "Mr. C.," he was an educator and former opera singer. He was a teacher and administrator for a number of Wake County schools and sang with the N.C. Symphony and at Duke Chapel.

WL UnderwoodWinston Lee Underwood '66 of Roanoke, Va., died Oct. 15 at 78. He served as a principal for Botetourt County School System and as director of career education for the Title 3 project in Bedford County. In 1983, he started a career in real estate and founded Winn & Company Realty. Janine "Jann" K. Bertram '68 of Virginia Beach, Va., died Sept. 17 at 69. Ronald B. "Ron" Byerly '68 of Charlotte died Aug. 29 at 70. He spent more than 25 years in the financial services community, retiring from Met Life. Sharon Leigh Davis '68 of Southern Pines died Sept. 24, at 69. She and her husband, Woody, owned and operated Sherwood Downs Farm in Southern Pines, and her passion of horses led her to many Morgan horse champ­ion­ships and carriage-driving events.

F ReddickFrances (Elaine) Reddick '68 of League City, Texas, died Nov. 24 in Webster, Texas, at age 70. She taught elementary school in North Carolina and Virginia for several years. Jasper Donald Hudson '69 of Greenville died Nov. 20 at 76. He was employed by Greenville Utilities Commission as assistant finance director, retiring in 2000 after 31 years of service.


Larry Ray Deal '70 of Salisbury died Oct. 24 at 68. He was the head football, track and basketball coach and the athletic director at South Rowan High School. He also served in the U.S. Army Reserves for more than 20 years. Retired Lt. Col. Douglas R. Whiteside '70 of Leavenworth, Kan., died Aug. 28 at 68. He served in the U.S. Army for 24 years, and after retirement he worked for USPA and IRA as a financial planner. Anne W. Blanchard '71 of Seven Springs died Nov. 26 at 79. She taught in the business department at Wayne Community College for 30 years.

JM AlexanderJennie Murphy Alexander '71 '73 of Greenville died Oct. 16 at 84. She worked as the head of reference services at the Wilson County Public Library from 1973 to 1997. The Rev. William Dail Tyndall '72 of Wilson died Nov. 4 at 89. He was a retired Baptist minister, serving many churches in eastern North Carolina. He was also a chaplain with the Wilson Sanatorium, Baptist Hospital in Winston-Salem and Louisiana Technical Institute, and he worked in administration with Carteret Technical College and Wilson Community College. Elinor Workman '72 of Seneca, S.C., died Oct. 14 at 84. She was a teacher for more than 25 years in the Wilson County Schools. Rebecca Crane "Becca" Gray '73 of Fort Mill, S.C., died Oct. 14 at 68. She was employed by Bimco Wholesale Plumbing Supply in Lexington for 28 years and later worked at Lowe's in Fort Mill, S.C. Jerry Lynn Jones '73 of Williamston died Nov. 24 at 65. He represented wholesale and retail floor companies in eastern North Carolina, Tidewater Virginia and eastern South Carolina and founded and co-owned The Rug Shop in Williamston. Larry Wayne Curry '74 of Concord died Nov. 10 at 64. He worked for Pass and Seymour-LeGrand, where he was a supervisor in the distribution center.

WL BoyetteWanda Lou Adams Boyette '75 of Clinton died Nov. 3. She was a registered nurse, serving as an obstetrical staff nurse, medical-surgical staff nurse, head nurse of surgical unit, patient care coordinator and director of nursing at Sampson Memorial Hospital and chief operating officer of Sampson Regional Medical Center. She was also an associate faculty member at Duke University School of Nursing. Gail Gregory Burgher '75 of Asheville died Oct. 2 at 65. She was a writer for the Daily Advance in Elizabeth City and the Asheville Citizen-Times. Susan Joyner Shaw Gerard '75 of Blounts Creek died Jan. 11 at 64. A member of the ECU College of Nursing Hall of Fame, she began her career in home health before joining Beaufort Regional Health System in 1998, rising to the position of senior director of growth and clinical services at Vidant Beaufort Hospital before her retirement in September. Ray Garrett Stephens '75 of Athens, Ohio, died Sept. 2 at 72. He was internationally known as an accounting academic, consultant, expert witness and professional educator who linked academic research to accounting practice. He taught on the faculties of Ohio State University, Kent State University and Ohio University. James Jordan Jr. '76 '83 of Macon died Sept. 6 at 81. He was a teacher and later assistant superintendent of Warren County Schools. Josie Ernestine Sermons Roberts '77 of Edgewater, Fla., died Aug. 23 at 77. She worked in the microbiology lab at Beaufort County Hospital. Lawrence Calvert Hall Jr. '78 of Bolivia died Oct. 30 at 62. He was an assistant county ranger for the N.C. Forest Service. Wyatt Kelly Harper '78 '80 of Garner died Sept. 14 at 69. He was a teacher and coach at Daniels Middle School, Carnage Middle School and Sanderson High School and served as director of transportation for the Wake County Public School System. James Bruce Herring Jr. '78 died Aug. 31 at 69. He was a decorated veteran of the Vietnam War. Jill Barnhill High '78 '85 of Washington died Oct. 29 at 73. She was a retired teacher with 27 years of service.

E OrmsbyEdward "Ed" James Ormsby '78 of Newton died Oct. 15 at 60. He was a corporate compliance manager with CommScope in Hickory and former production manager with CommScope in Catawba. John "David" Pollack '78 of Morehead City died Oct. 15 at 72. He was president of Pollack Enterprises, and he and his wife, Nancy, founded Miss Nancy's Early Learning Centers and owned and operated seven day care centers throughout eastern North Carolina. Robert "Bob" Speight Melton Jr. '79 of Nashville died Nov. 17 at 65. He was a certified public accountant with Sprint for 20 years.


AdamsNancy Caldwell Adams '80 of Nashville, Tenn., died Sept. 2 at 81. She was a CPA and worked as an auditor in North Carolina for 10 years. James Luther Kiser '81 '85 of Buies Creek died Sept. 29 at 78. He retired honorably from the U.S. Army in 1976 after 20 years of service and was later employed by the N.C. Department of Human Resources as a rehabilitation counselor. John Rodney Yeglinski '81 of Glen Allen, Va., died Dec. 15 at 65. He played professional baseball for the farm teams of the Yankees, Giants and Orioles and later worked in sales for McGeorge Toyota.

TrevathanElizabeth Newman Trevathan '82 of Burlington died Jan. 13 at 56. From the early 1990s until her death, she worked as executive director of the N.C. Academy of General Dentistry. John Daniell Weyler '82 of Atlanta died Oct. 7 at 57. Warren Dean Riggs '83 of Shiloh died Oct. 19 at 55. He was the owner and operator of Riggs Landscaping. James Mark Goodson '86 of Jacksonville died Dec. 4 at 54. He worked as a logger.

EA SaleebyEva Elizabeth "Beth" Adell Saleeby '86 of Greenville died Nov. 6 at 53. She was a retired unit manager with the N.C. Department of Vocational Rehabilitation and served in leadership roles in area vocational rehabilitation offices. Wayne E. Miller '82 '86 of Browns Summit died Aug. 28 at 63. He worked as an elementary school counselor in Rockingham County for 21 years. A. W. "Bill" Moorefield lII '82 '86 of Gibsonville died Aug. 28 at 69. He was a retired salesman for Carolina Container.


Daniel Byron "Danny" Rains '92 of Greenville died Sept. 14 at 47. He worked for 15 years in the pharmaceutical industry, most recently for Janssen Pharmaceuticals. Arthur Andrew "Andy" Sutorius '93 of Concord died Sept. 2 at 47. He was employed with Suddath as a website programmer. Victor Leonard Slade '95 of Chapel Hill died Sept. 21 at 59. He worked at Wilson Memorial Hospital, ECU's Brody School of Medicine and most recently with the Environmental Protection Agency. Sarah Kathryn Morgan-Hardman '97 of Hickory died Nov. 15 at 42. She worked as a vice president/business center manager for People's Bank.


Donald "Donny" Scott Johnson Jr. '00 of Wake Forest died Nov. 10. He was employed by the N.C. Department of Labor. James Baxter Ray Jr. '00 of Carthage died Oct. 1 at 39. He was a teacher at Robbins Elementary School and participated in the Envision Experience in Vienna, Va. Melissa Christine Langham '02 of Arlington, Va., died Sept. 29 at 38. She was a nurse at Georgetown University Medical Center in Washington, D.C. Erin Elizabeth Dale '02 Raleigh died Sept. 11 at 35. She spent her career with Marriott as a sales manager.


Ashley Amelia "Amy" Shore '15 of Bradenton, Fla., died Nov. 19 at 24. She was a member of the Association of Southeastern Biologists and the commanding officer of the Junior ROTC at Wake Forest-Rolesville High School. Keosmond Nelson '15 of Ayden died Nov. 14 at 23. Zeke Sigler '15 '16 of Wilmington died Oct. 14 at 23. He was going to work for Ernst & Young as an accountant.


James Robert "Jim" Bruner of Greenville, a retired U.S. Navy captain and judge advocate general, died Oct. 22 at 84. After nearly 30 years in the Navy, in 1984 he took a position as associate professor of criminal justice at ECU, retiring in 1994. He served as a member of the N.C. Grievance Resolution Board from 1986 until 1996. He was a Kentucky Colonel and a member of the Order of the Long Leaf Pine. Hal Jefferson "Jeff" Daniel III died Feb. 5 at 74. He was a member of the anthropology, speech/language auditory pathology and biology faculty for 38 years. He also wrote 11 collections of poetry.

E DrakeElizabeth Drake of Greenville died April 12, 2016, at 100. A pianist, she was a professor of music at ECU for 31 years. She was featured in a Class Notes spotlight in the summer 2011 issue of East.

EllenbergGrace Miriam Ellenberg of Greenville died Nov. 29 at 95. After teaching abroad in the 1960s, she taught French at ECU for 20 years before retiring.

R-FayRebecca Fay of Greenville died Jan. 2 at 38. She joined ECU in 2011 and was an assistant professor of accounting in the ECU College of Business. Last year, Fay received the Innovation in Auditing and Assurance Education Award from the American Accounting Association.

RW LeithRobert Wayne Leith of Greenville died Nov. 3 at 92. He taught in the ECU School of Technology for 29 years and served as interim head of the department.

Bramy Resnik of Atlanta died Nov. 26 at 87. A Holocaust survivor and Korean War veteran, he immigrated to the U.S. after escaping from a Nazi concentration camp during World War II. He taught in the ECU foreign language department from 1968 to 1999.

SeykoraEdward Seykora of Greenville died Jan. 23 at 78. He worked on Project Gemini, helping develop the engines that would later get astronauts to the moon. He also developed monitors for seeing clear air turbulence, for the Air Force and major airlines, which is still being used at solar observatories around the world. He came to Greenville in 1968 and was a professor of physics at ECU for 47 years.

Harold Michael Snyder of Morehead City died Nov. 25 at 72. A Marine, airman and Vietnam War veteran, he investigated alien sightings for Project Blue Book. He later served as the Joint Public Affairs Officer at Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point before serving on the faculty of the ECU English department for 16 years, retiring in 2008.

Rita T. Finnen of Greenville died Aug. 26 at 85. She taught at the ECU School of Nursing from 1978 to 1994.

PeoplesPatricia Lois Peoples '95 '01 '11 of Greenville died Aug. 23 at 65. An educator for 27 years, she was the kindergarten-through-12th-grade English language arts and social studies curriculum coordinator for Pitt County and then an instructor for the ECU College of Education.


Marie Covil Horne '84 of Garner died Nov. 6 at 84. She worked for ECU and later for the State Board of CPA Examiners, the NCDOT and as a legislative assistant for the N.C. General Assembly.

Victor Leonard Slade '95 of Chapel Hill died Sept. 21 at 59. He worked at Wilson Memorial Hospital, ECU's Brody School of Medicine and most recently with the Environmental Protection Agency.

Kimly Sabine Blanton '04 of Greenville died Sept. 21. She worked for ECU library services, working her way from student worker to system administrator and supervisor of the networking unit.


J. Earl Danieley of Burlington, the former president of Elon University and a higher education advocate in North Carolina, died Nov. 29 at 92. He served on the ECU board of trustees from 1973-1979.


Henry David Thoreau was known to say he'd tramp miles through deep snow "to keep an appointment with a beech tree, or a yellow birch or an old acquaintance among the pines."

ECU alumnus John Sugg '88 can relate. A certified arborist, he's been working with local governments and other organizations to make the most of the trees in their midst. For that work, the N.C. Urban Forest Council last fall recognized him and his company, Treeful Communities, with its 2016 Outstanding Professional Award.

"It was very gratifying and rewarding to be recognized for this very hard work I've done these past 16 years," Sugg said during an interview in the Tarboro Town Common, a landscape he's spent several years helping preserve.

A Grifton native, Sugg has a bachelor's degree in parks, conservation and natural resources management from ECU. He lives in Wilson with his wife, Tonja, and daughter, Holly. Son Brandon is a sophomore at ECU.

He attributes his love for trees to his late grandfather, George C. Sugg, who bought him a maple tree for his first birthday followed by a magnolia tree a few years later. In the following years, his granddad would pull up saplings as they were walking through the woods together to go in Sugg's yard on Dawson Road.

Arborists are professionals in the practice of arboriculture, which is the cultivation, management and study of individual trees, shrubs, vines other perennial woody plants. They regularly work with cities and other large land-owning organizations on managing and caring for their trees. In cities, those are commonly referred to as "urban forests."

Sugg has been a member of the American Society of Consulting Arborists since 2004. He serves as contracting and on-call arborist for multiple cities and towns across the region and regularly speaks about trees and related topics at various conferences.

He started his consulting business in 2000 by providing grant proposal-writing services to communities, obtaining federal funds to develop urban and community forestry programs for them. In 2003, he shifted his focus from tree planting to urban forestry: tree inventories, urban forest management plans, master tree-planting plans and tree- preservation ordinances.

He's mapped tens of thousands of trees with corresponding data across North Carolina to allow cities and towns to better manage their urban forests.

Buddy Hooks is a member of the Tarboro Rotary Club, which has been working with Sugg on mapping and managing the trees in the town common. Together, Sugg, interns and volunteers have mapped 220 trees on the 12-acre common, and a smartphone app pinpoints each one and offers details on their health status.

"We wouldn't know anything if he hadn't come along," Hooks said. Sugg has helped the group secure grants of about $1,500 a year that helps care for the trees and add mulch around them to protect the trunks and roots from mowers.

Sugg also works for residential and corporate clients, such post-storm assessments at multiple golf courses across New Jersey following Superstorm Sandy, Cape Fear Golf and Country Club in Wilmington following the 2014 ice storm and the Country Club of South Carolina following the historic flood of 2015 and golf courses in Hilton Head, South Carolina, following Hurricane Matthew.

He's even worked for ECU, supervising the reduction pruning of the large white oak at the Country Doctor Museum in Bailey several years ago.

-Doug Boyd

Nursing pin

These College of Nursing graduates were among those included among the 2016 Great 100 Nurses, which recognizes and promotes nursing excellence in North Carolina:

  • Teresa Anderson '96 of Winterville

  • Lisa Callahan '99 and Heather Hall '99 of Greenville

  • Susan Clayton '08 of Wilson

  • Meji Crawford '15 of Winston-Salem

  • Jennifer Parnell '93 of Pikeville

  • Cynthia Rape '09 of Monroe

  • Tamara Rush '13 of Lexington

  • Laura Stines '15 of Greensboro

  • and Sue Tripp '87 of Colerain

Band of Oz

It happens often when the Band of Oz is playing at a fraternity house or another college function. A student approaches Chuck French '76 or his bandmates and tells them that not only does he love their music, his mom and dad loved it when they were in college as well.

French never tires of reminders that his band has been providing timeless, danceable music to the Southeast and beyond for more than 45 years. And in October, the North Carolina Music Hall of Fame recognized that legacy of entertainment when it inducted the Band of Oz into its ranks.

"I guess it just proves that if you do something long enough, people will pay attention," said French, who joined the band as a trumpet player and vocalist in 1971 while he was a student majoring in trumpet in the ECU School of Music.

French has played with the band consistently through those decades, even as no fewer than 28 different musicians have rotated in and out of the lineup. He also worked a "real job" for about two years after he graduated from ECU. But by 1978, the Band of Oz was getting so many steady gigs that he decided to play music full-time. He has never looked back.

"That's one thing I have learned is how fortunate I am and how blessed I am to be able to play music for a living," he said.

Although the Band of Oz has recorded several hit singles, including "Shaggin," "Shama Lama Ding Dong" and "Star of My Life" (written by French), the group has always been known for its relentless touring schedule. During the band's busiest seasons, French and company were on the road playing upward of 300 dates a year, he said, entertaining audiences in locales such as Pittsburgh, Ottawa and Las Vegas. In 1997, they were also inducted into the Beach Music Hall of Fame.

"We've been all over, and people recognize the music," he said. "People just appreciate good music."

The band will play at any event, but they are in particularly high demand for shag-happy crowds at outdoor concerts and festivals, college parties and weddings throughout the Southeast. They play more weddings than anything else these days, French said, and in recent years they have scaled back their travel commitments so they don't have to spend the night on the road.

The N.C. Music Hall of Fame is in Kannapolis, and the induction ceremony, featuring performances from the inductees, was held Oct. 20 at the Kannapolis Performing Arts Center. French and his fellow musicians were in excellent company as the 2016 Hall of Fame class also included a diversity of Tar Heel talents such as the Carolina Chocolate Drops, Kellie Pickler and Chuck Brown.

"They've really had a big influence on the beach music scene in the Southeast," N.C. Music Hall of Fame board member Roy Honeycutt told The Daily Record in Dunn. "Anyone who knows beach music knows them."

Avett BrothersAvett Brothers also inducted

Folk-rock/bluegrass/Americana band The Avett Brothers were also inducted into the N.C. Music Hall of Fame in October.

The band, including banjo player Scott Avett '99 '00, was profiled in the spring 2009 issue of East. In addition to other dates, The Avett Brothers will be performing at Red Rocks 2017 in Colorado July 7-9. Their latest album, True Sadness, was nominated for best Americana album at the 59th annual Grammy Awards in February.