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Ronnie's Obituary  ~ December 19, 1946 - December 17, 2019

Ronald (Ronnie) Woodard Watkins, 72, of Castle Hayne, went home to be with his Lord and Savior on Tuesday, December 17, 2019, after a long and courageous battle with Parkinson’s disease at Lower Cape Fear Hospice with his family by his side.

Ronnie was born on December 19, 1946, in Wilmington, NC at James Walker Hospital to the late Jesse and Margaret Watkins.  He was also preceded in death by his wife of 45 years, Genell Bullard Watkins, his brothers, Donald Thomas Watkins, Thomas Franklin Watkins, and Gary Wayne Watkins and his faithful companion of 10 years, Cowboy, the most spoiled Dachshund ever.  His is survived by one devoted daughter, Michele Watkins-Hopkins and husband, Roger, and two very special granddaughters who adoringly called him “Papa”, Jade (J-bird), and Lexie Watkins (aka “the baby”).  He is also survived by several nieces, nephews, and cousins.

Ronnie was a life-long resident of New Hanover County, residing in Castle Hayne for the last 45 years.  As a husband and a father, Ronnie was a loving and caring provider for his family.  As a Papa to his granddaughters, he was a constant companion to them and always was ready to give hugs as only he could.  Ronnie started his career in the US Navy, serving his country for 7 years, and received an honorable discharge.  He then completed his duties in the US Naval Reserves.  Following that, he embarked on a 17-year career serving the City of Wilmington with the Wilmington Fire Department as an engineer.  He then continued his career with the Fire Department at the Military Ocean Terminal Sunny Point.  His career of public service continued with Law Enforcement serving as a Deputy for the New Hanover County Sheriff’s Department as well as an Officer with New Hanover Regional Medical Center’s Special Police.  His public service ended following a kidney transplant at Duke University Medical Center in 2005 where his loving daughter, Michele, was his “living donor”.

Anyone that knew Ronnie, knew that he never met a stranger and loved being at the ballparks.  Whether he was playing, coaching, officiating, working the concession stand, or maintaining the fields, he enjoyed the camaraderie of the people and the game.  Ronnie also enjoyed keeping his lawn perfectly manicured year round and maintaining his family’s home and vehicles. He had a smile, kind words, and willingness to help for anyone in need.  He was a blessing in the lives of his friends and family.  Anyone who knew him, loved him.

The family will receive friends and relatives from 1:00-2:00 pm, Saturday, December 21, 2019 at Andrews Market Street Chapel with the funeral service following at 2:00 pm led by Reverend Sam Hill.  Interment will follow the service at Greenlawn Memorial Park.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Lower Cape Fear Hospice, 1414 Physicians Drive, Wilmington, NC, 28401, in memory of Ronnie Watkins.

The family would like to extend a special thanks to Dr. Andre Leonard, Dr. Ted Winneberger, Dr. Rebecca Summerlin, and the staff and nurses at Lower Cape Fear Hospice.  These individuals are excellent examples of providing care from their hearts.

Longtime local umpire Miller dies at age 77

Baseball, softball official founded local association, was active with Optimist club



Carl Miller makes a call in the infield. Contributed photo

By Tom Grady

Published: Friday, December 5, 2014 at 2:19 p.m. Last Modified: Friday, December 5, 2014 at 2:19 p.m.

If you played baseball or softball at various levels in the Wilmington area over the past several decades, you most likely knew Carl Miller. He probably called you out at the plate, or you had a similar experience through an official he directly assigned.

Miller founded the Cape Fear Officials Association back in 1986. He served as the booking agent and regional supervisor of officials, for youth to high school programs.

The man who spent countless nights and weekends on and around local diamonds died Thursday at the age of 77.

Wake for Mr. Carl Miller will be Sunday at Andrews Mortuary on market St at 5:00 pm to 6:30 pm. Funeral will be on Monday at 11 am Andrews Mortuary on Market St.

John Laughter was a longtime friend and Winter Park Optimist Club board member.

"I guess it was the late '60s that I first came in contact with Carl," Laughter said, noting Miller was umpiring here at that time. Laughter added that Miller was a member of Winter Park Optimist for many years and held nearly every position at the organization. He also worked for the state prison system.

Billy Sebrell worked closely with Miller over the past 20 years, on the field and as part of the Cape Fear Officials Association. Sebrell used common phrasing to describe his friend on the field: "A no-nonsense umpire."

"He was a mentor to many other adults; one of my best friends; a colleague," Sebrell said.

Mike Smith is a board member at Winter Park Optimist and a co-commissioner of club's baseball program.

"He always spoke what was on his mind," said Smith, who also played in local softball leagues where Miller was an ump. "You were either out or you were safe and there wasn't no arguing about it."

Local longtime softball coach Buck O'Shields said Miller and Marion "Tinkey" Rogers were the men in blue for the first local NCHSAA fast-pitch softball game between Laney and Hoggard in the fall of 1994.

Hoggard baseball coach Jeep St. Ledger knew Miller for 30 years.

"He did as much to promote baseball and softball as any other person, really in Wilmington," St. Ledger said. "He was a great person."

He learned early on where the ceiling was on how much a coach could argue a call with Miller on the field.

"He'd let you voice your opinions for awhile," St. Ledger said. "And then when he raised his right hand, and that was like a 45-degree angle, enough was enough.

"That's when you knew, OK, better start wrapping this up."

Smith said he spent many evenings sitting with Miller at a picnic table between the fields at Hugh MacRae Park. Everyone who passed by knew Miller, from kids to parents to grandparents.

Earlier this year, Miller told the StarNews for its 275th anniversary of Wilmington special issue that, "The people make Wilmington. They are so nice and sincere, always willing to help one another. Even with all the changes, it's still a great town with wonderful hospitality."

"I don't think there was a better friend I had," Smith said. "If I needed something or wanted something, all I had to do was pick up the phone and call Carl."

He could frequently be found at local youth or high school games, evaluating umpires or just watching the kids play.

"He viewed the T-ball game as just as important as he viewed a state championship game," Smith said. "He'll be missed."

Wake for Mr. Carl Miller will be Sunday at Andrews Mortuary on market St at 5:00 pm to 6:30 pm. Funeral will be on Monday at 11 am Andrews Mortuary on Market St.

James M. Bullard Jr.

JAMES M. BULLARD, JR. James M. Bullard, Jr., 86, of Wilmington, died Tuesday, September 10, 2013, at New Hanover Regional Medical Center under the care of Lower Cape Fear Hospice. Jim was born June 3, 1927 to James M. and Ethel Walker Bullard and lived his entire life within a three-mile radius in the Wrightsboro area. He attended Wrightsboro School and New Hanover High School. In 1953, he married his school sweetheart, Eleanor F. Herring, and they enjoyed a happy, busy and fulfilling life until she passed away in 2005. Jim's life was dedicated to fellowship with and service to others. Nothing pleased him more that hosting seafood feasts for large groups of friends at his home. He was a faithful member and deacon of Bethany Presbyterian Church; member of the Hanover Lions Club and the Optimist Club of Wilmington; and a charter member of Wrightsboro Volunteer Fire Department and the Optimist Club of Cape Fear. Within Cape Fear Optimist, state and national Optimists, Jim held positions of leadership and responsibility. All his life a farmer and employed in the fertilizer business, Jim retired from Virginia-Carolina Chemical and Wilmington Fertilizer Company. After his retirement, he grew vegetables year-round for roadside sale and sharing with friends. In addition to his parents and his wife Eleanor, Jim was predeceased by his sister, Alice Storey, brother, John D. Bullard, and sister-in-law, Irene Herring Parks. He is survived by his sister, Ella Mae King of Newport News, VA, and the Storey, Bullard, King and Herring nieces & nephews. The Bullard family is grateful beyond measures to Jim's "Special Friends" who faithfully were there and cared for him during his declining years, David and Bonnie Narron, Phil and Sue Ann Burton, and Dick Neher, We Thank You. The family will receive friends from 6pm to 8pm Friday, September 13, 2013, at Andrews Market Street Chapel. A funeral service will be held at 10am Saturday, September 14, 2013, at Andrews Market Street Chapel with Bro. Eric Porterfield officiating. Also, prior to Saturday's service, the family will receive friends from 9am until the service hour. Interment will follow in Bethany Presbyterian Church Cemetery, 2237 Castle Hayne Road, Wilmington, NC 28401. In lieu of flowers, contributions in memory of James M. Bullard, Jr. may be made to Lower Cape Fear Hospice, the New Hanover Humane Society in Wilmington, or Winter Park Baptist Church. Condolences to the family at www.andrewsmortuary.com Andrews Market Street Chapel
Published in the Wilmington Star-News on September 12, 2013

Clarissa M. McDaniel

CASTLE HAYNE - Mrs. Clarissa Maxwell "Mrs. Mac" McDaniel, 91, of Castle Hayne, formerly of Garland, passed away Thursday, Sept. 5, 2013. She was born July 16, 1922, in Stedman, to the late Oscar and Alice Maxwell. Clarissa also was preceded in death by her husband, John McDaniel; brothers, Kelly and Buddy Maxwell; and sisters, Genevieve Freeman and Ola Rich. Clarissa is survived by a daughter, Alice Pusey and husband Auston of Castle Hayne; a grandson, Jim Thomas and wife Veronica of Clemmons; granddaughters, Michelle Piteo and husband Carmine of Eagle River, Alaska, and Amy Miller and husband Josh of Kannapolis; great-grandchildren, Jacob, Abby, and Haley Thomas, Tyler, Hannah and Devin Rimel, Carmen and Cole Piteo, and Harmony Miller; sisters, Elizabeth Williams of Winder, Ga., and Emma Dineen and husband Jim of Wilmington; and brother, Jeff Maxwell and wife Belva of Stedman. Clarissa retired as postmaster of Garland after 45 years of service. During World War II, she taught algebra at Garland High School. She was an active member of Garland United Methodist Church for more than 60 years. She was a member of the Garland Rotary Club and was very involved in the Rotary fairs, having been honored as the grand marshal at one time. Funeral service will be held at 2 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 8, 2013, at Garland United Methodist Church, by the Rev. Erin Smith and the Rev. Chris O'Briant. Burial will follow in Garland Cemetery. The family will receive friends from 6 to 8 p.m. tonight, Saturday, Sept. 7, 2013, at Carter Funeral Home in Garland. Online condolences may be sent through www.carterfh.com.

Published in Fayetteville Observer on September 7, 2013



Henry J. Engels
December 11, 1929 - July 18, 2013
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Henry J. Engels, 83, of Leland, NC, died Thursday, July 18, 2013 at Lower Cape Fear Hospice and Life Care Center.
He was born on December 11, 1929 in Hackensack, NJ, the son of the late Henry J. Engels, Sr. and Mary Garbowski Engels.
Henry was raised in New Jersey and was a veteran of the US Army serving as a 2nd Lieutenant from 1951-1953. He was a semi-professional football player and a member of the St. Louis Cardinals farm team. He was also very active as a coach in youth and High School football.
Henry had an accounting background which lead him to numerous CFO positions at several large auto dealerships throughout New Jersey before retiring and moving to Wilmington twenty years ago. He was active in the local Women’s softball programs teaching fast pitch to over 300 young women. Henry was a member of the Cape Fear Optimist Club.
Surviving is his wife, Audrey Engels of Wilmington; two daughters, Sherry J. Engels Clain and husband Frank of Hamburg, NJ and Krista A. Engels of Wilmington; a son, Todd H. Engels and wife Deirdre DeBlasio Engels of Rye, NY; two grandchildren, Jamison M. Engels and Amanda K. Engels; first cousins, Florence C. Engels of Wilmington, Alan Weiman, William Weiman and Arlene Engels, all of New Jersey.
The family will receive friends from 2:00 to 4:00 pm Sunday, July 21, 2013 at Andrews Mortuary Market Street with a memorial service beginning at 4:00 pm in Andrews Market Street Chapel.
In lieu of flowers donations can be made to Lower Cape Fear Hospice, 1406 Physicians Drive, Wilmington, NC 28401.


Sunday July 21, 2013, 2:00pm - 4:00pm at Andrews Market Street Chapel
Click for Map and Directions

Memorial Service

Sunday July 21, 2013, 4:00pm at Andrews Market Street Chapel
Click for Map and Directions


Sigmond Bear Smith Jr.

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Sigmond Bear Smith, Jr. 75 of Wilmington passed away peacefully surrounded by his loved ones Sunday, December 4, 2011.

He was born in Wilmington on April 15, 1936. His parents were the late Sigmond Bear Smith and Evelyn Lydia Evans Smith.

S. B. grew up in Bolton, NC and attended Louisburg College. He proudly served in the US Marine Corps for 4 four years from 1955 to 1959, and was an active member of the Wilmington Marine Corps League. Sig was retired from Warner Lambert as a sales representative for 21 years and was a member of the SalesMaster Club for 4 consecutive years. He was a member of Wrightsboro Baptist Church and a proud member of Cape Fear Optimist Club where he had served as President and as Secretary.

S. B. is survived by his wife of 45 years, Mary Brown Smith; three children, Don Sigmond Smith and wife Pamela Bass Smith of Wilmington, Cindy Smith Malpass and husband Kevin L. Malpass of Delco, and Sigmond Dale Smith and wife Teresa Kelly Smith of Burgaw; four grandchildren, Hope Malpass, whom he called "My Precious Boogie", Chad Malpass and wife Jessie, Hunter Malpass all of Delco, and Cannon Smith of Wilmington. One brother, Charles Bryant Smith and wife   Barbara Rose Smith of Bolton. S. B. was preceded in death by his childhood friend, Wesley Jones.

The family will see friends from 1:30 to 3:00 pm Wednesday, December 7, 2011 at Wrightsboro Baptist Church followed by funeral services beginning at 3 PM officiated by Rev. Keith Hollar and Rev. Mike Lewis.

Pallbearers will be Bennie Herring, Bobby Harker, Chris Lienhop, Walter Simmons, Lloyd Moore, Dick Neher, Alan Ingold, Al Brinson, and W.J. Bordeaux.

In lieu of flowers memorials may be made to Lower Cape Fear Hospice, 1414 Physicians Dr., Wilmington, NC 28401 or Wrightsboro Baptist Church, 2736 Castle Hayne Rd., Wilmington, NC 28401.

The family would like to extend a special thank you to Shawn Johnson, who was S. B.'s hospice nurse, for all of her love, care, and concern for the past 20 months, and the staff and nurses at Lower Cape Fear Hospice.

Please share memories and condolences with the family at www.wilmingtoncares.com

Wilmington Funeral and Cremation, 1535 S. 41st Street, Wilmington, NC 28403 910.791.9099


Jerry Morgan Gore

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Jerry Morgan Gore (72) went home to be with his heavenly father on May 11, 2011, at New Hanover Regional Medical Center. Jerry was born on January 25, 1939, in Pender County the son of the late Willie Morgan (Bug) and Esther Morgan Gore of Castle Hayne, NC. Jerry was the founder and proprietor of Jerry Gore Trucking for over 40 years and well known in the community.

He is survived by his spouse of 48 years Kozette Cameron Gore. Together they had one daughter Lisa Gore King and husband Michael King of Watha NC; four grandchildren Kevin (Jenny) Malpass, Kaila E Malpass, Katie (Joey) Michael and Karlee Malpass; two great-grandsons Hunter Michael and Greyson Malpass and one furry daughter his pal Aja; three siblings Gloria (Wesley) Westbury, Joyce (Wayne) Mohr and Kathy Gore Brennan, sister-in-laws, Annette (Ernie) Williamson and Gloria (David) Robbins and many nieces and nephews.

He was preceded in death by several aunts, uncles and cousins and many special friends.

He was a lifelong member of Wrightsboro Baptist Church and Cape Fear Optimist Club serving as past president and coach of Fountain Oil Company and Canadys Sport Center. (Mr. Gore) as he was affectionately known by the youth was a mentor to many in the Wrightsboro Community through coaching baseball and working with the RA's at Wrightsboro Baptist Church.

He will be missed by many including all of his special restaurant friends that he was eager to eat lunch with each day.

The family would like to visit with friends and family on Friday evening at Andrews Mortuary Market Street Chapel from 6:30 - 8:00 pm and at other times at the residence.

A funeral service will be held 2:00 pm Saturday May 14, 2011, at Wrightsboro Baptist Church by Rev. Keith Hollar, Rev. Mike Lewis and Rev. Tim Cook. Interment will follow at Greenlawn Memorial Park.

Active pallbearers will be Jason Mohr, Ryan Mohr, Brandon Pearce, Shane Robbins, Brian Westbury, and Tony Williamson.

Condolences may be made to the family at www.andrewsmortuary.com

A Market Street Chapel Service

Online condolences at StarNewsOnline.com



Memorial for Dorothy Whitehurst

Born on Nov. 4, 1933
Departed on Feb. 20, 2011 and resided in Wilmington, NC.
Visitation: Friday, Feb. 25, 2011
Service: Saturday, Feb. 26, 2011
Please click on the links above for locations, times, maps, and directions.

Dorothy Whitehurst, age 77, passed away on Sunday, February 20, 2011, with her family by her side.
She was born on November 4, 1933 to the late Katie Lee Stewart and Albert Bunting. Dorothy is survived by her husband Robert Earl Whitehurst and her five children, daughter Kitty Bettencourt and husband David, sons Russell Stewart, Randy Stewart, Robert Lee Whitehurst, and youngest daughter Dorothy Christina Schmidt.
Dorothy is also survived by her eleven grandchildren including, Adam Schmidt, Cody Schmidt, Karen Hollar and husband Scott, Lisa Cayton, Andrew Bettencourt and wife Shelby, Davy Bettencourt, Michael Stewart, Matthew Stewart, Trevor Stewart, Emma Stewart, and Duane Stewart. She is also survived by eight great grandchildren, who lovingly referred to her as "Granny Dot."
Dorothy spent many of her days on the ball fields of Cape Fear Optimist. Those days were spent as a member of the Optimist Club and Ladies Auxiliary. In this setting she is remembered as being a voice for the youth and a cheerleader for her children and grandchildren during baseball and softball season.
Her life was rich and filled with love from her family and friends. One of Dorothy's favorite pastimes was spending time with her family during holidays and family gatherings. She was skilled in the art of knitting and crocheting and leaves behind handmade treasures that will be valued forever by her loved ones. She also loved playing the guitar and teaching that skill to her grandchildren.
Dorothy was always willing to lend someone a helping hand and will be remembered as a person whose heart was forever giving. The lessons she leaves behind will live on through her children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren. She will live in our hearts and memories forever.
All services for Dorothy Whitehurst will be held at Andrew's Mortuary in the Hampstead Chapel. Visitation will be Friday, February 25, 2011 from 7:00pm to 8:30pm. The funeral will be held on Saturday, February 26, 2011at 2:00pm


To contribute in memory of Alvin Heiston, an avid coach and fan of girls softball.

Please make your contribution to “Cape Fear Optimist Club”.  In the Memo field of your check please write “Alvin Heiston Memorial Fund”.
Checks should be mailed to:
Cape Fear Optimist
3222 N Kerr Avenue
Wilmington, NC 28405


Timothy M. Brennan

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Timothy M. Brennan of Southport, North Carolina, passed on Thursday December 9th, 2010 at 6:30am, after a courageous battle with cancer. Survived by wife Kathy Brennan, Son Connor Brennan, brother Kevin Brennan, step-daughter Mandi Waits and husband Kevin, step-son Brian Westbury and wife Adelaide, Grandsons, Hunter and Logan Westbury, nephews Sean and Tim Brennan and buddy Brett Martin.

Tim was born December 22, 1946 in Newark, New Jersey to parents Timothy F. Brennan and Mary E. Brennan. Tim graduated from St. Peter's College in 1968 with a Bachelor of Science in Accounting. After graduation Tim attended Fairleigh Dickinson University where he studied and was awarded a Master in Business Administration in Accounting and Taxation. Tim was later awarded the title of Certified Public Accountant from the Sate of New Jersey.

Tim proudly served his country in US Army from 1969 through 1971. He was last stationed in Ft. McClellan, Alabama, where, in the Advanced Individual Training (AIT) Infantry Brigade, he was the Officer In Charge (OIC) of the M-60 machine gun before being deployed to Vietnam where he proudly served on the Military Advisory Command Vietnam (MACV) Team 45 at a district level.

After serving his country, Tim began his business career at Price Waterhouse Cooper & Co. Later he embarked on a successful 24 year career at Lipton (Unilever-Best Foods) and retired as a senior executive with one on the nations largest food service providers.

After moving to Southport in early 2000 and a brief retirement, he returned to the workforce and joined Castle Branch Inc. Rising to CFO and eventually COO before retiring in 2010. As Tim described it, this was the best management team and best group of employees he had ever had the pleasure of working with.

Preceded in death by, Matthew John Brennan, Barbara Brennan, Christopher Norris, Timothy F. Brennan and Mary E. Brennan.

In lieu of flowers the family requests you make a donation to the Cape Fear Optimists or your favorite charity.

The family would like to thank Dr John Anagnost and his Brunswick office for their care and compassion.

Visitation to be held on Sunday December 12th at Peacock Newman White Funeral Home in Southport from 2:00pm - 4:00pm.

Funeral services on Monday December 13th at 11:00am at Sacred Heart Church in Southport. Followed by burial at Cape Fear Memorial Park and a reception at The Founders Club in St James Plantation at 1:00pm.

Please send your thoughts and prayers to Kathy, everyone at Cape Fear Optimist & the NC East District who knew Tim will miss him.


For more info: webmaster@capefearoptimist.org

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