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Remembering those we lost this year
SoVaNow.com / January 02, 2013As 2012 ends, we can’t help but reminisce about those who have passed on and how the community has been touched by their passion and altruism. This happens every year, of course: time takes its toll on the older generation, leaving it up to younger residents to make their mark.
Not every notable passing last year involved seniors. Fate claimed some bright young stars in the firmament as well. Among many others, in 2012 Mecklenburg County said goodbye to two former mayors, a political leader, a former county Commissioner of Revenue, a host of business leaders and philanthropists, educators, even a former Chief of the Medical Staff for Community Memorial Healthcenter.
Amotio Lamont Smith was a student leader and baseball standout — making second team All-District — who was named Bluestone High School’s Senior of the Month in November 2010, because his teachers and peers respected him. When he was killed in a single car accident in January, he was just 19 years old. Unfulfilled were his dreams of earning a degree in business and becoming a member of the United States Marine Corps.
Kathleen Nunn Walker was a world traveler who successfully ran several businesses and wrote a newspaper society column before she broke through the political glass ceiling to become both the first woman elected to Clarksville Town Council and the town’s first woman mayor. Perhaps her greatest gift and legacy was her role in changing Clarksville’s aging bookmobile into a full-fledged library.
She later served as a member of the Board for the Clarksville Regional Library. In 1993, the Clarksville Lake Country Chamber of Commerce honored Walker for her lifetime achievements. The award now carries her name: the “Kathleen Walker Lifetime Achievement Award.”
Landon Homes “Bumps” Carter was one of Boydton’s greatest philanthropists. His gifts both preserved Boydton’s cultural heritage and made the town a better place to live. He was a founding member of Boydton’s Volunteer Fire Department, to which he also donated land for its station. He also contributed generously to the local health care facility, Healthcare on the Square, The Boyd Tavern, Prestwould, and the Boydton Life Saving Station. His final gift, given on the eve of the 200th anniversary of the founding of Boydton, was money to restore the cupola on the Town Hall.
C. Glasgow “Gig” Butts served his community while running a successful law practice. He was a former South Hill mayor, town attorney, and member of the Board of Zoning Appeals. He was often praised for his dedication to the mission of the Shriners — fostering self-improvement through leadership, education, the perpetuation of moral values and community involvement, and serving humanity — and remained active in the club well into his 90s.
Conrad Bowlin was a highly successful entrepreneur and one of Clarksville’s greatest ambassadors. After he and wife Peggy moved to the area in 1978, Bowlin gave his time and talents to the community he loved, founding and providing the vision for CEDA (Clarksville Economic Development Association), serving as a member of the Community Memorial Healthcenter Board, as a Vice President of the Mecklenburg County Community Services Corporation (MCCSC, the owners of the Clarksville Enrichment Complex), and serving on Clarksville Town Council and the board of the Economic Development Association for Mecklenburg County.
Dr. Charles Harper Crowder Jr. of South Hill had a long and distinguished medical career, before, during and after his tenure as Chief of Staff at Community Memorial Healthcenter. His service included a stint as a regimental surgeon in the U.S. Army during the Korean War, a Fellowship at Bellevue Medical Center in New York and an externship at Western State Hospital in Staunton. He was named Virginia‘s Family Physician of the Year for 2001.
He also became a state and national leader in the practice of family medicine, all while serving his community as a member of the South Hill Lions Club, Town Council, Historical Society of Mecklenburg County, and President of the South Hill Chamber of Commerce.
William Nicholas “Billy Nick” Bracey was Commissioner of Revenue for Mecklenburg County for 28 years, a licensed funeral director for 15 years with the former Crews Funeral Home, a U.S. Army veteran, a member of American Legion Post #79 and the South Hill Moose Lodge. He was also considered an institution in Mecklenburg County government, said by friends to have “eaten, slept, and lived Mecklenburg.”
As Commissioner of Revenue, Bracey will be remembered for bringing technology improvements to the office, while providing steady guidance on fiscal matters to the Board of Supervisors and others.
Tucker C. Watkins IV of Randolph was a former chairman of the Fifth District Republican Party and a party stalwart who worked on the campaigns of several notable Republican officeholders, including George Allen and Virgil Goode. His family and friends will remember him for his passion towards life, politics, and country. He was active in Mecklenburg County politics, serving as an advisor to elected officials who included Clarksville State Senator Frank Ruff.
Watkins gained renown for his activism with the Republican Party, which included an appearance on national television at the 2004 Republican National Convention during which he wore a “Purple Heart Bandaid” mocking then-Democratic Presidential nominee John Kerry. Similar to Kerry, Watkins was a decorated war hero who fought in Vietnam and earned both the Bronze Star and the Purple Heart.
Ivory Johnson was first and foremost a teacher, but to those who played basketball at Bluestone High School and middle school he was “coach.”
After graduating from Winston-Salem State University in 1972, Johnson spent most of his adult life as an educator. He was a retiree of the Virginia School System, who continued to work at Pinkston Street Elementary School in Henderson, N.C., until his premature death at age 62.
His skills as an educator and coach earned Johnson a place in the Atkins High School (his high school alma mater in Winston Salem) Hall of Fame in 2010.
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