Dec. 28, 2012 @ 05:00 AM


SANFORD — Mr. Andrew Jackson “A.J.” Gaster, 81, of 5196 Barbecue Church Road, Sanford, passed away peacefully on Wednesday, December 26, 2012 at his home.

A celebration of life will be held on Saturday, December 29, 2012 at 11:00 a.m. at Swann Station Baptist Church with Pastor Russell Blackman officiating. The family will receive friends in the fellowship hall at the church immediately following the service and other times at the home of Mandy Spivey, 92 Golden Hills Lane, Sanford, NC.

A.J. was born in Sanford, North Carolina on May 25, 1931 to Daniel Archie and Betty Cox Welch Gaster. He was an active member of Swann Station Baptist Church where he served as a deacon. He retired from Heins-Alltel after 42 years of service as Vice President of Operations and served his country in the U.S. Air Force. “J” loved life in general and some of the things he cherished most was his family especially his grandchildren, playing golf, camping, flying, the beach and cookouts by the pool.

He is survived by his loving wife of 39 years, Linda Medlin Gaster; one son, Andy Gaster and wife April of Reidsville; four daughters, B.J. Gaster of Lillington, Vicky Lee of Lillington, Mandy Spivey and husband Grant of Sanford, Patty Denton of Surf City; five grandchildren; five great-grandchildren; and a very special friend, Edgar Oliver.

He was preceded in death by his parents, Daniel Archie and Betty Cox Welch Gaster; and three brothers, Leroy D. Gaster, Arnold W. Welch and Robert L. Welch.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Swann Station Baptist Church Brotherhood Mission Fund, 7592 Hwy 87 S, Sanford, NC 27332.

Condolences may be sent to

The family has entrusted services to Cox Memorial Funeral Home & Crematory of Vass, North Carolina.

Paid Obituary


WILMINGTON — Mrs. Pamela Byrd Rancke, age 56, of Wilmington, formerly of Lumberton, passed away on Wednesday, December 26, 2012 at the Lower Cape Fear Hospice in Wilmington.

She was born on April 20, 1956 in Sanford, NC and attended UNC-Chapel Hill. She graduated from UNC-Pembroke and had a banking career with BB&T for 25 years. Mrs. Rancke was preceded in death by her parents, Larry Foster Byrd and Peggy Saunders Byrd.

She is survived by her husband, John M. Rancke Jr. of the home; her daughter, Lindsay Rancke Chadwick and husband, J.B. of White Lake, NC; her brother, David Michael Byrd and wife, Leigh Ann of Blowing Rock, NC; her sister, Bridget Byrd Joyce and husband, Bob of Sanford, NC; her in-laws, John and Bunky Rancke of Lumberton; her sisters-in-law, Margaret Stephens and husband, Bobby of Lumberton and Nancy King and husband, Wayne of Raleigh, NC; one granddaughter, Ayden Caroline Chadwick; three nephews, Brian King, Blake King and Carson Cameron and three nieces, Parker Cameron, Blake Byrd and Brooke Byrd.

A memorial service will be held on Saturday, December 29, 2012 at 1:00 PM at First Presbyterian Church in Lumberton with Dr. Matt Rich and Rev. Randy Andrews officiating. A time of visitation will immediately follow the service in the church fellowship hall.

The family requests that in lieu of flowers, memorials be made to: The Robesonian 2013 Empty Stocking Fund, P.O. Box 1028, Lumberton, NC 28359 or to The Lower Cape Fear Hospice of Wilmington, 1414 Physicians Drive, Wilmington, NC 28401.

On-line condolences may be made by visiting:

Paid Obituary


SANFORD — Stephen F. Whitton, age 61, of Sanford went peacefully home to be with our Lord on Wednesday (12/26/12).

A beloved husband, father, son, grandfather, brother, uncle, and friend, he will be cherished forever in the hearts and souls of the many lives he touched all through his life. Well known by all as “Poppy Steve”, his famous words were “God Loves You and So Do I.” He will truly be missed. A 16 year resident of Sanford, NC, he shares memories from family and friends in Tionesta, PA, his hometown. Steve and his wife, Kathy, were married in Pittsburgh, PA 39 years and 8 months ago. They were soul mates! Steve proudly served in the United States Army during Vietnam War. After his military service to his country, Steve worked as a general contractor and a master of finished carpentry.

Steve is survived by his wife, Kathy Orlic Whitton; a daughter, Stephanie Norris of Cary, NC; two sons, Steve Whitton, Jr. and his wife Jan of Broadway, NC, and Scott Hoyt and companion Laurel of Webster, NY; his mother, Donna Whitton of Tionesta, PA; two sisters, Sally Bayless and husband Corb of Titusville, PA and Sandy Grundmeier and husband Rick of Mound, Minnesota; five brothers, Randy Whitton and wife Marsha of Tionesta, PA; Ken Whitton and wife Debbie of Tionesta, PA; Jim Whitton of Tionesta, PA; Todd Whitton of Tionesta, PA; and Orrie Whitton and wife Vickie of Mound, Minnesota. He is also survived by his grandchildren: Matthew, Morgan, Skylar, Samantha, Megan, Anna, Harry, Jesse, Jacob, Samantha, Paige, Keegan, Karrighan, and a great-granddaughter, Lilli, and many nieces and nephews.

A memorial service will be held on Saturday, December 29, 2012 at 2:00 p.m. at Miller-Boles Funeral Home in Sanford, NC.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to Community Home Care and Hospice, 809 Wicker St., Sanford, NC 27330.

Online condolences may be made at

Miller-Boles Funeral Home of Sanford is serving the family.

Paid Obituary


SILER CITY — Virginia Eliza Brafford Johnson, 88, died Wednesday (12/26/12) at Siler City Care & Rehabilitation.

She was born in Chatham County on Oct. 4, 1924, the daughter of Edward R. and Nellie (Parrish) Brafford. She was retired from Collins & Aikman, was a member of Pleasant Hill United Methodist Church of Pittsboro and attended First Wesleyan Church in Siler City. She was preceded in death by her husband, Porter W. Johnson.

She is survived by one daughter, Vivian Johnson of Siler City; one son, Roger Johnson of Carrboro; two sisters, Elsie Jones of Siler City and Mildred Covert of Pittsboro; and one granddaughter.

The family will receive friends today from 7 until 9 p.m. at Smith & Buckner Funeral Home. The funeral will be held on Saturday at 2 p.m. at the First Wesleyan Church in Siler City with the Rev. Eddie McClure and the Rev. Jerry Johnson officiating. Burial will follow at Chatham Memorial Park.

Memorials may be made to the First Wesleyan Church of Siler City or to Pleasant Hill United Methodist Church of Pittsboro.

Online condolences may be made at

Arrangements by Smith & Buckner Funeral Home of Siler City.


SANFORD — Charles W. Smith Jr., 68, of 902 Washington Ave., died Saturday (12/22/12) at Central Carolina Hospital.

He is survived by his lifelong partner of 40 years, Thelma McIver; a son, Charles Walter Smith Jr. (Anita); three grandchildren; one great-granddaughter; brother, Clifton Joe Smith Jr.; sister, Gayle A. Smith; and a host of relatives and friends.

Memorial service will be held at 12 p.m. Saturday at Knotts Funeral Home Chapel.

Arrangements by Knotts Funeral Home.


CAMERON — Funeral service for John Edwards Marsh, 65, who died Sunday (12/23/12), was held Wednesday at 4 p.m. at Cameron United Methodist Church with the Rev. David Johnson officiating. Burial followed at Cameron Town Cemetery.

Pianist was Michelle Blue. Soloist and guitarist was Adrian Smith. The congregation also sang.

Pallbearers were Adrian Smith, Steve Lankford, Jack Oakley, James Oakley, Mike Childress and Richard Marsh.

Arrangements were by Bridges-Cameron Funeral Home.


SANFORD — Donald Duane Howard, 79, died Sunday (12/23/12) at Central Carolina Hospital.

He was born in Newton, Kan. on Feb. 6, 1933, to the late Peter Howard and Reba Ragland Howard. He was also preceded in death by two brothers. He is a graduate of the University of Kansas and worked for the Food and Drug Administration, at G.D. Searle Pharmaceutical Company, and Abbott Laboratories as the director of research and development in the quality control department.

He is survived by his wife, Nancy A. Becraft Howard; sons, William Howard of Oregon, Pete Howard and wife Belinda of Texas, and Dan Howard and wife Mary of Sanford; one daughter, Sarah Howard of Washington State; nine grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.

A memorial service will be held today at 3 p.m. at the Bridges-Cameron Funeral Home Chapel with Chaplain Joel Cameron officiating.

Condolences may be made at

Arrangements by Bridges-Cameron Funeral Home, Inc.


FUQUAY-VARINA — Eddie Thomas “E.T.” Moore, 84, died Wednesday (12/26/12) at his home.

He was born April 10, 1928, in Harnett County to the late Eva Davis and Eddie Rountree Moore. He was a farmer. He was a member of Rawls Baptist Church. In his community, he served in many positions in Harnett County including the Board of Education Advisory Council for LaFayette High School for 12 years as well as the Harnett County Board of Equalization and Review to which he was appointed at its inception in January 1997 and on which he served until December 2012.

He is survived by his wife of 64 years, Doris Mangum Moore; daughter, Kathy Moore Watkins and husband Dan; daughter, Susan Vickers Smith and husband Randy; three grandchildren; one sister, Sue Betty Gardner Kelly; and a host of nieces and nephews.

Visitation will be held at Rawls Baptist Church on Saturday from 1 until 3 p.m. and at other times at the home. Funeral service will be held following the visitation at 3 p.m. at Rawls Baptist Church. Interment will follow at the church cemetery.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Rawls Baptist Church Building Fund.

Arrangements by O’Quinn-Peebles Funeral Home in Lillington.


LILLINGTON — Greg M. Bartles, 42, died Wednesday (12/26/12) at his home.

He was a native of Ohio and moved to North Carolina in 2001. He was an eight-year veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps, serving in the First Gulf War.

Memorial service will be conducted 1 p.m. Sunday at O'Quinn-Peebles Chapel with the Rev. Ken Dalton officiating.

He is survived by his wife, Tammy L. Bartles; sons, Troy Bartles and Kyle Bartles, both of the home; two stepdaughters, Kayla Brooks of the home and Courtney Brooks of Arizona; mother, Shirley Bartles of Indiania; father, John Bartles of West Virginia; paternal and maternal grandmothers; one granddaughter; sisters, Leeza Bartles of West Virginia, and Amy Jo Bartles and Angie Skeener, both of Indiana.; and brother, John Bartles of Indiana.

Arrangements by O’Quinn-Peebles Funeral Home.

Online condolences at


WILLOW SPRINGS — Kenneth R. Baker, 56 of Willow Springs died Wednesday (12/26/12) at his home.

A native of Harnett County, he was preceded in death by his father, Rudolph Baker; son, Byron Baker; and brother, Brian Baker. He was a former employee of Cooper Tools in Apex and was currently employed by Lowes of Garner as a Department Manager.

Funeral will be conducted at 11 a.m. Saturday at Kennebec Baptist Church, Angier, by the Rev. Mark Howard. Burial will be in the church cemetery.

Flowers are acceptable or memorials may be made in his memory to the American Liver Foundation, 39 Broadway, Suite 2700, New York, NY 10006

Surviving are his wife, Barbara Trimble Baker; daughter, Felicia Baker of Fuquay-Varina; mother, Ruth Knight Baker of Fuquay-Varina; sister, Kim Baker of Angier; two brothers, Scott Baker and wife Stacy of Fuquay-Varina, and James Baker and wife Ruthanne of Willow Springs; two stepdaughters, London Wisnewski of Fuquay-Varina and Melissa Bambule of Apex; stepson, Christopher Shull of Willow Springs; seven grandchildren; a nephew and several nieces; and a great-niece and great-nephew.

Funeral arrangements entrusted to O’Quinn-Peebles Funeral Home

Online condolences at