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Passages: Quaker Obituaries – January/February 2013

CURLESS Robert M. Curless, 96, Wabash, IN, died September 23, 2012 at Visiting Nurse and Hospice Home, Fort Wayne, IN. He was born February 25, 1916 in Wabash County, IN, to William and Flor­ence Delight (Smith) Curless. Robert attended White’s Institute School first through sixth grade and graduated from Linlawn High School. He completed his bachelor’s degree at Manchester College and his master’s at Indiana University. Robert was a physical training instruc­tor for the U.S. Navy during World War II. He first married Virginia Mae Clark at White’s Chapel on June 2, 1940; she died February 6, 1977. He then mar­ried Vema Louise (Eppley) Ridenour on February 25, 1978; she died November 15, 1995. He taught and coached at Etna Green School from 1938-43, and was principal at Lincolnville (1943-44) and Clay Township (1946-47). He was superintendent at White’s Institute (now White’s Residential and Family Services) 31 years, until his retirement. Robert was a two-time recipient of the Sagamore of the Wabash and received the Wabash Distinguished Citizen Award. He was a member of the Wabash Kiwanis Club, Wabash Friends Church and was a Meals on Wheels volunteer. Robert was an avid golfer and scored a hole-in-one at the age of 90. He is survived by five children; Lewis (Joy) Curless of Wabash, Barry (Mary Lou) Curless of Carmel, IN, Bruce (Kim) Curless of Haddon Heights, NJ, Craig (Jerri) Curless of Indianapolis, IN and Susan (Brent) Dawes of Wabash; a stepson, Jim (Ann) Ridenour of Wa­bash; a stepdaughter-in-law, Barbara Ridenour of Delaware; 11 grandchil­dren, seven step-grandchildren, three great-grandchildren and 12 step-great-grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his two daughters, Barbara Jean Curless and Roberta Jo Curless; his stepson, Gary Ridenour, and his longtime friend, Dorothy Anderson. His greatest earthly passion was the young people at White’s. Funeral Services were held at Wabash Friends Church in Wabash, IN.

MASSEY Lloyd Micajah Massey, 96, passed away on Tuesday, September 25, 2012 at Universal Healthcare in Ramseur, NC.Lloyd was born in Wayne County on March 11, 1916 to the late Elijah Massey and Emma Cox Massey. He was married to the late Eunice Overman Massey. Lloyd was a member of New Hope Friends Meeting. He was a long-time farmer in the Dudley community and served as president of the American Dairy Asso­ciation of North Carolina. Lloyd was a past master of the North Carolina State Grange. Funeral services were held Sat­urday, September 29, 2012 at New Hope Friends Meeting with Wayne Allman and David Hobson officiating. Burial followed in the Hollowell Cemetery in Dudley. Lloyd is survived by his wife, Elizabeth Dellinger Goodin Massey; his sons, Macon Massey and wife Donna of Belton, SC, Frank Massey and wife Beth of Asheboro and Harry Massey of Falls Church, VA; three grandchildren, Ellen, Brian and Ashley Massey. He is also survived by his step-daughters, Diane Travis and husband Gary of Shelby and Christina Dorsey of Hickory; and four step-grandchildren, Robert Lutz, Ben Travis, Thomas Sigmon and William Lutz and wife Tammi and their son Josh.

PULLIAM Bruce Robert Pulliam, 88, died on Sunday morning, July 8, 2012 at Vidant Medical Center in Greenville, North Carolina. He participated in the founding of Quaker House of Fayette­ville, North Carolina, a founding mem­ber and recorded elder of Fayetteville Friends Meeting and at the time of his death, a beloved member and elder in Rich Square Monthly Meeting. Wherever he lived, Bruce was a dedicated educa­tor, supporter of the arts, community leader and faithful friend to many. He and his twin brother, Henry Talmadge Pulliam, were born November 29, 1923 and reared in the Roxboro area of Per­son County, North Carolina. The twin brothers served as medical corpsmen in the Pacific theater during World War II. Bruce returned home to earn degrees from Wake Forest University and from Western Carolina University. He began his career as an educator at High Plains School, a rural Person County school for Native Americans. Following work there, he taught at American Schools in the Philippines and Japan and at boarding schools here in the US. In 1962 Bruce moved to Fayetteville, NC to teach at the newly opened Methodist College where he remained for 35 years. During the late 1960’s, as the Viet Nam War inten­sified, Bruce provided local leadership to assist in the establishment of Quaker House of Fayetteville, a full-time peace and military counseling project in Fay­etteville NC near Fort Bragg. He served on the Board of Overseers for Quaker House of Fayetteville from 1969-1996. Being a historian, Bruce collected and preserved underground GI newspapers and information about Anti-War activities in the Fayetteville-Ft. Bragg area. That collection is preserved for research in the Friends Historical Collection at Guilford College. Bruce and his brother moved to Murfreesboro, NC in 1997 to be near their sister and her family. In Murfreesboro the two brothers became active supporters of Chowan University music and arts programs as well as the local public library, the historical association and Habitat for Humanity. Being convinced that Friends should be active members of the meeting nearest their homes, Bruce moved his membership from Fayetteville to Rich Square Monthly Meeting in nearby Woodland, NC. A celebration of his life was held at Cedar Grove Meeting House in Woodland, NC on Sunday, July 15. Bruce is survived by his sister and brother-in-law, Mildred and S.T. Wrenn of Murfreesboro, NC, four nephews, a host of grandnieces and grandnephews and many dear friends.

SMITH Edna Pauline Smith died Wednesday, October 24, 2012, at The Village in Indianola, IA. She was born April 28, 1922 at Oskaloosa, IA to J. Paul Hadley and Fleda Johnson Hadley, the eldest of six children. She graduated from Arnolds Park High School in 1940 and from William Penn College in 1947. On May 30,1949 she married Lyle E. Smith and they had four children. Besides be­ing a good wife and mother she taught school, in Kansas and Iowa, and was as­
sistant librarian at the Des Moines Public Library for over 15 years. She was active in her church, on Quakerdale Board, and in the United Society of Friends Women International where she served as President for six years (1980-1986). She continued to be active in the local USFW where she pieced quilts and the Ladies Aid where she helped serve Humeston Sale dinners. Since 1991 her home has been The Village where she enjoyed sewing and many visits from her family. She is survived by her husband, Lyle, and children; Wayne Smith, Charlotte (Lloyd) Stangeland, James (Anita) Smith and Ron (Deanna) Smith; seven grandchildren three great-grandchildren and one due in January; sisters, Hazel (Edwin) Hadley, Clara Lee (Daryl) Locker and Mary Glenn Hadley. She was preceded in death by her parents and two brothers, J. Merlin Hadley and Glen Arlo Hadley.

SEMMLER Henry Charles Semmler, 82, died on Saturday, November 17, 2012 at Friends Homes Guilford. Friends and family celebrated his life in the living room at Friends Homes at Guilford on Saturday, December 12, 2012, with David Bills officiating. Hank was born on December 31, 1929 to Alta Rusack Semmler and Fritz Semmler, both de­ceased. Alta’s sister, Minchen “Mimi” Rusack, was influential in his young life after the death of his mother. Surviving are his sons, Carl Douglas Semmler and wife Diane Semmler of Summerfield, NC and Stephen Lee Semmler and wife Kathryn Semmler of Westerville, OH. Grandchildren: Sean and Nate Semmler of Summerfield and Ryan and Allison Semmler of Westerville, OH. Other rela­tives include a sister-in-law, Anne Peace Martin and her husband Ron Martin of Morganton, NC; a sister-in-law Nancy Peace Romeo and her husband Steve Romeo of Greensboro, NC; nieces Sarah Hanson and husband David, Karen Allred and husband Greg, Carol Kel­ley and husband Jeff, Linda Leach and husband Mark; and cousins Katherine Addams and husband Jack and John Rusack. Hank was born in Brooklyn, NY, but later moved to Storrs, Connecticut, where his father taught in the German Department at the University. He moved south to attend Guilford College where he majored in English and graduated in 1951, having served in the Army. While at Guilford, he met Gene Peace, whom he married in 1951. They were married 60 years before Gene’s death in May of 2012. Hank earned a Masters in English from UNC and a Masters in Economics from Duke. He later taught at Guilford College as an English professor and continued his Guilford connection work­ing in the Alumni Office. Subsequently, he taught English in High Point, first at High Point Andrews and later at High Point Central, retiring in 1990. He lived at Friends Homes Guilford where he enjoyed playing bridge. Hank was a member of New Garden Friends Meeting and was active in many Quaker activi­ties, most recently serving as a member of New Garden’s Ministry and Counsel. Earlier, he enjoyed singing in the Meet­ing’s choir for nearly 40 years.

  • Don Gaston

    Several years ago I purchased two beautiful water color pictures of flowers signed by Alta Rusack. From the story presented here about Henry Charles Simmler, Alta was his mother. Is anyone in this family interested in obtaining these pictures? They are quite lovely.