News for and about the members of the UNC General
Alumni Association. Want to submit an item? Look for the
“Keeping in Touch” form on page 74, post news online at
alumni.unc.edu or send e-mail to
deadline for the July/August issue is May 1.
’20s Edward Rondthaler (’ 28,
’ 29 AB) of Croton-on-Hudson, N.Y., is a columnist for
his local newspaper. At age 101, he continues
to participate as a subject in the Columbia
University Medical Center long-life study.
Frank LeRoy Smith (’ 29 AB), 98, of Winston-Salem; Nov. 14, 2006. Smith retired as
senior vice president of N.C. Granite Corp. He
was active with the Boy Scouts for more than
40 years and was board president for the
United Fund and the YMCA. The Mount Airy
Chamber of Commerce named him its Citizen
of the Year. After graduation, he served in the
Army Air Corps and, at UNC, he belonged to
Sigma Zeta. He claimed to hold the record
among UNC alumni for reunions attended,
having attended each of his milestone reunions
and then coming back just about every year
from his 50th to his 76th reunion to participate in the annual Old Students Club luncheon. Dr. J. Allen Whitaker Jr. (’ 28, ’ 31
CMED), 101, of Rocky Mount; Dec. 19, 2006.
Whitaker retired from the practice of urology.
Whitaker had also been a public health officer
in Mount Airy and Rocky Mount. He was
inducted into the Order of the Long Leaf Pine
and the Twin Counties Museum and Hall of
Fame. At UNC, he belonged to Phi Delta
Theta and was active in student government.
’30s ■ obituaries
James Asa Bruton (’ 37 AB),
90, of Pinehurst; Nov. 6, 2006. Bruton, an early
scientist in the development, production and
commercial use of plastics, retired as vice presi-
dent for chemicals and plastics with Union
Carbide Corp. During WWII, he was part of
the Manhattan Project. As a member of the
project’s scientific team, he helped develop the
first atomic weapon. While living in New York,
he was a trustee for Raritan Valley Hospital
and a member of the Somerset County Parks
Commission. L. Kenneth Edwards Jr.
(’ 39 BSPHR), 90, of Stantonsburg; Nov. 20,
2006. Edwards retired as president and owner
of Stantonsburg Drug Co. He served on local
and district school boards, the hospital board
and the Wilson County Health Board. In
1977, he was presented the Bowl of Hygeia
Award for outstanding community service by
the N.C. Pharmaceutical Association. He
belonged to Theta Chi at UNC. Rebecca
Noell Fontaine (’ 38), 90, of Newport News,
Va.; Nov. 21, 2006. Fontaine retired as the first
woman civilian historian for the Air Force Tactical Air Command. Following retirement, she
was a docent at Colonial Williamsburg for 10
years. Edwin Godwin “Peck” Long Jr.
(’ 31 BSCE), 95, of Wilmington; Nov. 15, 2006.
Long retired as chief of the engineering division of the Army Corps of Engineers in the
Wilmington district. He served with the corps
in both WWII and the Korean War. He was
involved with the design and construction of
airfields at New Bern, Beaufort and Manteo.
At UNC, he belonged to Lambda Chi Alpha
and was a member of the track team.
Catherine Hodges McKnight (’ 36 AB), 91,
of Chapel Hill; Nov. 25, 2006. McKnight was
employed by UNC, working in South Building. Earlier in her career, she worked for the
GAA publications staff. Dr. Julien Herman
Meyer Sr. (’ 34, ’ 35 BSMED; ’ 35 CMED), 92,
of Roanoke, Va.; Oct. 24, 2006. Meyer, a retired
obstetrician and gynecologist, was founder and
president of Physicians to Women Inc., in
Roanoke. In WWII, he served in the Army
Medical Corps. Among his community activities, he was president of the congregation of
Temple Emanuel. At UNC, he belonged to
Zeta Beta Tau. Elizabeth Page Taylor (’ 37
AB, ’ 38 ABLS), 92, of Raleigh; Nov. 7, 2006. A
retired Wake County librarian, Taylor drove the
county’s first bookmobile. Dr. Don Gist
Wetherbee (’ 37 AB), 91, of McLean, Va.; Dec.
14, 2006. Wetherbee retired as vice president of
Baystate Medical Center. Prior to that, he
practiced internal medicine in Springfield,
Mass., for 30 years and was a clinical professor
of medicine at Tufts University Medical
School. He served in the military in the med-
Ford’s Carolina Years
Former President Gerald Ford, who died Dec.
26, 2006, at age 93, spent part of the 1938 summer session at UNC living on campus and taking
two law school classes. He returned to Chapel
Hill for a second stay, in World War II, when
UNC was one of four campuses chosen by the
U.S. Navy for pre-flight training schools. Ford,
then an ensign, helped with physical fitness training for the cadets. He also walked away from at
least one plane crash at Horace Williams Airport.
Read stories about Ford’s time at Chapel Hill