News & Notices

News from the club and its members and notices.

Program – Tom Miller: Preservation Durham

Who would believe a program about cemeteries could be so hilarious and yet informative? Tom Miller of Preservation Durham did just that.  Thanks, Tom.  In his introduction of Tom, Past President Don Stanger pointed out that our speaker had steered Hope Valley’s designation as a National Historic Register site through the rigorous nomination process.

As Tom pointed out, the success of any historic preservation group is measured by how much it can “slow down” the destruction of historic sites.  By that measure it appears to me that Durham began turning the corner by the early 21st century.

Tom Miller was introduced by Don Stanger.

Among Tom’s special interests are Durham’s cemeteries, especially its first public cemetery—Maplewood.  Earlier burials were on church grounds or in family plots.  Established in 1872, Maplewood was indeed the town’s first public amenity.  It was not universally popular.  Some residents probably thought proper streets or public water were more important.  But not recently arrived carpetbagger, Louis Austin, who had been drawn to Durham because its politics were dominated by northern Republican business interests.  Austin agitated for a ball-field instead.  To promote his cause and annoy his opponents he repeatedly fired a canon until it grew so hot it exploded.  Without family or funds, the mortally wounded Austin was interred in an unmarked pauper’s grave.  Diligent sleuthing in the late 20th century revealed its location, leading to the erection of a grave marker.

One of the most handsome and imposing mausoleums in Maplewood belonged to the Duke family.  Early members of that prominent family were initially interred there.  In 1935, shortly after the completion of Duke University Chapel, remains of the foremost Dukes—Washington and sons Ben and Buck—were transferred to the small Memorial Chapel situated to the left of the chancel.  Poor Brodie Duke, Ben and Buck’s older half-brother—and not as temperate in taste or love as they—remained behind in Maplewood.

Other significant individuals interred in Maplewood include Bartlett Durham who donated land on which a train station was built for the North Carolina Railroad and around which houses and business establishments began springing up in the 1850s.  Soon this town would be named for Bartlett Durham.  Another is W. T. Blackwell, the richest man in Durham, whose “Bull Durham” smoking tobacco generated his fortune.  Mail order tombstones, mostly from the early 20th century, are scattered about.

(A Hebrew cemetery would be established a few years later at Beth El Synagogue and in the 1920s the city of Durham constructed Beechwood Cemetery located near White Rock Baptist Church for African American burials.)

Submitted by Allen Cronenberg


New Member – Jim Tucker

Please welcome new member, Jim Tucker.

Jim Tucker is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ professional and Chartered Retirement Plans Specialist.  He co-founded the investment and financial planning firm of Tucker Bria Wealth Strategies, LLC.  He was born and raised in Pittsburgh, PA.

Jim enjoyed a successful business career prior to entering the wealth management field in 2003.  His business experience includes time as a Wall Street investment banker and as an investment manager for a regional mall real estate portfolio of a national insurance company.

Jim’s entrepreneurial endeavors include being a member of the management team that grew Natural Wonders, a mall-based nature and science gift retailer, from a venture capital backed start-up into a publicly traded company.  Additionally, he was an early employee of the Charlotte-based technology company, AvidXchange.

Jim earned his undergraduate degree from Duke University (A.B., Public Policy) and his MBA from Harvard Business School.

Jim is a former Duke University swimming record holder and current member of U.S. Masters Swimming.  He enjoys wine, food and travel or any combination of the above.  Jim’s service focuses are in the areas of affordable housing, K-12 education and autism.

Jim and his wife, Valerie Hausman, have two sons, Andrew (20) and Justin (18), and reside in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.

New Member – Itir Keskiner

Please join us in welcoming new member, Itir Keskiner

Itir Keskiner is a Certified Life and Leadership Coach with her own practice in Durham, NC. After 15 years of consulting and marketing leadership experience at Accenture, Unilever, Samsung, and Burt’s Bees, Itir uses her expertise in leading organizations, driving growth, and solving problems to help her clients transform their lives and businesses. Itir earned her M.B.A. from Duke University, Fuqua School of Business in 2009 and her B.A. in International Affairs from the George Washington University in 2004. Itir serves on the Duke Alumni Women’s Forum Steering Committee and volunteers with various local non-profit organizations. Itir is an avid Crossfitter, world traveler, art lover, mom to five backyard chickens, and foodie.


New Member – Ralph Haynes

Please join us in welcoming new member, Ralph Haynes.

As a military child, Ralph was in 12 schools in 12 years, throughout the United States and Europe.  He subsequently became a physician, specializing in pulmonary medicine, critical care medicine, and sleep medicine where he had been on the faculty of Emory’s School of Medicine until moving to Durham.

He and his wife, Patricia, an OBGYN, raised their six children to successful adulthood, one of whom lives in Durham and has the two grandchildren that have attracted Ralph and Patricia to this new neighborhood.

Additionally, he has had a second career: after completing the obligated military service of his generation, he remained in the US Army Reserves which provided remarkable opportunities for a change of pace as well as fascinating adventures to unusual parts of the world. He had the good fortune of serving at all levels of command, ultimately becoming a Major General and Deputy Surgeon General of the Army, and thereafter the senior medical general on the Staff of the Joint Chiefs at the Pentagon until retirement.

Ralph joined the Atlanta Rotary Club in 1989; he has acquired many worldwide friends through Rotary and values this organization greatly and is therefore immensely pleased to join the Durham Rotary Club!

New Member – Mike McLawhorn

Please welcome our new member Mike McLawhorn.

Originally from near Oriental, NC, I’ve lived in Durham for the past 10 years.  During this time, I’ve had the immense pleasure of working with TROSA (Triangle Residential Treatment Options for Substance Abuser).  For the last 5 years, I’ve been the Senior Manager of TROSA’s In-Kind department with my activities revolving around corporate outreach.  I am a husband (married to my fantastic wife Elisha for 3 years), a Veteran (U.S. Army Infantry) and a Pirate (attended college at East Carolina University).

George Brantley DeLoatche – May He Rest In Peace

Delivering a Rotary Minute in September 2012

It is with great sadness that we write to inform you of the passing of long-time Fellow Rotarian, and friend to many, George Brantley DeLoatche. Brantley passed away this morning. He was 99 years old.

Brantley’s tenure as a Durham Rotarian for 73 years is a record that may never be broken. He was a regular presence at weekly meetings, offering a genuine welcome to newly inducted club members and a warm smile for his old friends and tablemates. He was a Paul Harris Fellow and a follower of the Four Way Test.

In the weeks before his death, Brantley decided to create a named Scholarship with The Rotary Club of Durham and made a generous gift of $10,000 to launch this Fund. Thus, The Brantley DeLoatche Scholarship will be given, starting this year, to one of our area high school scholarship awardees. It is hoped that additional memorial gifts will enable this Fund to grow to a level that supports an annual scholarship in memory of this fine man and his contributions to the community.

Rotarians who wish to make memorial gifts may do so by sending a check payable to The Rotary Foundation, with the notation: The Brantley DeLoatche Scholarship, to: Barry Curtis, 3813 Regent Road, Durham, North Carolina 27707.

Pictured here is Brantley, along with Fellow Rotarians, Lucia Powe and Roxanne Hall Little, at our June 25, 2018 Rotary Meeting.   Brantley had just celebrated his 99th birthday on June 21st.

A Memorial Service for Brantley will be held on Saturday, March 2, at Yates Baptist Church at 11:00 AM, in Durham.  Yates Baptist is on Chapel Hill Road near the Blvd.

A full obituary was published in the Herald-Sun on Friday March 1 in the Durham Herald-Sun and can be seen here.