James “Bobby” Harris



A funeral service for James “Bobby” Harris, 80, of Opelika was held at 1 p.m. on Feb. 11, at Allen Chapel A.M.E. Church with interment at Evergreen Cemetery. Rev. Monique Summers officiated.

Harris passed on Feb. 4, at the East Alabama Medical Center. He was a member of Allen Chapel where he served on the steward board and the trustee board. He was also district superintendent of Sunday school. Harris was an Army veteran and served as Worship Master for Masonic Lodge #610 (Gold Hill).

His remains laid in state at the church one hour prior to the service.

Survivors include his wife of 54 years, Myrtis Harris, Opelika; two sons, Earnest (Cheryl) Harris, Augusta, Ga. and James (Michelle) Harris Jr., Tuscaloosa; 10 grandchildren and three great grandchildren; a special nephew, Eddie (Brenda) Harris, Auburn; a brother, Mack Williams, Auburn; two sisters, Bertha (Joseph) Webb, Opelika and Della Gates, Buffalo, N.Y.; a long time friend, Eddie B. Lockhart; a host of other relatives and friends.

Peterson and Williams Funeral Home directed.



Llewellyn Blaize



A funeral service for Llewellyn Blaize, 65, of Auburn was held at 12 p.m. on Feb. 18, at Peterson and Williams Chapel with interment in Pine Level Cemetery. Rev. James Nix Morrison officiated.

Blaize passed on Feb. 14, at the Bethany House. He was a 1980 graduate of Tuskegee University where he earned a degree in Electrical Engineering and Mathematics. Prior to his passing, he was employed with the Virgin Island Power Authority in St. Thomas, Virgin Island.

Survivors include one daughter, Marie A. Blaize, Birmingham; one son, Llewellyn (Kelly) Browne, Adelanto, Calif.; a brother, Vincent A. Blaize, St. John Antigua, Wisc.; a stepdaughter, Rachel Humphrey, Tampa, Fla.; three grandchildren and two great grandchildren; a special aunt, Dorothy Jackson, Auburn; his care giver, Ophelia Rowe, Auburn;  several nieces, other relatives and friends.

Peterson and Williams Funeral Home directed.



Roy “Nick”Adkins 1952-2012


A memorial service for Roy “Nick” Adkins, 60, of Opelika was held at 1 p.m. on Feb. 18, at St. Ellis Full Gospel Church.  Bishop James Fears officiated.

Adkins, passed on Feb. 11, at his home in Russell County. Early in life, he joined Rising Star Missionary Baptist Church. In 1969, he graduated from Sanford High School. He was honorably discharged from the United States Army.

Survivors include hiswife, Shirley Adkins, Opelika; three children, Jamey Adkins, Gary, In, James (Laquisha) Adkins, Chesapeake, Va. and Fredrick Adkins, Merrillville, Ind.; five grandchildren; his mother, Vera Adkins, Opelika; seven sisters, Clara (Leroy) Baker, Phenix City, Hazel (Mitchell) Wilborn, Opelika, Glenda Jones, Puyallup, Wash., Winona Pinkard, Opelika, Monique (Billy) Blanding, Fairburn, Ga., Peggie Adkins, Union City, Ga. and Arnita (Melvin) Evans, Mabelton, Ga.; two brothers, Walter Adkins, Opelika and Harrison Adkins, Atlanta; four aunts, Ola White, Smith Station, Rebecca Smith, Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., Hardine English, Detroit, Mich. and Lillie Mae Nelson, Apopka, Fla.;  mother-in-law, Ethel Richardson, Opelika; three brothers-in-law and two sisters-in-law; a special friend, Robert Warren, Opelika; a host of nieces, nephews, cousins and friends.

Peterson and Williams Funeral Home directed.



Lucinda “Lover” Crowder



A funeral service for Lucinda “Lover” Crowder, 76, of Opelika was held at 12 p.m. on Feb. 13, at Thompson Chapel A.M.E. Zion Church with interment in Evergreen Cemetery.  Dr. A. L. Wilson officiated.

Crowder passed on Feb. 8, at her home. She was a member of Thompson Chapel A.M.E. Zion Church.  While actively serving in the church, she was a member of the Usher Board and the Parent Body Missionary Society.

Her remains laid in state at the church one hour prior to the service.

Survivors include her children, Loretta (Lester) Crowder, James Lamar Crowder, Larry Anthony Crowder, Kenneth (Robin) Crowder Sr. and Joyce Crowder all of Opelika; 24 grandchildren, 30 great grandchildren and one great-great grandchild; two brothers, Willie James (Lorraine) Dowell, Warren, Ohio and Andrew (Willie Ruth) Dowell, Opelika; a host of nieces, nephews, cousins and friends.

Peterson and Williams Funeral Home directed.



David Sims Sr. 1950-2012


A memorial service for David Sims Sr., 61, of Salem was  held at 1 p.m. on Febr. 11, at Pleasant Hill A.M.E. Church. Rev. Antonio Thomas officiated.

Sims passed on Feb. 1, at his home. He was a member of Pleasant Hill A.M.E. Church.

Survivors include one daughter, Jamila (Mark) Adams, Sacramento, Calif.; two sons, David Sims Jr., Oregon and Tyler Sims, Oakland, Calif.; three grandchildren, Dejohnna Sims, Malayah Adams and Jaya Adams; one brother, Mallory “Rudy” (Pati) McMillian Jr., Louisville, Ky.; an uncle, Homer Washington, Salem; a host of nieces, nephews, cousins, other relatives and friends.

Peterson and Williams Funeral Home directed.



Joseph “Red Bone” Hodge



Joseph Hodge, 68, former resident of Opelika, passed away on Feb. 6, at Troy Regional Medical Center in Troy

He was a 1961 graduate of J. W. Darden High School and resided in Troy for several years.

A funeral service was held on Feb. 10, at 11 a.m. from Peterson and Williams Chapel with interment following in Garden Hil Cemetery.

His survivors are: children, Sylvia (Michael) Strickland, Auburn, Eric Hodge, Atlanta and Arlicia (Mario) Mitchell, Opelika; brothers, Jacob (Janice) Hodge, James (Josephine) Hodge, Ronald Hodge all of Atlanta, Donald Hodge of Madison, , and Wayne (Mattie) Gibson, Opelika; sister, Carolyn Finley, Opelika; seven grandchildren, a host of other relatives and friends.

Peterson & Williams Funeral Home directed.



Annelle W. Killian


Annelle W. Killian, 88, passed away on Feb. 18, 2012. Born in Lee County, Killian lived in Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio since 1968 and had recently moved to Akron, Ohio. She was a secretary at Auburn University for a brief time before becoming a homemaker.

She was also a member of the Mary Lee Bridge Club.

Annelle is survived by her husband of over 65 years, James Lewis Killian, Jr.; daughter, Jo Annelle Killian of Columbus, Ohio; sons, James Lewis (Karen) Killian III of Auburn and David Waller (Kathy) Killian of Norton, Ohio; grandchildren, Sarah Waltz (Sean) DeMass of Akron, Ohio and Benjamin Lewis Killian of Stow, Ohio; great-granddaughter, Madeline Claire DeMass of Akron; and sister, Alice Glasscock of Auburn.

A memorial service was held on Feb. 22, in Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio. Pastor David McGrath officiated. Her cremains are interred in Salem. In lieu of other remembrances, memorials may be sent to NAMI, 4500 E. Broad St., Columbus, Ohio, 43213.



Annie B. Avery



A funeral service for Annie B. Avery, 98, of Opelika, was held on Feb. 11, at 2 p.m. at St. Luke A.M.E. Church with interment in Rosemere Cemetery. Rev. Richard Carter Jr. officiated.

Avery passed on Feb. 5, at the Bethany House.

She was a member of St. Luke A.M.E. Church, where she served on the Pastor’s Aide Board, Steward Board, Matron’s Club, Missionary Society and Lee Bertha Harris Club. In 1973, she retired from the Auburn School System as an elementary teacher.

In lieu of flowers/green plants, donations can be made in her memory to St. Luke A. M. E. Church P. O. Box 4138; Opelika, AL  36803.

Her remains laid in state at the church one hour prior to the service.

Survivors include a devoted niece, like a daughter, Rita B. (Dr. Otis C.) Smith of Burton, S.C.; a step daughter, Mattie Jo Gilbert of Decatur, Ga.; daughter-in-law, Margaret K.Grimmett of Atlanta; two grandsons, Douglas Justin (Denise) Grimmett of Colorado Springs, Colo. and James Howard Grimmett, of Smyrna, Ga.; two step grandchildren, Ruth Dennis and Faye Mathis both of Decatur, Ga.; three great grandchildren, Justin, Nicole and Brent Grimmett all of Colorado Springs, Colo.; a great nephew, Ovar (Sherry) Smith of Charlotte, N.C.; a devoted cousin, like a son, Lou Walter Gunn of Opelika; a devoted friend, like a sister, Juanita Brooks of Opelika; devoted friends, Ann Mitchell and Mary Helen Bedell both of Opelika; two loving and devoted caregivers, Patricia Jordan and Gwen Smith; other relatives, cousins and family friends.

Peterson and Williams Funeral Home directed.



James “Mack” McCurdy



A funeral service for James “Mack” McCurdy, 59, of Opelika was held at 12 p.m. on Feb. 10, at Peterson and Williams Chapel with interment in Garden Hills Cemetery. Rev. Ricky Williams officiated.

McCurdy passed on Feb. 4, at the Bethany House. He was a graduate of Beauregard High School. During his working career, he was employed with Ampex, Inc., and Auburn University.

Survivors include  his wife, Victoria McCurdy, Opelika; his mother, Eular Walker, Auburn; three sons, Rodney McCurdy, Loachapoka, Brandon Martez McCurdy, Opelika and Brian Reese, Huntsville; two brothers, Robert McCurdy and Harvey McCurdy both of Auburn; three aunts, Viola Lockhart, Loachapoka, Mae Rose Drake, Tuskegee and Annie Doris (Johnny Lee) Harris, Auburn; an uncle, Cleo McCurdy, Gadsden; three great aunts, Eva McCurdy, Opelika, Cora Lee Carlisle, Brooklyn, N.Y. and Lula Pearl Echols, Cleveland, Ohio; four grandchildren and one great grandchild; a host of nieces, nephews, cousins, and friends.



Miriam McClendon Pruet 1920-2012


Miriam McClendon Pruet, age 91, of Auburn, passed away on Feb. 16.  A “Celebration of Life” service was held on Feb. 18, at the Jeffcoat-Trant Chapel. Visitation was at 1 p.m. with the service following at 2 p.m. Afterwards, friends and family were invited to graveside services at the LaFayette Cemetery in LaFayette.

Miriam was born on Nov. 27, 1920, to the late Clarence and Opal McClendon of Ridge Grove. As a 1942 home economics graduate of Auburn, Miriam was employed by the Alabama Extension Service. She married Bennett Wilbourne Pruet, Jr., of Anniston in 1945. Later, she completed certification and became an elementary school teacher for 28 years.

She is preceded in death by her parents, her husband Bennett Pruet, a brother John Wise McClendon of LaFayette, and a sister Mary Evelyn James of Waycross, Ga.

Survivors include a son Bennett (Julie) Pruet of Little Rock, Ark. and a daughter Ann (Robert) Sylvester of Newark, Del.; six grandsons: Brannon Pruet of Aurora, Colo., Bryan Pruet of Moresville, N.C., Rob Sylvester of Manhattan, Michael Sylvester of Houston, Texas, David Sylvester of Seattle, Wash. and Allen Sylvester of Hockessin, Del.; two sisters: Betty Fuller of Auburn and Nell Phillips of Lanett. Miriam’s grandsons were honorary pallbearers. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests you make memorial donations to a charity of your choice. Jeffcoat-Trant Funeral Home was in charge of arrangements.



Michael S. Gaertner 1975-2012


Michael S. Gaertner, aged 36, passed away unexpectedly on Feb. 10, in Auburn. Mike was born on Sept. 13, 1975, to Michael H. and Janice J. (Spriggs) Gaertner in Kalamazoo, Mich. A 1993 graduate of Kalamazoo Central High School, Mike will be remembered as a loyal Detroit Tigers fan and a walking book of their statistics. He married Meghan L. Gaertner (DeFouw) in 2003. Mike was a dedicated employee of Mando Corporation where he was senior manager of production control.

A loving son, husband, and father, he is survived by his wife, Meghan; parents and stepmother, Diane Gaertner (Leyda); and daughters Maya and Kaleigh.  He is also survived by brother, Charles, uncles Joey Panko and Richard, Thomas and John Gaertner; aunt Kristine Gaertner; cousins Jessi, Bitty, Franny, Andy, Ashley, Alana, Paul, Joseph and Angela; and several nieces and nephews.  A memorial service was held at Westwood Christian Reformed Church, in Kalamazoo, Mich. on Feb. 20, at 11 a.m.

Memorial contributions can be mailed to Michigan Education Savings Program, PO Box 55925, Boston, MA 02205-5925. Checks should be made payable to MESP and indicate Account# 2193-2380337 for Maya R. Gaertner.



James Carlton Belcher 1919-2012


A memorial service for James Carlton Belcher, age 92, of Auburn, was held on Feb. 18, at 11 a.m., at Auburn United Methodist Church. Reverend Charles Cummings officiated.

Visitation was Feb. 17 from 5 p.m. until 7 p.m., at Jeffcoat Trant Funeral Home.

James Carlton Belcher went to be with his Lord and Savior and be reunited with the love of his life, Mary, on Feb. 15, surrounded by his loving children.

He was born on Sept. 25, 1919, in Enterprise, to the late Zennie Omar and Martha Victoria Belcher. He married Mary Ida Riley on Oct. 12, 1940. He moved to Auburn in 1941 after accepting a position at the extension service. He later became the manager of the Poultry Research Farm at API  (Auburn University) in the Poultry Science Department. In 1952, he and his wife established Belcher Farms, a very successful egg production company until his retirement in the early 1990’s. He then devoted himself full-time to the beef-cattle and hay business. He and his wife took much joy in caring for their yard, flowers, and garden, sharing the fruits of their labor with their family and friends. He always believed in being a good steward of the blessings God bestowed on him.

Belcher was a member of Auburn United Methodist Church and former member of the Civitan Club, the Kiwanas Club, the Elk’s Lodge and the Alabama Poultry and Egg Association. He served his country in the United States Army from 1944-1946. He was on the original board of directors at Auburn Federal Savings and Loan. He was preceded in death by his wife, his parents, three brothers and three sisters.

He is survived by his children: Martha Jean Starr (Cecil), Donna Sue Tankersley, (Chester), Larry Belcher (Anita), Cindy Schell (Weldon), Terri Rubio (Jack) and Riley Belcher (Kim); 12 grandchildren, 26 great grandchildren, and six great-great grandchildren.

In lieu of flowers the family requests memorials be made to: Hospice Advantage (Bethany House) 1171 Gatewood Drive Auburn, AL 36830 or The Mended Hearts A-O Chapter 211, 115 Lee Road 804 Valley, AL 36854. Please specify on the check: donation in memory of James C. Belcher.

Jeffcoat Trant Funeral Home was in charge of arrangements.



Richard Eugene Casey 1931-2012


Richard Casey, age 80, of Opelika passed away at home on Feb. 17 and was born on July 14, 1931, in Aurora, Ind. to the late Elmo Richard and Jennie Skidmore Casey. He is survived by his precious daughters, Vicki Casey Corsetti (Dr. Charles) of Madison and Tami Casey Lesley (Douglas) of Odenville. He also enjoyed and adored the love of two grandsons, Austin (Kristal) and Justin Lesley (fiancé Laura). Heaven sent three great-grandchildren, Makenzie, Maddox, and Mathis. He leaves his beloved wife of 56 years, Gloria Hand Casey; one brother, Jerry Casey (Nancy) of Aurora, Ind. and many nephews and nieces.

Casey went from high school into the U.S. Air Force for four years. He was an inactive member of the Odd Fellows and Lions Club, and was a Sunday school teacher for 17 years, a choir member, director of music in his Sunday school department and member in the Adult V SS Class. He was a member of First Baptist Church, Opelika.

He and his beloved wife, Gloria owned and operated Casey Furniture Company for 47 years. There they made many life-time friends.

A funeral service was held at 11 a.m. on Feb. 21, at Jeffcoat-Trant Chapel with visitation one hour prior to the service. Reverend Steve Scoggins officiated. Burial was in Garden Hills Cemetery.  Pallbearers were Austin Lesley, Justin Lesley, Billy Leonard, Hershel Rowland, Quinton Foster, John McCollum, Chuck Sanders and Gary Miller.

We the family appreciate with all our hearts, the prayers, kind deeds, visits, phone calls, cards and support during the last years.

Jeffcoat-Trant Funeral  Home & Crematory directed.


Bill “Chief” Sanders 1930-2012


Bill “Chief” Sanders, age 81 of Opelika, was born on June 16, 1930, in Lee County and passed away on Feb. 15, at the Tuskegee Veterans Affairs Medical Center Nursing Home Unit in Tuskegee. He was a member of Abundant Life Baptist Church.

Sanders is survived by his wife of 34 years, Curtrisher “Trisha” Sanders; son, Danny Sanders and his wife Shanda; daughter, Gwen Black and her husband Rusty; daughter, Tracey Grimes and her husband James; son, Earl Scoggins and his wife Krista; sister-in-law, Loraine Sanders of Panama City, Fla.; 13 grandchildren; and one great-grandchild.

Sanders served in the United States Army and worked with the Lee County Sheriff’s Department for 33 dedicated years of service. He was loved by all and will be deeply missed.

Visitation was held on Feb. 16, from 6 p.m. until 8 p.m. at Fredericks Funeral Home.

Funeral services for Sanders were held on Feb. 17, at 2 p.m. in the Chapel at Fredericks Funeral Home. Pastor Dan Boatman officiated. Interment followed in Garden Hills Cemetery.

Fredericks Funeral Home directed.



Wallace Earl Johnson 1920-2012


Wallace Earl Johnson (Wally) died on Feb. 17, at Bethany House in Auburn.

He was born July 31, 1920, in Eau Claire, Wisc. He enjoyed many sports and was the captain of his high school basketball team and played center for the Eau Claire State Teacher’s College. He played baseball for the Eau Claire Bears. Wally was a World War II veteran, serving as a pilot in the Naval Air Corps. Opelika became his home in 1963 when the Uniroyal plant was built. At Uniroyal he was the industrial relations manager.

He was preceded in death by his wife of 58 years, Lucile Reinicke Johnson. He is survived by his two daughters, Amy Anderson (David) of Osceola, Wisc. and Nancy Johnson (Harold) of Opelika; five grandchildren, Meg Anderson, Erin Coffey (Christopher) and Erik Anderson, Jenny Johnson and Kim Lambert (Chris).

A funeral service was held at Trinity United Methodist in Opelika on Feb. 19. Visitation was from 1 p.m. until 1:45 p.m., and the service at 2 p.m.

In lieu of flowers, the family suggests memorial donations be made to Hospice Advantage/EAMC, 665 Opelika Rd., Auburn, AL 36830 or Trinity United Methodist Church, 800 2nd Ave., Opelika, AL 36801. Jeffcoat-Trant Funeral Home & Crematory directed.