Thursday, March 30, 2017

Pat Sustar Passes

Pat Sustar 1954
Pat Sustar, a popular member of our class of "54 passed away yesterday.
That's according to her neice, Terry McSwain.

Pat was married to Dudley D. McSwain, CHS '55. Dudley, also a CHS graduate, passed  away in 1979.

Pat had been in a nursing home in Huntersville, NC for the past couple of years.


Patsy S. McSwain

October 10, 1935 - March 29, 2017
View the Full Online Memorial
Patsy S. “Pat” McSwain, 81, of Charlotte, NC, passed away Wednesday, the 29th of March 2017 at Huntersville Health & Rehabilitation.

 She was born the 10th of October 1935 in Charlotte, NC, the youngest of three to the late Brice Hadden Sustar and Banner Gibson Sustar.  Pat, as she was affectionately known, was Real Estate Broker and owned and operated Pat McSwain, Inc. for thirty years.  She later served as a property manager with Shamrock Management for sixteen years.  Pat served a term  as the President of the North Carolina Realtors.

 Anyone who knew Pat, knew she was an avid sports fan.  She pulled for her Carolina Tar Heels, Carolina Panthers and the Atlanta Braves.  She loved to sing and was a woman of deep faith in Christ and a former member of Green Memorial Baptist Church in Plaza Midwood.

 A service to celebrate her life will be held Two o’clock in the afternoon, Tuesday, the 4th of April 2017 from the graveside of Sharon Memorial Park with The Reverend Dale Shields officiating.  Family will greet friends immediately following the service at Pat's former home.

 Mrs. McSwain is survived by her two children: Tina R. McSwain of Charlotte, NC and Dudley Trent McSwain and his wife, Valerie L. McSwain of Statesville, NC; "adopted daguhter", Robin Gaw;  two grandchildren: Wesley and Taylor; one sister, Mary Scott Hill of Huntersville, NC; a sister-in-law, Kay Starnes of Charlotte, NC and several nieces and nephews.  Pat was preceded in death by her husband, Dudley Denton McSwain and a sister, Ruth S. Martin.

In lieu of flowers memorials may be made to the Pat McSwain Funeral Expenses at


Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Martin Hill Passes

We were very sad to learn of Martin Hill's passing!  Martin was one of my oldest friends by virtue of his growing up within abut a block from  my cousin, Charles Mateer. Charles' mother and my mother were very close, so from a very early age, I got to know Martin well, since he and Charles were constant playmates.

Martin and his wife  Pat were regular atendees at the "Lets Do Lunch" events at "Jimmies."

Here is his obituary published in the Charlotte Observer yesterday.

Rest in Peace, Martin


William Martin Hill Sr. (1936 - 2017)

  • "Sorry to learn about Martin passing."
    - Michael Marsh

William Martin Hill, Sr. MIDLAND - William Martin Hill, Sr., a longtime resident of Midland passed away peacefully on March 24, 2017, at Clear Creek Nursing Home and Rehab. Martin was born on June 28, 1936, in Atlanta, GA. He was drafted into the Army and stationed at Aberdeen Proving Grounds, MD. He was Captain of the rifle team and was a top marksman, winning many awards. Following his service to his country he attended Charlotte College graduating with a degree in Business. After college he pursued his passion for film making and shot the first feature film in Charlotte, NC titled "Dr. Gore." His vast knowledge of camera equipment led to his collecting some of the most famous cameras used in Hollywood. He was noted for having the largest motion picture camera collection in the world. His speciality was Mitchell cameras. Martin's love of film equipment was shared throughout his life as he mentored many up and coming cameramen and producers. He is survived by his beloved wife of 56 years Patsy V. Hill, sons William Martin Hill, Jr., (spouse Zane), Mark Byrum Hill, granddaughter Dallas LeAnn Furr (spouse Brandon), great grandson Levi William Furr, sister-in-law Mary Ruth Stikeleather and many nieces and nephews. A Celebration of Martin's life will be held on Wednesday, March 29, 2017, at 7:00 pm at Hope Community Fellowship church, located at 10643 Blair Road, Mint Hill, NC 28227. In lieu of flowers memorial contributions may be made to The Hope Community Fellowship building fund at the address above.

Saturday, March 25, 2017

"How Do You Get to Carnegie Hall?

"...Practice, man, practice!"

From that old joke, to actual reality for CHS 54's own Don Nance!

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By Letty Nance

Since Don was 13, singing in the middle school choir and taking voice lessons, he dreamed of singing on the stage of Carnegie Hall in NYC.  That dream came true last Monday night!  He has been singing with the Wytheville Community College Choir for several years now.  The choir was invited by the Manhattan Concert Productions to sing with choirs from all over the U.S. and a 30 member chamber orchestra in Carnegie Hall.  The piece was written by Dan Forest, a 39 year old musical genius from Bob Jones University.  “JUBILATE DEO”  (Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth!) from Psalm 100 was the main piece WCC Choir sang for the winter concert last November.  It was beautiful then, but magnificent when done by 200 voices.  It lasted about 45 minutes, then there was a standing ovation with the command for an encore!

We had the privilege of meeting Dan Forest, the composer and his family in the lobby after the performance.  I told him that God had blessed him with a special talent, and I had been blessed by hearing it.

That 81 year old husband of mine has now checked off one on his bucket list.  God continues to send unexpected blessings.  We are both grateful for having had such a wonderful experience.
One more thing, the performance will be shown on PBS channel, if I learn when it airs I will let you know.


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Don is second from row.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

The Grass

If you ever get the chance to listen to a recording of Carl Sandberg....reciting his poem, THE'll never forget it.  -Ed

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Pile the bodies high at Austerlitz and Waterloo. 
Shovel them under and let me work— 
                                          I am the grass; I cover all. 

And pile them high at Gettysburg 
And pile them high at Ypres and Verdun. 
Shovel them under and let me work. 
Two years, ten years, and passengers ask the conductor: 
                                          What place is this? 
                                          Where are we now? 

                                          I am the grass. 
                                          Let me work

Carl Sandburg reading THE GRASS

[Unidentified girl in mourning dress holding framed photograph of her father as a cavalryman with sword and Hardee hat]Unidentified girl in mourning dress.


Wednesday, March 08, 2017

In Order to Get My Drivers License...

I had to prove that I couldn't see out of one eye!

Say What?

Image result for charlotte nc dmvYep,   That's true. Read on........

It was 1952 and the day had finally arrived.  The one, that, wthout a doubt, was the most important birthday of my life! 

Number 16! 

The age at which it could become legal to drive!

All others pale after that one. And my guess is that most of you card carrying members of the "silent generation" feel the same way.  I'm sure the boys do...and probably the girls too.

That was the one        I believe that most dramatically marked the end of our childhood and the beginning of adulthood. The wonderful music of those car keys...rattling in our pockets...was number one ....on our  hit parade of 1952...and for many years afterward.

But, it almost didn't happen.

At least not without a fight.

My Dad and I were the the first ones in line at the DMV that morning.  There are still wrinkles on my face caused by an acute attack of angleman syndrome.  (excessive smiling).

The written test was a piece of cake.  The road test was a breeze.

Finally, the eye test.........

Well, this was when the goofy smile on my face came crashing down.

I failed.

However, the DMV official explained that....there was still a possibility that I could get special permission to drive....with  proper documentation  from  a qualified eye specialist.  There was an "exception" for "one eyed" persons, for which I qualified.  I was born with one almost perfect eye and one which was very weak,  (not correctable with classes). 

With persistence, my Dad was able to arrange for an eye specialist  to check me out and sign the proper forms and get me back to the DMV before they closed.

I think I got the last license issued that day.

That was my introduction to the wonderful world of bureaucracy.
You see, it was perfectly legal for a "one eyed" person to obtain a drivers license in North Carolina. However, I had to have a note from a Doctor...stating that I really......couldn't see out of one eye!

( A note from a Doctor confirming that I can't see?)

"It;s an ill wind that blows no good."

So...I thought, at least maybe this will keep me from being drafted! 

Nope.  They were drafting one eyed men (popeyes) regularly.  The only restriction was.....they could never be promoted to officers.

Oh great....two years as a "grunt!"

I'm still looking for some good wind from that pain in the butt "blow"my way, but right now all I see in the next few years regarding the DMV is ...who the Hell knows.

One thing for won't be anything that keeps idiots, fools and nerds from getting drivers licenses.  Just look around.