The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

January 23, 2007

Obituaries 1/24

The News Courier will publish, free of charge, death notices including the name, age and city of residence of the deceased, date and place of death, and time and place of funeral service and visitation. Family members may express themselves in a eulogy, list survivors and give detailed obituary. The News Courier will accept these paid items from the family, funeral directors or other individuals. Paid obituaries may include a photo at no extra charge. For information, call Vanessa Byars at The News Courier, 232-2720.

Gerald Clay Gates

The funeral for Gerald Clay Gates, 76, of Elkmont, will be at 11 a.m. Thursday at Ardmore Memorial Funeral Home with Joe Greer, Randall Hammock and William Lewis officiating. Burial will be in Gatlin Cemetery.

Visitation will be from 6 to 9 tonight at the funeral home.

Mr. Gates died Monday, Jan. 22, 2007, at Athens-Limestone Hospital.

Mr. Gates was born June 14, 1930, in the Hays Mill community of Limestone County to Hershell Gates and Delia White Gates. He moved to Michigan in 1949 and back to Alabama in 1983. He loved playing the guitar and singing for everyone. He loved deer hunting and fishing.

He was preceded in death by his wife Billie Jean Gates; one brother, Allen Gates; and one sister, Lorene Adams.

He is survived by one son, Gary Gates of Pulaski, Tenn.; two daughters, Cheryl Gates of Athens and Karen Gates Lewis of Pulaski; special friend Willa Dean Berzett of Athens; four brothers, Carl Gates and Mack Gates, both of Athens, Hank Gates of Ardmore, Tenn., and Byron Gates of Elkton, Tenn.; two sisters, Lucille Hargrove of Ardmore, Tenn., and Iris Dean McAnear of Decatur; four grandchildren; and six great-grandchildren.

Nephews will be pallbearers.

Richard Alan Kennedy

The funeral for Richard Alan Kennedy, 41, of Athens, will be announced by Limestone Chapel Funeral Home. Mr. Kennedy died Tuesday, Jan. 23, 2007, at home.

Luke Pryor

The funeral for Luke Pryor, 86, of Tanner, will be at 2 p.m. Thursday at First Presbyterian Church in Decatur with Dr. Don Haas officiating and McConnell Funeral Home directing.

Burial will be in Athens City Cemetery.

Visitation will be from 5 to 7 tonight at the Flower Hill Farm residence on U.S. 31 in Tanner.

Mr. Pryor died Sunday, Jan. 21, 2007, at his residence.

Mr. Pryor was born March 4, 1920, in Tanner to Luke Pryor and Lutie Patton Pryor. He was a graduate of Decatur High School Class of 1938 and the University of Alabama Class of 1942, where he was a member of Kappa Alpha fraternity. A quote from Mr. Pryor’s high school classmates:

“Luke Pryor, our president, through his gracious and pleasant manner, early won us to him. Unpretentious and quiet, yet witty and humorous, he was the ideal person to govern our class. He was never too busy to help the least of us.”

He was dedicated to his family, church, community and country. He served during World War II as a flight instructor in the Army Air Corps. He continued to entertain his passion for flying throughout his life and inspired many young people to explore the joy of flying. He was the president of the Alabama Chapter of Flying Farmers and a member of AOPA. He served as an elder in the First Presbyterian Church of Decatur and taught at Taluca Presbyterian and Pryor Chapel.

Mr. Pryor was a prominent farmer, businessman and civic supporter of Limestone and Morgan counties. Calhoun Community College maintains a scholarship in his name. He served on several boards including, Compass Bank, Birmingham Realty and local health-care institutions. He was a member of the Decatur Chamber of Commerce and Kiwanis Club. 

Aside from public honors, Mr. Pryor was known by many for his kindness, generosity and integrity. A tribute made to Mr. Pryor in 1938 by his high school classmates expresses the family’s sentiments today:

“These honors do not halfway suggest his place in our hearts.”

Mr. Pryor is survived by his wife, Betty Lamb Pryor of Tanner; two daughters, Lila Pryor Frank of Huntsville and Patty Pryor Davis and husband Lucian of Nashville, Tenn; three sons, Luke Pryor of Tanner, Schuyler Pryor and wife Jan of Hilton Head, S.C., and Richard Pryor of Tanner; grandchildren Grady Frank III, Lou Pryor, Katie Pryor, Schuyler Pryor, Ida Pryor, Luke Davis, Jean Davis Brosnan and husband Andy, Peyton Davis and Lila Davis; and great-grandchild Luke Brosnan.

Pallbearers will be Grady Frank, Schuyler Pryor III, Peyton Davis and Alan Diseker.

Honorary pallbearers will be elders in the First Presbyterian Church of Decatur and Julian Bibb, Joe Calvin, Tommy Carthen, John Eyster and Al Jones. 

In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made to a favorite charity.

William Seaborn Smith

The memorial service for William Seaborn Smith, 64, of Athens, will be at 11 a.m. Friday at Spry Funeral Home with Dwight Rayburn officiating.

Visitation will be from 10:30 a.m. to 11 a.m. Friday at the funeral home.

Mr. Smith died Tuesday, Jan. 23, 2007, at Athens-Limestone Hospital.

Mr. Smith was born Nov. 12, 1942, in Phenix City. He was a member of the Baptist Church and an employee of Bulkmatic Transport in Decatur.

He is survived by one son, Jeffery Wayne Smith of Smiths; two daughters, Kimberly Ann Smith Cosby of Smiths and Belinda Kay Sawyer of Phenix City; two stepsons, Patrick Elmore and Jay Elmore, both of Athens; two stepdaughters, Sandy Webb and Leslie Garner, both of Athens; two grandchildren, Meghan Kay Smith and Madison Leigh Smith; and four step grandchildren, Blake Elmore, Samantha Elmore, Gavin Garner and Preston Webb.