Obituaries – July 17, 2019

John Michael Bland Sr.

GAINESVILLE, Va. — John Michael Bland Sr., formerly of Manteo, N.C., passed away at home in Gainesville, Va., at 71. He died peacefully Saturday, June 29, 2019, with his family by his side after a long and courageous battle with cancer.

He is survived by his wife of 51 years, Maryann Sapone Bland, and his children, John Michael Bland Jr. (Whitney) and Kenneth Bland (Nicole); grandchildren, Dalton Bland, Eleanor (Ellie) Bland, Margaret (Maggie) Bland and Abigail (Abbey) Bland.

He is also survived by his brother William Alan Bland (Jean) of Darlington, his aunt, Thelma Self of Lamar, as well as several cousins, nieces and nephews. He cared especially for his closest cousins in South Carolina, Betty Watford, Barbara Smith and George Bland, and his friend of 39 years, Nick Spallino, formerly of Manteo, now residing in Glen Allen, Va.

Mike was born Sept. 30, 1947, in Darlington to William (Bill) and Mildred Bland, who preceded him in death. After graduating from St. John’s High School, where he played football, he enlisted in the U. S. Coast Guard in 1967 serving initially at Oregon Inlet Coast Guard Station in the Outer Banks of North Carolina.

He met and married his beloved wife Maryann that first year in the Outer Banks. During his time in the Coast Guard, he was also stationed at Group Cape Hatteras in Buxton, N.C., aboard the CGC Chokeberry at Hatteras Inlet. He was honorably discharged July 21, 1970.

After leaving the military, Mike and Maryann eventually decided to make the Outer Banks their home, living in Manteo. Mike had a long career with Dare County Public Works, retiring in 2009.

In September 2016, they relocated to northern Virginia to be closer to their children and grandchildren, moving in with Kenny and his family in Gainesville, Va.

Mike loved his family and many friends, especially fishing with his buddies on the Outer Banks.

After moving to Virginia, he would call his friends to hear their fishing stories. He even managed to find a few good fishing holes “up North.”

Mike and Maryann are members of Gainesville Presbyterian Church, having transferred their membership from Roanoke Island Presbyterian Church in Manteo, where they worshipped for many years.

He loved and was well loved by his new church family, who welcomed them with open arms and tender hearts. Pastor Jack Lash, his wife Mary Ann, all the elders, and the entire church family have been very supportive, especially in recent months.

His doggies Terry and Rocky were devoted to Mike and he loved to spoil them. He enjoyed keeping up with current events and the latest movies.

You could usually find him relaxing on the patio with the dogs, enjoying the view of Bull Run Mountain.

The family will have two celebrations of Mike’s life. The first will be at Gainesville Presbyterian Church on July 20, at 11 a.m. in Gainesville, Va. The church is at 16127 Lee Highway, Gainesville, Virginia 20155. Directions to the family home will be provided at the church for a reception following the service. Additionally, the family will welcome friends and family to join them in the Outer Banks Aug. 20. The time and location will be shared at a later date. Mike will be laid to rest at Stonewall Memory Gardens at a later date.

Any flowers people wish to send should be delivered by July 19 to the Blands’ home in Gainesville, Va. They will be transported to the church prior to the service.

Twiford Funeral Home, Manteo, is assisting the family with local arrangements. Condolences and memories can be shared at

Kenneth Ervin Bryant Sr.

DARLINGTON – Kenneth Ervin Bryant Sr., 87, died Sunday, July 7, 2019.

Funeral services were in the Chapel at Bethea Retirement Community Tuesday, July 9, directed by Belk Funeral Home. Visitation followed the service.

Born in Darlington, he was the son of Alton Lee Bryant and Mildred Bryant Davis. He was retired from Dixie Cup.

Mr. Bryant was a lifetime member of Central Baptist Church, where he faithfully served as a deacon and was later awarded Deacon Emeritus.

He was director of the Senior Adults for many years along with various other programs including Merry Makers.

Mr. Bryant was a strong and faithful Prayer Warrior for Christ.

He and his wife, Lottie, were involved in many Lay Renewals through the years.

He was well known for his love of people and praying for their needs.

He never met a stranger. He loved all sports including fishing and hunting.

He spent many hours at his children’s and grandchildren’s baseball, football and basketball games and was known for even visiting many of their practices.

He was told one day by the coaches that he was going to have to run laps for being late to practice.

He was preceded in death by his wife of 55 years, Lottie Newsome Bryant.

Surviving are his children, Sandra (Patrick) Downes, Patricia (John) McRae, Kenney (Linda) Bryant; three grandchildren, Josh (Amy) McDowell, Bryant (Sarah) McRae, Cameron McRae; three great-grandchildren, Evan, Charlotte Claire, Leah Caroline; siblings, Tommy Bryant, Betty (Emmett) Faulk, Patsy (Conrad) Hoffmeyer, Altee Bryant.

Memorials may be made to McLeod Hospice House, 1203 E. Cheves St., Florence, SC 29506 and The Lord Cares Ministry, PO Box 1457, Darlington, SC 29540.

A guestbook is available online at

DARLINGTON — Funeral services for Mr. Edward Franklin Wingate of Timmonsville were Monday, July 15, 2019, at Shiloh United Methodist Church in the Syracuse community of Darlington.

Interment followed in New Providence United Methodist Church Cemetery directed by Jordan Funeral Home Inc.

The family was receiving friends at the residence, 225 North Sansbury Road, Timmonsville.

Edward Franklin Wingate

Author: Rachel Howell

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