Nelson McDaniel, President
Nelson was born in New Bern and schooled at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, George Washington and Georgetown Universities, New York University and the University of Lyon. For thirty years he was a teacher at the Episcopal High School in Alexandria, Virginia. He has served in various volunteer capacities with the New Bern 300th, Camps Sea Gull and Seafarer, Christ Church, the Tryon Palace Foundation, the Carolina East Foundation, the Kellenberger Foundation, the Craven Arts Council, the Coastal Carolina Chamber Music Festival, and Swiss Bear.
Joe Hunt, First Vice-President
Joe was raised in Greensboro, NC with short moves to Burlington, Durham, and Winston Salem before moving back to Greensboro for most of his adult life. Joe is a retired electrical engineer and has undergraduate and PhD degrees from Duke University and a Masters degree from North Carolina State University, all in electrical engineering. Joe worked for AT&T for 25 years and then started a Computer Service company in Greensboro and worked there for 20 years. He and his wife of more than fifty years, Annette, were drawn to New Bern in 2001 and and moved here in 2003. They consider New Bern to be a hidden jewel of North Carolina. Since moving to New Bern Joe devotes his time to Centenary United Methodist Church, the New Bern Historical Society, and the New Bern Farmers Market. Joe also helps with his wife’s work in the Historical Society garden. Joe and Annette have two married sons, one in Colorado Springs, CO and the other in Kirkland, WA. They also have 4 grandsons.
Egon Lippert, Second Vice-President
After more than four years in the US Air Force, Egon was discharged as a highly trained electronic technician qualified for a job at IBM. That job progressed from entry level to various levels of management in multiple divisions that lasted for thirty years. Along the way, he received a BS in Business Administration. Looking for a place to retire, a friend suggested New Bern. After several visits he liked what he saw and settled in River Bend in 1998. A few years later another friend mentioned that there was an opening at the Historical Society to do outside maintenance. After a short interview with the current director he was “hired” and spent the next several years mowing, weeding and battling briars. Egon is a member of the Salvation Army Advisory Board and New Bern Noontime Rotary, and serves as chairman of the River Bend Planning Board. When the opportunity arose to become more actively involved with the New Bern Historical Society by joining the Board of Directors, Egon very gladly accepted the honor. He continues to be impressed by and proud of what the membership has done to maintain our precious heritage.
Nancy Chiles, Secretary
Nancy Chiles is a Virginian, a physics graduate of The College of William and Mary, and a former employee of NASA. She and her engineer husband Bob, a Sanford native, moved to New Bern some four decades ago. They have three children and five grandsons. She has been active in the Historical Society for many years and received the Society’s Lifetime of Service Award in 2014. She is the long-time Secretary of the Board of Directors in addition to being an active member of First Presbyterian Church and the New Bern Garden Club. Her interests are flower arranging and playing bridge.
John Robert Mattocks, Treasurer
John Robert Mattocks, a native of Pollocksville, NC, is a graduate of Arendell Parrott Academy and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. At UNC he studied Political Science and History. He returned to New Bern in 1998 to join his father in business at Jenkins Gas Company. After the business was sold in 2005 he started his own company, The Williams Energy Group, a propane distribution company now with locations throughout NC. John Robert is currently the President and CEO of the Williams Energy Group as well as a partner at Inner Banks Properties. John Robert became a board member at the New Bern Historical Society in 2008 and its Treasurer in 2009. He is the former treasurer for the Craven Community College Foundation and the Craven Arts Council, and is currently active on the UNC Board of Visitors, the downtown New Bern MSD board, and First Presbyterian Church. John Robert is married to Alison Gerard Mattocks and has two sons; Wood and James.
John Leys, Historian
John came to New Bern after finishing his graduate degree at East Carolina University in 1975 and taught French, History and English in the New Bern school system. After retiring as a teacher he worked at the Craven County Convention and Visitors Bureau, the New Bern Public Library, and Tryon Palace where he is currently employed. John retired from the library three years ago though he continues to teach a computer class there and fill in when needed. As a long time member of the Historical Society, he has written scripts for Ghostwalk, acted as a ghost in Ghostwalk and Haunted Evening productions at the Attmore-Oliver House, and serves as its historian. John was in many productions at the Civic Theatre and was on the founding board of the Rivertowne Players. John loves New Bern and thinks it has some of the nicest people in the world!
Jonathan Miller, Battlefield Adjutant
Jon and his wife Mickey moved to New Bern in 2011 from Germany where they had lived for 7 years with their son Andrew. Jon retired as a human resources officer in the U. S. Army in 1997 and recently retired from a second career as a registered nurse. He joined the battlefield volunteers to help clean up the aftermath of Hurricane Irene and has since been actively involved at the New Bern Battlefield Park as a guide.
James M. Hodges, DDS, Curator
Reared in New Bern, Jim matriculated to University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill earning an undergraduate degree in Chemistry and a post graduate dental degree. After satisfying a military commitment, relishing several years of international travel, and “sowing his oats”, Jim returned to New Bern and practiced dentistry until his retirement in 2012. His current life chapter involves his passion for New Bern and its rich history – as a member of the Historical Society, Preservation Foundation, and Tryon Palace Foundation Board of Directors. He is thankful to be in a committed relationship with his significant other Cindy. He has a genuine love for dogs, and enjoys good food, especially oysters.
Natalie “Nat” Baggett is a graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Nursing. She has been a resident of New Bern since 1962, and is a longstanding member of the Historical Society. Nat has served on a number of non-profit Boards and is currently serving a second term on the Historical Society’s Board of Directors. She has a great interest in New Bern history and has provided walking tours for visiting tour groups. Nat has 3 children and 4 grandchildren.
Carol Vivian Bonner Becton is a native New Bernian, widow of the late Captain James E. Becton of the New Bern Police Department and mother of three, Javanete’ Skiba, Shade’ Shonekan. and Devin Becton. Carol Attends Clinton Chapel African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church where she serves in the teaching and preaching ministry. She is a member and Vice President of the Martin Luther King Jr. Outreach Ministry, and the Climbers Club of New Bern. She also serves as a Commissioner for the New Bern Housing Authority and on the Board of Directors of the New Bern-Craven County Public Library Regional Board. She also joined the first African American Greek Sorority, Alpha Kappa Alpha in 1979.
Carol attended New Bern City Schools and graduated from J. T. Barber High School in 1970 and went on to North Carolina Central University in Durham and received a BA degree in English Education. She received her Masters Degree in Educational Administration from East Carolina University in Greenville, NC. She also attended UPHBI and received Certification in Bible Study and continues her theological studies under the leadership of the AMEZ Conference. Carol was an educator in New Bern City, later Craven County Schools for over 34 years retiring as Principal.
She enjoys being a part of maintaining the legacy of the rich history of New Bern and being an active participant in preserving its rich history and sharing the story of our state’s “Colonial Capital”. She also enjoys volunteering for the New Bern Chamber of commerce on Wednesday mornings!
Susan Cook grew up in New Bern, attended Meredith College and graduated from University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with BS and MSLS degrees. She was a public librarian in Richmond, Va. and Bloomington, Indiana. In mid-career, she returned to UNC for a PhD in Library and Information Science. After serving on the faculty at the University of South Florida and Indiana University, she retired home to New Bern with her Yankee husband.
Bernard George is a retired city planner and local historian. He has a B.A. degree in Political Science from North Carolina Central University, has done graduate studies in Health Facilities Administration at Webster University in St. Louis, Missouri, and has completed an extensive course of study in Municipal Administration and Urban Planning at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Bernard has also earned membership in the American Institute of Certified Planners (AICP). Bernard is a native New Bernian and an avid historian/preservationist who traces his Craven County family roots back to the 17th Century. A product of the Civil Rights era, Bernard is passionate about community building and community empowerment. He has been engaged in community activism since his early high school and college days, and he continues that community involvement today as a NAACP life member and as a neighborhood association advisor and activist. He is a board member of the New Bern Historical Society, Tryon Palace African American Advisory Committee, the NC African American Heritage Commission, and several other boards and commissions. Bernard volunteers in numerous church, school and civic activities and is a performing artist, historical interpreter and Civil War re-enactor.
Breck Gibbs, DMD
A native of New Bern, Breck Gibbs is a graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and the University of Kentucky College of Dentistry. At UNC, Breck majored in American History and Rhetorical Communications. He continued his studies in dentistry in Lexington, KY. It was there he met his wife, Dr. Meridith Gibbs. After dental school, Breck successfully convinced his bride to return to his hometown and to work in their family dental practice, Gibbs Dentistry. Aside from being active in the Historical Society, Breck is active in working with the MERCI Clinic and First Presbyterian Church. His true passion is spending as much time as possible with his twin children, Maddox and Bates.
Linda Simmons Henry
Linda Simmons Henry is a New Bern native and former Director and Senior Archivist of the Library and Research Center at Saint Augustine’s College. She received her professional training in Library and Archival Management from North Carolina State University and North Carolina Central University with a special emphasis on documenting African American life in the State of North Carolina. Simmons-Henry serves as a consultant at the School of Library and Information Science at North Carolina Central University, Durham, North Carolina. She also served as a senior advisor to the major special collections at all the Historically Black Colleges in the state of North Carolina. She is a Certified Archivist, a member of the North Carolina African American Archives Group, the North Carolina Heritage Foundation, Inc. and the Society of North Carolina Archivists. She was appointed by Governor Easley to serve on the State Historical Advisory Board for the State of North Carolina in 2009. She is the president of the North Carolina African-American Archives Group.
Simmons-Henry was recently appointed by the American Board of Certified Archivists to a four-year term to serve as the consultant archivist to 20 Historically Black Colleges and Universities in North Carolina, South Carolina, and Virginia. Over the next four years, Simmons-Henry will serve as coordinator for the training and assessment of the historical records at each institution. During the fall of 2010, Simmons-Henry served as the project archivist at the School of Library and Information Science at North Carolina Central University, Durham, North Carolina for the first phase of this digital project. She also served as an advisor to the major special collections at many of the N.C. institutions.
She is the author of 1)The Heritage of Blacks in North Carolina; 2)The Legacy of Historical Black High Schools in North Carolina; 3) A Guide to African American Collections in North Carolina; 4) Culture Town: An Oral History of African Americans in Raleigh; 5) A Guide to Preserving Organizational and Institutional Records and the History of the Mid-Atlantic Region of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.
Simmons-Henry is married to Dr. Phillip N. Henry, they have one son Philip Monte Henry, and grandson, Philip N. Lawrence. She is retired and lives in New Bern, NC.
Carl C. Huddle, PE
Carl C. Huddle, PE is president of Trader Construction Company and Carolina Engineers, PA. Both companies are based in New Bern, NC where the Huddle families have lived since 1965. Carl has a BA degree from University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in economics and a BS degree from North Carolina State in civil engineering. Carl supports many local civic organizations and serves in various leadership roles. Current community service includes Board of Trustees Member, Arendell Parrott Academy, and Board Member of the Historical Society. Past community service included Junior Warden, Christ Episcopal Church. His local family roots and traditions, area participation and contributions, as well as business relationships and activities reinforce daily how important it is to increase the awareness of New Bern’s historical past. He is married to Kimberly, a native New Bernian, and has two children Campbell and Jack.
Chris S. Kelso is the son of a USMC lieutenant colonel. His family arrived in New Bern two days after Hurricane Hazel and never left. Growing up on the south side of the Neuse River near the location of Fort Lane he has had a lifelong interest in the cultural and economic histories of New Bern and surrounding areas. He is married to the former Patricia Menius, a lifetime New Bernian, and they are the parents of three adult children.
A graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with a Degree in Economics (Bachelor of Arts with Honors) and a member of the Phi Beta Kappa fraternity, he started his insurance career in 1981 after serving as a commissioned officer in the US Navy as a carrier-based Naval Aviator. After joining the family-owned insurance business, he was designated a Certified Insurance Counselor in 1983. In 1998 he merged his agency with The Insurance Center where he now serves as the senior insurance advisor. Chris has participated in many Historical Society activities including two roles as a Ghostwalk ghost.
Charles K. (Ken) McCotter, Jr.
Ken McCotter is a native New Bernian. He graduated from New Bern High School in 1964 and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1968 with a BS in Business and the UNC School of Law in 1971. Ken is a retired US Magistrate Judge, United States Courts, EDNC (1979-1995) and is currently in private practice in New Bern, NC, with an emphasis on civil litigation, mediation and arbitration. He has expertise in admiralty and maritime law.
Ken and his wife, Pat, have two daughters and four grandchildren. They love spending time with their family. Ken enjoys history and is past president of the Historical Society. He was a member of New Bern’s 300th Committee, is serving on the 300th Committee of Christ Episcopal Church, and is a member of the Tryon Palace Foundation, New Bern Preservation Foundation, New Bern Noon Rotary Club, Craven Community Foundation, and Swiss Bear Downtown Development Corporation. Ken enjoys hunting, fishing, and hiking.
Born in Doylestown, Pennsylvania, Jim Morrison graduated from Lehigh University, BS and MBA. He was in the Air Force for 4 years prior to joining a predecessor of what is now Bank of America in Richmond, Virginia. After 20 years there and in the Washington, DC area as a Senior Vice President & Division Executive, Operations and Technology, he left the bank and moved to the Outer Banks in 1993. There he volunteered for a number of civic and charitable organizations until moving to New Bern in 2004. In New Bern he has been active in civic organizations and charities as well, volunteering with the Historical Society and acting as co-chair of our Investment in History Campaign. He serves on the board of the Farmers Market and is a commissioner on the New Bern Historic Preservation Commission.
Kathy Morrison and her husband Jim were not born in New Bern, but got here as quickly as they could, to steal a line from Nelson McDaniel. Kathy spent 15 years as a teacher and administrator in Virginia, Maryland, and here in New Bern. Another 15 years were spent as a shopkeeper on the Outer Banks. She also has given her time volunteering for various other organizations, including 9 years as Board Member and 5 years as President of a small, non-profit community theater.
Susan Moffat Thomas
Susan Moffat Thomas, was Executive Director of Swiss Bear Downtown Development Corporation from 1985 to December, 2014. Under her leadership, Swiss Bear received numerous national and state awards. Susan provided the management and leadership of an award winning downtown New Bern revitalization effort that was recognized nationally as a Main Street success story. She received the Order of the Long Leaf Pine presented by the Governor, the Gertrude S. Carraway Award of Merit from the Historic Preservation Foundation of North Carolina, Special Recognition Award from the NC Board of Transportation NC Main Street Champion, New Bern Rotarian of the Year Award, and Civitan Citizen of the Year Award. She serves/served on numerous local and state organizations including the New Bern Historical Society. Originally from Michigan, she received a Bachelor of Arts from Christopher Newport University and has four adult children and nine grandchildren.
Before retiring to New Bern in 2006, Gerri and her husband Bill lived in western New Jersey, where they raised their son and daughter. Gerri worked in the business world for many years, was elected to her township school board in New Jersey, tutored adult literacy and continuing education at Rutgers University, and was certified by the state of New Jersey to handle municipal welfare. Her love of quilting eventually led to a job in that industry. She is currently the vice president of the Croatan Quilters Guild in Havelock and is part of the New Bern Fire Department’s CERT (Community Emergency Response Team). Gerri has been an active member of the New Bern Historical Society since 2006. She has helped with mailings, been a member of the Spring Homes and Garden Tour steering committee, co-chaired the ABC Sale (Attic, Basement, Closet), and now serves on the Board of Directors.
Patricia Urick (Patti) was born in Detroit, Michigan. She received her RN certification and worked as an emergency department supervisor for eight years. Following this experience she entered medical sales and stayed in that field for thirty years selling hi tech, innovative medical equipment for Nellcor, Valley Lab, Baxter Corp, open heart division, and US Surgical.
She moved to New Bern in July, 2004 and immediately became involved in many local volunteer activities. She served as the Historic District Residents Association (HDRA) President for 3 years, and participates in planning and support of New Bern Preservation Foundation activities. She has been recognized on two occasions for outstanding contributions to the Historical Society.
She enjoys boating, reading, cooking, and watching college football. Patti has been married to former FBI agent Philip for 34 years and resides in New Bern’s Historic District.
Emeritus Board Members