Board of Directors & Staff
Joe Hunt, 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.
Kathy Morrison, First Vice-President
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 small business owner 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.
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.
Chris Kelso, Secretary
Chris 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 served as the senior insurance advisor before retiring in 2018. Chris has participated in many Historical Society activities including two roles as a Ghostwalk spirit.
Jim Morrison, Treasurer
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 was a commissioner on the New Bern Historic Preservation Commission.
James M. Hodges, 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 and enjoying several years of international travel, 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 and the 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 and chicken salad.
Claudia Houston, Historian
Claudia Houston was born and raised in New York, first residing on Long Island, and later, in the Hudson Valley area. She met her husband, Bill Houston, at the State University of New Paltz where she received a degree in history and elementary education. They have been married for over forty four years. Claudia worked in child welfare for over 33 years while employed by her local County Department of Social Services. She also received a Masters Degree in Public Administration from Pace University. Claudia and Bill have resided in New Bern for eleven years, and joined the NBHS immediately after attending their first Ghostwalk. Claudia loves history, genealogy, traveling and scrapbooking. She was fascinated with the New Bern Battlefield (and admits she never heard of it until she moved here) and found out through her genealogical searches, that six relatives fought at the Battle of New Bern. She has been on the Publicity committee for many years, does research, writes articles and manages the NBHS Facebook page. She has been the President of Coastal Women’s Forum, President of New Bern Business Referral Network, and is a member of the Craven County Genealogical Society, among other organizations. She is the mother of three who are geographically located across the country, and has three grandsons.
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.
Joseph Anderson retired from Verizon Communications after holding management positions in information technology, human resources and external affairs. He served as the corporation’s spokesperson on diversity issues and was responsible for oversight of equal employment opportunities across all business units. Mr. Anderson served as VP of Quality and Supplier Diversity for the procurement department and served on a number of boards of directors including the United Negro College Fund (UNCF), Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC). Since relocating to New Bern with his wife Rachel, he has been involved with the community by serving as a commissioner on the New Bern Housing Authority and the Historic Preservation Commission. Joe studied communications at Emerson College and holds a certificate in management from Columbia University and a certificate in EEO studies from Cornell University.
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. 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 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 received a BA degree in English Education from North Carolina Central University in Durham and her Masters Degree in Educational Administration from East Carolina University. Carol was an educator in New Bern City, later Craven County Schools for over 34 years retiring as a 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.
Clayton received his JD from the Wake Forest University School of Law and an MBA from the Wake Forest University School of Business. After practicing in Elizabeth City for seven years, he relocated to New Bern with his family in 2010 to become a partner at The Law Offices of Oliver & Cheek. A member of the NC Bar Association and American Bar Association, Clayton has been recognized by Super Lawyers. His focuses are bankruptcy, business law, contracts, and estate planning. In addition to serving on the Historical Society board, Clayton is the New Bern Rotary Club President-Elect and chairs the First Presbyterian Church Foundation. He and his wife Jody have three daughters.
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.
Lynne Harakal, originally from Bethlehem, PA, is a graduate of Syracuse University, Newhouse School of Public Communications. Lynne moved to New Bern in 2004 and in 2008 joined the New Bern Historical Society as its Executive Director and continued to serve in that role until 2016 when she became the Executive Director of Swiss Bear, Inc. In 2017 she joined the Board of the Historical Society. She also serves on the Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors, the downtown New Bern Municipal Services District (MSD) board, and is a trustee for Centenary United Methodist Church. She is also past president of Community Christian Fellowship (CCF). Lynne is married to Mark Harakal and has two grown daughters, Nika and Kyra.
Cheryl was born in Washington, DC and raised in Fairfax Country, VA. She attended Old Dominion University and University of South Florida, graduating from the University of Florida. She began teaching marketing in St. Petersburg, FL, then spent 28 years back in Fairfax County teaching marketing, fashion merchandising, and sports marketing. She also obtained her real estate license and taught principles of real estate at the college level. In 2006 Cheryl and her husband John retired to beautiful New Bern, where they are active in the Elks BPOE Lodge 764, the Knights of Columbus Yard Sale, and the New Bern Historical Society, all causes they believe in. They have three grown children and two grandchildren. Cheryl joined the Historical Society board in 2018.
Charles K. (Ken) McCotter, Jr.
Ken 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.
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.
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, and tutored adult literacy. From the School of Continuing Education at Rutgers University, NJ was certified Director of Municipal Welfare. Her love of quilting eventually led to a job in that industry. She is Past Vice President of the Croatan Quilters Guild in Havelock and is active in the New Bern Fire Department’s CERT (Community Emergency Response Team). Gerri is an active member and volunteer with the New Bern Historical Society since 2006. She co-chairs the ABC Sale, has been on the Spring Homes and Gardens Tour steering committee and has served on various other committees.
Born in Wildwood, N.J. as the son of a commercial fisherman, Walt grew up in Fort Pierce, Florida. Having gone to work for a major SE grocery chain at 15, his succession of promotions created 13 moves in 25 years. Falling in love with Jacksonville, FL along the way, he and his wife Cindy moved there from the Tampa area and joined a food broker company with two other partners, where he remained until he retired in 2013. Along the way, he committed to his wife they would move to the ENC area to support her aging parents. After at least 15 or more trips visiting from Swansboro to Elizabeth City, they constantly ended up looking in the New Bern area and are very happy they did. It is now their favorite place; they enjoy having friends and family visit to show them our great town. Walt and Cindy are both active in the New Bern Historical Society and enjoy golf, fishing and just “helping neighbors”.
Karen was delighted to join the board of directors in July 2018. Karen and her husband Bob were scheduled to move to New Bern in 1988 but life took a U-turn and they showed up 20 years later. They have two daughters, a son-in-law and a grandson. Karen first started volunteering in the front office five years ago, won the New Volunteer Award in 2016 — and the rest is History!
Mickey Miller, Executive Director
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After 18 moves in 30 years with the military, Mickey and Jon Miller were thrilled to call New Bern “home at last” in 2011. Mickey is a retired attorney and Army colonel who spent most of her service in the Army JAG Corps. Her most recent position was as the program manager for the Choice Neighborhoods planning initiative, a community revitalization program for New Bern’s greater Five Points community. Mickey is active with the Breakfast Rotary Club and Master Gardener Volunteer Association, has been a volunteer with the New Bern Historical Society, Historic Downtown Residents’ Association, and Chamber of Commerce; and has served as a commissioner on New Bern’s Historic Preservation Commission.
Karen Bixler, Assistant to the Director
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Sue Dunn, Administrative Assistant
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