Obituary for Dwight Fickling (1929-2021) – Greensboro, NC

Whimsy, Dwight Russell

March 18, 1929 – April 15, 2021

Dwight Russell Fickling of Greensboro, NC, died at home on April 15, 2021.

Dwight was born in Badin, NC, on March 18, 1929, the only child to Russell A. Fickling and Izzie G. Fickling of Badin, NC

He has taught in Badin, NC public schools and Catawba College, Appalachian State University, Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, and School of Medical Technology-Cone Hospital.

Dwight joined the US Navy for three years in 1948, but was fond of saying that he served “four years on a three-year recruitment” with one year added because of the outbreak of hostilities in Korea. After basic training and the Hospital Corps School in San Diego, California, his service stations were: US Naval Hospital, Camp Lejeune, NC, and what was then known as the US Army Chemical Corps in what was then Camp Detrick, Frederick, Maryland.

Dwight also “calculated” that he had three “careers”, including the use of education and / or training and the like: choir director and educational staff at Pageland Baptist Church in Pageland, SC, while a seminary student and later minister of the Baptist campus (at East Carolina University, then UNC-G); Public school teacher (in Belmont, NC, and after working on campus as a geoscience teacher at Kiser Jr. High in Greensboro); and then, after an interest aroused during his Navy service, medical technician (at what was then Roche Biomedical Laboratories in Burlington, NC).

Returning home from the Navy to finish college at Catawba, he met his future wife, Frances Kerley. They married in March 1954 and began a long and eventful partnership while raising a daughter and a son. They made lifelong friends during the seminar days and added “summer kids” while leading college student summer mission teams for the Baptist State Convention while Dwight was campus minister. When they moved to Greensboro in 1967, they joined the First Baptist Church and quickly became family members in many church activities.

As a member of the FBCGSO and other past churches, Dwight has taught / led numerous Bible studies and served on various committees. A ministry of particular affinity for him is the Piedmont International Fellowship – a ministry for, with, and for undergraduate and graduate students from abroad studying in the greater Greensboro area.

For several years Dwight’s varied interests kept him engaged in activities that were often not quite a hobby. He was a newsletter editor for a local gem and mineral club. He kept bees on two different lots until he learned he was allergic to their stings. He worked on crossword puzzles to keep his mind sharp until his last days. He took pride in finding typos or poor grammar in headlines and stories. and enjoyed a good laugh when phonetic spellings in subtitles on television spawned a new “word”.

Dwight was preceded in death by his parents and in-laws, Mack L. Kerley and Myra Benfield Kerley of Stony Point, NC. He leaves behind his wife of 67, Frances; Daughter Amy L. Fickling of Germantown, Maryland; Son Timothy D. Fickling and wife Susan of Ahwahnee, California; Brother-in-law Benny M. Kerley and wife Dorothy of Stony Point, NC; Grandson James Fickling in Ohio and Eddie, Bekah, Lizah, and Jessah Fickling in California; Nephews Wesley Kerley and Mrs. Sharon in North Charleston, SC, and Jon Kerley and Mrs. Banet in Stony Point, NC Cousins, South Carolina include those in his mother’s family and those descended from his father’s 10 siblings. A cohort of “summer children” and their children and grandchildren and the children and grandchildren of lifelong friends are also considered family.

The family will receive friends on Thursday, April 22, 2021, from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. The funeral will take place on Friday, April 23, 2021 at 2 p.m. at Fairview Cemetery, 1425 E. West Main Street, Albemarle, NC. A memorial service will be held at the First Baptist Church in Greensboro at a later date.

For those who would like to honor Dwight by supporting a ministry that is close to their heart, the family proposes Youth Missions at First Baptist Church, 1000 West Friendly Avenue, Greensboro, NC 27401, and Piedmont International Fellowship, 205 North Westgate Drive, Greensboro, NC 27407 in front.

Online reminders can be shared at

Published by Greensboro News & Record on April 21, 2021.

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