OLDE KINSTON GAZETTE ARCHIVES: Suicide in Kinston; Former mayor takes his own life

OLDE KINSTON GAZETTE ARCHIVES: Suicide in Kinston; Former mayor takes his own life

Republished: Olde Kinston Gazette; August 1998 (from a Kinston Daily Free Press report on Nov. 13, 1934)
Retyped by Gracie Herring, Neuse News Intern

Publisher’s Note: Last week we published “Mayor’s unprecedented attempt to clean up Sugar Hill ‘Vice District’ failed”. As a follow up, here’s Mayor Happer’s obituary, which came a little more than a decade after his only term in office.

Last rites for M.M. Happer To Be Conducted At Home - End Came On Birthday - Was Popular Mayor

The funeral of Mills M. Happer, 60, mayor of Kinston from 1921 to 1923 will be held from his home, Independent Street and Peyton Avenue, at 3 o’clock this afternoon. Burial will be in Maplewood cemetery. Rev. Dr. Bartholemew Huske, rector of St. Mary’s Episcopal Church, will officiate.

The well-known former chief burgess ended his life early yesterday by shooting himself through the head while seated in a chair at the offices of Hines Bros.’ Lumber Co., where he had been employed as a bookkeeper more than 30-years. His death came on his birthday. He died instantaneously. The office was vacant except for himself.

Mr. Happer was a popular Mayor. He was highly regarded. He was a man of fine qualities.

He was born at Norfolk, Va.

Before his death Mr. Happer had written letters to several persons, including his children. Spread before him when he died were the letters and instructions to the finder of his body.

The cause of death of the act presumably was ill health. Mr. Happer had been in failing health for some years, it was stated.

He apparently had planned the act some days. Several days passed between the beginning one of the letters and the end, it was said.

Surviving are a widow, four children, Mills Happer, Jr., and Charles Happer, both of Kinston, Mrs. F.E. Harper of Freeport, L.I., and Basil Happer of Roosevelt, L.I., five brothers, W.W. Happer of Durham; R.W.B. Happer of Columbus, O.; Harry Happer, address uncertain; Carl Happer of Birmingham, Ala: and George Happer of Shanghai, CHina, and a sister, Mrs. Minnie Pruden of Washington, D.C.

Active pallbearers will be Henry  Riley of Philadelphia; S. Phil Hines, Willis Hines, B.E. Dale, Claude Chamberlain, Clyde Dunn, Allen Knott, and C.W. Payne. Honorary pallbearers will be P.S.B. Harper, E.K. Hassell, Grover Cox, S.L. Stough, J.C. Hood S.H. Malone, J. Stadeim, R.F. Churchill, J.T. Heath, K.F. Foscue, J.F. LaRoque, Harvey Hines, Oscar Greene, T.A. Mitchell, K. Denmark, Sr., Mack Ellis, J.T. and George Skinner, Sam Pate, J.L. Stevenson, Thornton Hood, Cary House, Hubert Coward, FT. Baynor, K.R. Tunstall, Jesse G. Brown, K.W. Hammond, E.G. Barrett, E.V. Webb, L.R. Worthington, George Jordan, J.F. West, T.M. Wooten, Clarence Jackson, John Arnold, J.O. Long, T.H. Faulkner, H.L. Dupree, Lonnie Buck, M.C. Stroud, A.D. Hobgood, J.M. Quinn, J.O. Miller, P.A. Hooker, J.B. McCullen, Harry Weyher, John Harvey, R.P. Moss, George Sugg, Billie Burke, Jack Palmer, T.A. Knott, George Knott, E.R. Caroon and John Weyher.

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