Local News

Small Town of Sharpsburg Dealing With Grief

Posted July 18, 1997 12:00 a.m. EDT

— A tiny North Carolina community has been hit by a huge tragedy. The violent death of Sharpsburg's Police Chief has delivered a punch the town of 1,800 hasn't often felt before.

While there is a sense of relief because the suspected killer of Chief Wayne Hathaway and Gloria Nicholson has been caught, but grief looms even larger.

The town with only one stop-light now has no police chief. Hathaway died doing the job he was hired to do nearly 25 years ago. Former Sharpsburg Mayor J.D. Barkley remembers that Hathaway wanted to stay with the force until he retired.

The town is in mourning and is trying to cope with its loss. Citizens say their final memories of Hathaway are good ones. Police Commissioner Peggy Joyner says he left the office with a smile on his face.

The suspect, Abner Nicholson, faces two murder charges. His other victim Tuesday was his own wife, Gloria. Hathaway was responding to a domestic violence call from her when he, too, was killed.

Memorial funds have been established at the same bank for both victims. You can send donations to both the Wayne Hathaway Memorial Fund and the Gloria Nicholson Memorial Fund in care ofTriangle Bank, P.O. Box 123, Sharpsburg, NC, 27878.

Donated money will be used for the benefit of the victims' children. Hathaway was a divorced father of one son. Gloria Nicholson had two young children.

Photographer:Mark Copeland