The Pine Needle
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Pembroke loses 3 in one day

Pembroke loses 3 in one day

By Sara Owen, Managing Editor

Three lives heavily involved in the town of Pembroke, N.C. and the University of North Carolina at Pembroke, were lost on April 8. Pembroke’s mayor Milton Hunt, UNCP student Doris Paul and UNCP alumnus Kevin Berotte passed away on the same day.

Mayor Hunt

Mayor Hunt

The Robesonian newspaper reported on April 9 that the “longtime Pembroke mayor” passed away “after a long struggle with complications stemming from heart surgery.” It also reportedMayor Hunt, 71, passed away after dealing with years of heart problems. He had open heart surgery in September 2014.

that a new mayor will not be appointed until it is considered an “appropriate” time by the town council.

Councilman Channing Jones has been serving as mayor pro tem while Mayor Hunt was hospitalized after his surgery.

Often affectionately referred to as ‘Mousy Ray,’ he never met a stranger, and he was very much a tribal/town historian who always had a story to tell, a joke to crack or a 

question to ask,” according to his obituary.“He was devoted to the community he lived in his entire life, and was the kind of leader, neighbor and friend any person would benefit from knowing.

The visitation was on April 12 from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. at Mount Airy Baptist Church.

The funeral was on April 13 at 2 p.m. at the same location.

UNCP student


Paul, 21, passed away after a car accident that took place on April 7.

The Robesonian reported that the accident occurred at around 6 p.m. on Smith Mill Road.

“Paul's vehicle crossed the center-line, ran off the road to the left and struck a mailbox then a tree stump before overturning several times. Paul was not wearing a seat belt,” the newspaper reported in an article on April 10.

“Although cut short, Doris' life was a testimony to what one willing soul can do for others. As a teenager she dedicated her summers to the youth at Camp Rockfish by serving as a counselor and head lifeguard. She was a lifetime member of Chestnut Street United Methodist Church. Doris earned recognition for her years in the Girl Scouts by receiving the Girl Scout Silver Award, the organization's highest honor,” according to her obituary.

Paul was a Biology major at UNCP who, according to her obituary, dreamed of being a dentist after graduation.

She was described as a giving person in her obituary.

“Her final, and maybe her greatest, act of kindness was the donation of her organs to six others so that they might see weddings and sunsets and graduations in the days ahead,” the obituary said.

A memorial was held at 6 p.m. on April 13 at Chestnut Street United Methodist Church. The family received friends and family following the service at Chestnut Street UMC Asbury Fellowship Hall.

“In lieu of flowers, a scholarship fund has been established in hopes of sending more children to Camp Rockfish,” according to The Robesonian.

An e-mail was sent out to the UNCP campus community on April 12 to inform students, faculty and staff of the student’s passing and included the link to the obituary on The Robesonian’s website.

UNCP alumnus


UNCP alumnus Berotte, 32, passed away from natural causes. A friend said Berotte had a heart condition and asthma and that he most likely died in his sleep. He was found in his apartment

Berotte was an employee at the Wing Company in Pembroke, N.C., a alumni of Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia Eta Beta Chapter,  as well as the tumble, cheer and dance coach at Carolina Fierce Gems Cheer and Dance. Berotte practiced cheer with them on Pembroke Pointe on the morning of April 8 by maintenance workers.

A GoFundMe page was created by James Barret to help pay for Berotte’s funeral costs. As of April 14, more than $2,000 had been raised. The goal set was $7,500.

“He always gave 110 percent in everything he did, whether it was from doing his duties at the Wing Company or helping teach his girls at the cheer gym.  He never let anyone down and always put a smile on everyone’s face.

Being a coach and a member of the Phi Mu Alphas, he had a love for music like no other. There's so much that can be said about the type of man Kevin was,” the GoFundMe page said.

Wing Co. honored Berotte by putting a message on the marquee outside the restaurant at 707 W. 3rd St. in Pembroke, N.C. that said “Rest in peace Kevin Berotte you will be missed.”

A Karaoke Night was also held in Berotte’s honor on April 11 at 9 p.m. Berotte was known as a lover of singing and music.

On April 9 Wing Co. posted that their family had “suffered a devastating loss of a great friend, outstanding member of our community and a respected and loved co-worker.”

The post also had an advertisement about the Karaoke Night attached, which included a picture of Berotte.

A viewing is scheduled for April 17 from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. at Swinson Funeral Home at 208 E. Blount St. in Kinston, N.C.

The funeral will be at 12 p.m. on April 18 at the Church of Faith and Deliverance at 655 Sussex Drive in Kinston, N.C.

Mayor Milton Hunt, Doris Paul & Kevin Berotte.