Dr. Albert Purcell Cline Jr.

Saturday, April 14, 1928 - Friday, April 24, 2020

A Life Well Lived

Photo of Dr. Albert Purcell Cline Jr. - 1928-2020

On Friday, April 24, 2020 as the gentle sounds and beautiful sights of spring crept over the mountain land, as the dogwood trees painted the mountains with their creamy-white blooms, as the cardinals sang in the morning sunlight, and as a soft breeze brushed against the golden daffodils and the mountain azaleas, Dr. Albert Purcell Cline, Jr., age 92, peacefully departed this life from his beloved home for his journey into his Heavenly place of eternal rest.

Albert was born April 14, 1928 in the historic Biltmore Hospital in Asheville to the late Dr. Albert Purcell Cline, Sr. and the late Agnes Virginia Smith Cline.  Al was a most handsome, intelligent, and adventurous young boy who grew up in Canton knowing everyone and being known by everyone. His love for the mountains, his family heritage, and his great pride for his hometown of Canton was always held close to his heart. Albert attended Pennsylvania Avenue Elementary School which was just a stone’s throw away from his family’s home. In fact, Dr. Cline had the original school handbell that was heard ringing each morning to begin the day’s classes. He was a graduate of Canton High School where Al was an outstanding student and always a faithful friend to everyone. He was also a graduate of Baylor School in Chattanooga, Tennessee, which was a well-known private military and college preparatory school. His college education began at Duke University in Durham, NC where he received his undergraduate degree and was a member of Kappa Alpha Fraternity. Upon graduation, Albert was accepted to the University of North Carolina School of Dentistry in Chapel Hill, where he belonged to Xi Psi Phi professional dental fraternity and was proudly a member of the first graduating class of the UNC Dental School. After receiving his Doctor of Dental Surgery, he returned to his hometown of Canton to join his father’s dental practice beginning a career that spanned 47 dedicated years of active practice caring for the people in his community. Dr. Cline was a member of the American Dental Association, the North Carolina Dental Society, and the WNC Dental Society.

Education was indeed an important part of Al’s life but most importantly his greatest love was his family.  He met and fell in love with Beatrice “Bebe” Medford, a beautiful young lady from Waynesville,and together they began a blessed life together sharing 55 years of marriage.  On April 13, 1953, their son, Nick Purcell Cline was born bringing into their lives the greatest love, pride, and joy that could have ever been. The Cline home was filled with delightful sounds of Bebe’s piano music, Nick playing basketball in the driveway, and Al meticulously manicuring their perfect lawn.

Dr. Cline was a man of strong faith and a devoted member of Canton Central United Methodist Church.  He constantly gave back to his community and his civic service was an example for each of us to follow.  Al was a member of the Canton Lions Club, joining in 1955 and was the longest-serving Lion in Haywood County.  Dr. Cline was honored to be the recipient of the Lions Club Jack Stickley Award for dedicated outstanding humanitarian service.  He was a founding charter member of the Pisgah High School Activities Committee where he played a vital and active role in the tremendous success of this organization. Dr. Cline graciously gave of his time to help and assist the sports programs within the school system. His concern for the dental safety of the students participating in athletics was evident as he made and donated all protective dental mouth guards for the athletes. His faithful presence at PHS football, basketball, baseball, and softball games will be deeply missed and no one will ever take his place.  Dr. Cline’s great enthusiasm and support for the Pisgah Band and the PHS Band Boosters Organization was always apparent. As a member of the Town of Canton Recreation Commission, he constantly voiced his support for improvements for recreation programs for the citizens of Canton and he had also served on the Recreation Advisory Board for Haywood County. Having a vast and endless knowledge of the history of his hometown and the surrounding communities, Dr. Cline was an outstanding member of the Canton Historical Commission.

As we remember Dr. Cline, we honor his love of the mountains. It seemed as if he could identify every mountain, pinnacle, and ridge across Western North Carolina. He often shared with friends and family the delightful experience of being a guest at his mountain camp that sits among giant trees reaching for the clouds and alongside the rushing water of the Pigeon River. It was truly evident- Dr. Cline found solace among the mountains. He was a great fisherman, an experienced bear hunter and he had a special way with all animals, especially his dogs who were his close companions for many years.

We have lost a man who was greatly respected, a man who was a pillar in our community, a man who was devoted to his family, and a man who helped multitudes of people throughout his lifetime. Dr. Cline was a man who enjoyed the simple things in life. So as we awake to the magic of soft falling snow, as we feel the warm rain touch our face, as we witness the sunshine breaking from behind a cloud, and as we see the stars glitter from the dark night sky- let us think of Al and what he has meant to each of us.        

In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by his wife, Beatrice “Bebe” Medford Cline who passed away in 2005; his son, Nick P. Cline; and his sister, Virginia Cline Thornhill.

Surviving are his granddaughter, Kacy Cline Forbes and her husband, Jeremy of Arapahoe, NC;  great-granddaughters, Kayton, Ella Jay, and Erin; Pam Ledford of Canton, who was dearly loved just as a daughter; nephews, Edward Thornhill of Myrtle Beach, SC, and Houck Medford and his wife, K.B. of Blowing Rock, NC; nieces, Philan Medford of Waynesville, and Carolyn Thornhill Marth and Charlie of Waynesville, and their children Oliver and Eliza;  a special cousin, Jenabel Andrews of Madison, FL;  his devoted dental assistants, Dot Morris and Emma Jean Singleton; and also a multitude of friends.

Loving gratitude and deep appreciation is extended to Al’s care angels, Angie Wood, Alma Hord, and Mary Arrington who were blessings to him each day.

To honor and celebrate the life of Dr. Albert Cline, Jr. a drive through Processional Tribute will be held at Pisgah High School on Saturday, May 2, 2020 from 2:00 until 4:00 pm. Serving as pallbearers will be Dr. Ernest Stines, Dr. Robert Harpe, Dr. Brad Morgan, Matt Coman, Eddie Morgan, David Lee Henson, Sam Burrus, and Kim Fortney.  A private family interment will be held at Bon-A-Venture Cemetery, Old Clyde Road with Pastor Paul Brown officiating.

Memorials may be made in Dr. Cline’s memory to Canton Central United Methodist Church, Sound System Fund, 34 Church Street, Canton, NC 28716 or Pisgah Athletic Boosters, 1 Black Bear Drive, Canton, NC 28716.

Crawford / Ray Funeral Home and Cremation Service is honored to be caring for the family of Dr. Cline.

Doctor Albert Cline Jr

Condolences from family and friends

Well, too many times my heart has been broken this weekend. I am so sorry that Al's long and fruitful life has been closed. My thoughts and prayers go out to you Pam, his grandchildren, and niece Carolyn Marth. You are all in my thoughts and prayers.
Juanita Dixon
My prayers go out to the family. Dr. Cline has been a friend of my family for many years. Canton has certainly lost a good man. He and his Dad were our dentist for many years and he was always willing to help our family in any way he could.
Anne Bramlett Mathews
So very sad to hear of Dr Cline’s passing. I have many memories going to him as my dentist. Condolences to all.
Becky Trantham
What a guy.He cared so much for other people and was really a Pisgah Bear through and through.He helped me personally through more than one problem.Always a smile.I'll really miss him but have some great memories.Danny Shook .
Danny Shook
I loved seeing you at church. What an incredible inspiration you were and will remain.❤️
Chris Ray
He was one of my favorite black bear customers! Praying for the family!
Shannon Davis
So sorry to hear of Dr. Cline's passing. He will have many friends and his son to greet him in heaven
Bet Levine
Many memories with my Dr Albert. Taught me so much being my first job in Dentistry. Last time I saw him, he was thrilled that after 45 years, dentistry is still my passion. You were a great man, Dr Al, and I will always remember the start you gave me in life. Thanks for the memories.
Marcia Grogan Taylor
I will miss seeing him out. He was always sweet to me as a child on. He passed the same day as my mother. Mom and Dad will welcome him as well as Nick. My thoughts and prayers are with your dear family.
Lisa Devlin Patten
Carolyn & Pam, My thoughts are with you both. Im very sorry for your loss. May God's peace surround you.
Jamye Sheppard
Our thoughts & prayers to the family & Pam. So sad to hear this! He was our neighbor & dentist for several years. He was such a kind man. He will be truly missed. As my son use to say “Docky Cline” Rest In Peace!
Doug, Louanna, Brook & Wesley King
Dr. Cline has been one of our family's biggest supporters for 40 plus years, and no one has meant more to the Pisgah High school community than he has. I will remember fondly how he treated me, and I know there are so many lives that are indeed more fulfilled because he was there.
Chad Upton
Grateful Doc Cline was a part of our Canton community, how blessed we were to have know him. He ran his race well as a servant for the Lord and left a powerful legacy. Praying for God's comfort for your family. John Plemmons and Tom, Travis and Thomas Tatham
Travis P. Tatham
So sorry . I had worked for Dr Cline as his assistant in 1977-1979 . Loved seeing him at ballgames. Praying for you all.
Sheila Shope. King
What a special man! I have known Doc Cline since I was 4 years old. He was my neighbor for a while and my dentist. Nick and I were good friends growing up and I spent many a good time at their home. As I worked with the Town of Canton he was my biggest supporter. I could always count on him for words of wisdom. We shared a great passion for our little town. I will miss him terribly but I know that Bebe and Nick were waiting for him to arrive - what a reunion! God speed Dr. Cline.
Carole Suttenfield Edwards
DDS, you will ever have our love and respect. Miss you already.
Dean and Karen Cook
He was a true friend and was loved by all. He will be missed.
Fred "Jay" Ferguson
Sorry for your loss keep looking unto the hills will be praying for the family may God bless you all
Jean Murrell
Kacy and family, sorry for your loss. I am thankful you have kept up your visits and love for Daddy Al. Glad your children will remember him and their visits to see him. Love you. If you need MiMi and Pop Pop, give us a call.
Gloria Tyndall
Dr. Cline was like a father to Pam and me. He was the first person to call me when my dad passed away. He was one of the most positive people I've ever known. When Julie and I married and as our family grew, Al and Bebe just loved them and made them part of their extended Forest Hill Drive family. It seems like Pam and I were always over at the Cline house. The path between our houses was always known as "highway 10-12." I am so thankful that Pam was willing and able to take care of Dr. Cline during the last years of his life. I will always be grateful to Al for all the wise counsel he gave me over the years. During my 33 year career, Al always wanted to talk about the music my high school and middle school bands were playing, what contests we went to, and how we did. He was a huge supporter of the band, athletics, and many other groups at Canton and Pisgah High Schools. As most of us realize, the way Al Cline lived his life spoke volumes about his integrity and love of people. We have lost a truly great man and a pillar of the community.
Jerry Ledford
Our prayers and condolences to Doc Cline’s family. The Canton Community has lost a great and special man. He truly touched so many lives through the years. We are fortunate to have known him. He has been such a blessing to our family.
David and Jill Pressley
I am going to miss my friend Doc Cline. He was as fine a man as I have ever known. You all have my prayers and sympathy .
Mike Green
Dr. Cline is one of the finest men that will ever walk this earth. He was my second Dad and my home away from home during my days in Canton I love you Dr. Cline and may you rest in peace for a journey well traveled here on earth!
Steve Milner
A large part of Pisgah High School’s heritage and culture has passed. Dr. Cline was an ardent supporter of the school but more importantly a supporter of all our students. I can’t remember a time that he wasn’t there to show support in good times and bad. He has been a valuable resource to so many of us who can never be replaced. Rest In Peace and thank you from Bears past, present, and future!
Danny Miller
So sorry for your loss love and prayers for family and Pam. I did Al and Bebe’s hair for years and enjoyed them very much.Sandi’s Salon.
Sandi Mathews
Dr. Cline was a special man and my family enjoyed having him & Pam down for Thanksgiving here in SC a few times. My kids had much respect for him as did everyone he met. I enjoyed living beside him & Bebe for 8 years. I have fond memories of evenings spent on their back porch playing with their dogs Happy & Chesnut. Pam, may the Lord comfort you during this time of loss. I’m so glad he had you to take care of him.
Laura Frederick
It was such a blessing to call you my friend. I will always remember you telling me when it snowed, that you would be glad to give me a ride to work and back. it was always a pleasure to serve you breakfast at skeeters and to see you come into food lion. rest easy my friend and know that you will be missed
Jean Bumgarner
My hometown of Canton will have to make an emotional adjustment with Dr. Al Cline's passing. He was the all around supporter of the community in so many ways as has been noted in his so well-written obituary, which captured Al's selfless generosity and caring. I remember so well getting to know him when Nick was one of my campers when I worked at Camp Hope in the early sixties. That friendship with Al continued and every time I was was back in Canton and ran into him, he was always so gracious and full of energy. I always enjoyed our great conversations, and I always held him in very high esteem.He will be missed. RIP, my good friend!
Richard Hurley
We knew Al and Bebe through our beloved neighbor on Central Street, Waynesville, Dr. Nick Medford. We send our love and condolences to all of the family. We count ourselves blessed to have know him.
David and Renee Teague
My heartfelt condolences to Dr Cline's family. This is a beautiful tribute to a great man. He is so loved and thought of in our community and always will be. RIP Dr Cline, time to listen to that piano music and basketball bouncing again in that beautiful garden in the sky.
Cindy Dixon-Owen
My thoughts and prayers go out to your family. Dr. Albert was a fine and wonderful man. He was my dentist for over 30 years and called on the phone on Christmas Eve when I was a child saying he was Santa Claus. I have so many great memories of him and he helped so many people. I will truly miss him. May God comfort you at this time.
Gregg Stamey
Doc Cline was always welcoming to everyone that ever attended a Pisgah game. We met him through sports and he treated or sons as his own. But he was proud of every kid who ever played for Pisgah. A great mentor and leader that assisted us with the Pisgah Booster club in many ways for so many years. He will be greatly missed and his legend will continue to live in our hearts. Prayers for the Family and all that knew him.
Cyndi and Charles Blankenship
Dr. Cline was my Dentist for many years. In addition to taking excellent care of my teeth, he always took time to offer me encouragement as a student/athlete and later as a husband/father. It was always a pleasure to speak to him at games or at the Bear Cafe. Indeed his was "a life well lived"! Our condolences!
Doug Buchanan
Carolyn, Edward, Pam, Kacy, Jenabel and all of Dr. Cline’s family and friends, My sympathy to each of you in Dr. Cline’s death. I agree with Coach Danny Shook – “what a guy!” Dr. Cline was always positive and demonstrated a steadfast love of, and devotion to, his family, friends and community – through good times and bad. Our families have shared a collective friendship, begun as neighbors, that has continued and spanned three generations. That gives me a great sense of heritage, joy and gratitude. And so I say “thanks Dr. Cline for your role in that!” Upon going through my Aunt Virginia’s papers last fall, I came across this Martin Luther quote. The fact that it was handwritten gave it even more meaning for me. “Our Lord has written the promise of resurrection not in books alone, but in every leaf of spring.” May this promise comfort and bring hope to each one of us!
Joe Trostel
Al was truly a friend to everyone. He and Bebe were so very kind to me when I moved to Canton in 1987. We enjoyed going to Central church together and Al was a huge asset to me through his service on the First Citizens Bank board of directors. My thoughts and prayers are with the family during this difficult time. He will indeed be missed.
Bob Roberts
We extend our sympathy to the family. Al was a wonderful family man, a dedicated citizen of Haywood Co., fine dentist and pretty good bear hunter. He will be missed.
Barry and Barbara Pate
Dr. Cline played more of a part in my life than most people realize. He was a great friend and supporter to me and my family as he was to so many. The occasion that most people don’t know about was that he made a phone call to his friend in Clinton, SC to get the football coach to take a look at three Pisgah football players. That phone call led to a tryout and a scholarship to Presbyterian College. That phone call set the direction of my life. Things like that are what he did because he cared about people. We will miss you but with great, great memories.
Stephen Churm
Dr. Cline was my buddy. I always loved seeing him. He will be truly missed.
Van and Debbie Allen