Jeffrey Bryan Head

May 22, 2023

Jeffrey Bryan Head of Charlotte, North Carolina, went to be with the Lord on May 22, 2023, at the age of 67, surrounded by his family.

Jeff was born on February 10, 1956 in Kinston, North Carolina to William Earl Head and Jewel Grady Head. He loved growing up in Eastern North Carolina with his brother Drue, aunts, uncles and cousins. He excelled at sports, winning Kinston High School's highest athletic honor: the O.L. Shackelford Award presented by Lou Holtz. However, his family is most proud of the stories his friends tell of him leading the way in building unity amidst the integration of the Kinston school districts in the 1960s. Jeff went on to attend the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill where he played football, or as he liked to joke, was on the football team.

Jeff met his wife, Nora Wall Merlini, at a wedding in Avalon, New Jersey when he asked her to dance. They married on September 17th, 1983 in Philadelphia. Although a Southern Baptist from North Carolina was an unexpected match with an Irish-Italian Catholic from Philadelphia, they beautifully modeled what it looks like to live out their wedding vows, falling four months shy of their 40th wedding anniversary.

Jeff had a 35-year career with Abbott Labs and was beloved by those who worked with him. For most of that career, he raised his family in Edmond, Oklahoma and constantly set a good example of prioritizing family over work. Weekends were filled with golf and coaching and encouraging his children in their sports; after an early-onset Parkinson's diagnosis, he turned to swimming, boxing, and the Voice Project choir to help mitigate symptoms. He was an active member of the First Baptist Church of Edmond, where he was in the choir and served as a Sunday school teacher. He was also a passionate supporter of the Boys Ranch Town and Oklahoma Baptist Homes for Children where he served as a mentor to young boys in need. Upon retiring in Charlotte, he enjoyed getting involved with First Baptist Church and the Rock Steady Boxing Group at the Jewish Community Center.

Jeff will be remembered for the way he courageously fought Parkinson's Disease for 22 years and was a shining example of having faith in God's plan for his life. He always knew this world was temporary and looked forward to being with his heavenly Father. His children will remember him for his humility, character and integrity, the way he tried to solve any problem with scripture, the John Wooden quotes he left around the house, how he never raised his voice, his love of telling 8-minute-long jokes with short punch lines, country-western and gospel sing-a-longs, and an obsession with the UNC Tar Heels that he passed on to them. He was a true gentleman, and his faith, family and friendships meant the world to him.

Jeff is survived by the love of his life, Nora, and their children Caroline Garcia (Kyle) of Atlanta, GA, Andrew Head (Lindsay) of New York, NY and Olivia Head of Charlotte, NC; his grandchildren McAndrew "Max" and Oliver Garcia of Atlanta, GA; his brother Drue Head (Mary) of Asheville, NC; his aunt Joyce Proctor of Goldsboro, NC; and 58 nieces and nephews. In the later years of his life, he enjoyed getting to know his daughter Amanda Hurst (Chris) of Waxhaw, NC and grandchildren Kara and Kina.

The family would like to thank Jeff's caregivers - Grace, Maureen and Kerry - who provided invaluable support and were a joy to have around the house.

A funeral service will be held at First Baptist Charlotte on Wednesday, May 31, 2023 at Noon (301 S. Davidson Street, Charlotte, NC 28202). In lieu of flowers, the family welcomes donations in Jeff Head's memory to the Oklahoma Baptist Homes for Children or The Michael J. Fox Foundation where they are funding breakthrough Parkinson's research.

Arrangements are in the care of Kenneth W. Poe Funeral & Cremation Service, 1321 Berkeley Ave., Charlotte, NC; 28204 (704) 641-7606. Online condolences can be shared at

Share your memories & condolences


  • Jimbo perry

    I was honored to know Jeff as we both grew up in Kinston. He was a role model and inspiration to all of us. I have just found out about his death and I’m so sorry. However, I am continue to be inspired as I have read his obituary. I know you miss your husband, dad, and granddad. Although we will miss our friend on this side of glory, his life will help encourage us to live for Jesus now.