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By Word & Example

WOMEN WHO GRACED THE EPISCOPAL CHURCH
IN NORTH CAROLINA, 1817-2017

A Bicentennial Project of the Episcopal Church Women

Guidelines for Submitting a “BY WORD & EXAMPLE” Sketch

Saturday
Jul212018

GERTRUDE SPRAGUE CARRAWAY

August 6, 1896 – May 7, 1993

by Nelson McDaniel, Christ Episcopal Church, New Bern, NC, 2016

Gertrude Sprague CarrawayMiss Gertrude Sprague Carraway was born in New Bern, North Carolina, in the same house where she died, yet she was a woman who was always on the move. Born at a time when women in America could not vote and were often expected to follow assigned roles, she did not wait for movements to create her opportunities; she was a movement.

Miss Gertrude had a lifelong devotion to Christ Church in New Bern and wrote its most complete history, Crown of Life. She graduated from Woman’s College, today UNC-Greensboro, and attended Columbia University for graduate studies. First a teacher, it was as a school newspaper advisor that her talents in journalism quickly appeared. Along with newspaper work in Smithfield and New Bern, she wrote hundreds of articles and tracts, as well as several noted books. Her love of both the Word and the word, and her talents in elocution and writing, became important in her many leadership roles.

Early on as a freelance journalist Miss Gertrude often used her initials in bylines. Admirers of her work were sometimes surprised that the writer was a woman. A woman she was – one who both figuratively and literally marched with resolute purpose. While she may not have moved mountains (as far as we know), she and a group of others, mostly women, did move a highway and a bridge.

That challenge came as Miss Gertrude and other remarkable leaders sought to restore and rebuild Tryon Palace in New Bern. Begun in the 1920s, these efforts slowed during the Depression and World War II. During that war, Miss Gertrude received twelve awards for patriotic service on the home front. Following the war, she fought to create a site in New Bern that would provide the opportunity to teach both North Carolina and American history. The challenges were great, but Miss Gertrude and her colleagues proved greater. She was the first Secretary of the Tryon Palace Commission (1945-56), then was administrator of the restored site (1956-71), where the research library and garden carry her name.

Miss Gertrude joined the Daughters of the American Revolution in 1926 and assumed many leadership roles at the state and national level, including President General from 1953 to 1956. In that capacity, she is credited with persuading President Dwight D. Eisenhower to proclaim Constitution Week each year. Eisenhower was one of several Presidents who benefitted from her advice. And successive North Carolina governors appointed her to over twelve positions, including the Executive Board of the State Department of Archives and History, an appointment that lasted from 1942 until her death. In that capacity, she was instrumental in creating the state’s highway marker program. With such memberships, honorary degrees, publication titles and accolades her influence was wide.

Unfailingly polite, Miss Gertrude would greet everyone on the street, but seldom stop, unless for a purpose. Gossip and idle talk were not part of the plan. Action was. Always on a mission, aided by many, well done, thou good and faithful servant.

Tuesday
Jul172018

JEANETTE GODFREY WHITE

January 26, 1910 – August 4, 2005

By Julia White Nolan & Irma Crowell, All Saints’ Episcopal Church, Hamlet, NC, 2014

Jeanette Godfrey WhiteJeanette Godfrey White was a member of All Saints’ Episcopal Church in Hamlet, North Carolina, for 65 years, but her early church years were spent at St. John’s Episcopal Church in Florence, South Carolina, where her parents settled in 1918. In the close-knit and devoted Godfrey family, Jeanette was the eldest of eight children. Consequently, she grew up taking care of her many brothers and sisters. She was an excellent homemaker and enjoyed cooking and tending her flowers into her 90s.

Jeanette attended Florence schools and worked as assistant to the County Court stenographer until her marriage to Paul White in 1933. Paul was employed as a locomotive engineer on the Coastline Railroad. In 1940 he and Jeanette and their two children, ages five and one and a half, left Florence and moved to Hamlet, where the Seaboard Railroad was hiring machinists. During the 1950s Jeanette worked at Belk’s Store as a sales clerk.

In Hamlet Jeanette found a new home at All Saints’. The congregation was especially dear to her during family crises – the extended hospitalization of her daughter after a car accident in 1959; the serious head injury of her son in 1959 in the same month as the death of her mother; the death of her son in 1982; and the death of her husband in 1986. She had occasional problems due to high blood pressure to include open-heart surgery at the age of 90. The following year she left her home of 63 years to enter a retirement/nursing center near her daughter.

Jeanette was a faithful member of All Saints’ prayer group which met on Wednesday afternoon to pray for the sick and people in need. She was an active member of the Episcopal Church Women (ECW) and helped and took part in the many activities.

The ECW sent birthday cards and money to the children at Thompson Children’s Home in Matthews. They would adopt a cabin and help a child in that particular cabin. When they made their annual trip to the beach they stopped at All Saints’ and the ECW gave them lunch and sent them on the way with snacks for the beach stay. Jeanette always enjoyed the visits from the Thompson children.

Jeanette was one of the founding members of the Hamlet Garden Club which met at All Saints’. She was also one of the organizers and instructors of ceramic classes held at All Saints’. She was well known for a gift of ceramic angels. Later in life she gifted needlepoint crosses to her church family and friends.

Through her long life Jeanette was a gentle, quiet, encouraging force in the lives of all she met. One of the many faithful saints of All Saints’, Hamlet.

Saturday
Jul142018

JANET JOSEPHINE LATHAM

b. June 2, 1926

by Ann Victoria Harris Bustard, Christ Episcopal Church, New Bern, NC, 2016

Janet Josephine LathamJanet Josephine Latham was born in New Bern to Dr. Joseph and Mrs. Maude Latham. The Lathams raised four children with Janet being the third child. The family lived in a large brick home on National Avenue along with many other young families. The neighborhood had many children with whom to play; Janet was taken around by her two older siblings dressed up in crepe paper. Her task was to dance and entertain residents sitting on their porches.

When Janet went to school, she was fascinated with drawing, so she decided at a young age that she wanted to be an artist. Her father did not like this idea. Janet attended school in New Bern in and around the Academy and the Bell building on Hancock Street for elementary, middle and high school. She attended Salem College for one year, and after much talking on her part, her dad finally agreed that she could go to New York to study art. Janet knew she had to work harder than other students to please her dad with her grades and teacher’s comments.

After completing her courses, she made up a portfolio of her work as examples and began to look for a job doing Graphic Art. Because of her determination and her work ethic she was soon hired. Next, she went to an architectural firm to gain new experience there. Her time in New York was interrupted by the early death of her father at 49 years. As soon as she received this sad news, she returned to New Bern to be with her mother. Later on, she went south to Florida where she had a cousin and continued her art there. She became a very successful artist working in different mediums. Upon her return to New Bern, she sold her art at a gallery above the Henderson House in New Bern where her work was well received by the public.

Janet has spent her life at Christ Church except for her two working periods which took her away. She was baptized as an older child because her father was against the idea. One of her neighbors, Mrs. Mary Rice Dunn, encouraged her to be baptized. After her baptism, Mrs. Dunn mentored and directed her as she made future choices in her life; she was a positive influence in Janet’s life.

Janet is a woman of prayer always listening for God’s voice to nudge her into action. She dislikes any divisions within the church because she says we are all connected as brothers and sisters. Janet has studied the Moral Rearmament movement and lives by the premise that we must look at our own part in a disagreement before we judge our neighbor.

Janet exhibits great wisdom due to her life experiences, active mind, and wonderful sense of humor. She is a role model of her generation.

Tuesday
Jul102018

ROSEMARY LEET STARK

b. January 31, 1937

by Charles K. (Ken) McCotter, Christ Episcopal Church, New Bern, NC, 2016

Rosemary Leet StarkSoon after Rosemary moved to New Bern in late 1991, Bishop Sid Sanders of the Diocese of East Carolina called her to establish a diocesan refugee ministry, because she had chaired one in Connecticut. He appointed a Board of Directors, with Rosemary as chairman, that met for the first time in April, 1992.

Rosemary visited churches around the diocese to ask them to sponsor refugees. She organized the board and three committees: personnel, publicity and finance. She served as both Diocesan Refugee Coordinator and Board Chairman for two years until a part time director was hired in 1994. She held the chairman’s position for nine years. By that time, Interfaith Refugee Ministry had sponsored 300 refugees and the budget was $250,000, with two staff members and an office. Over a hundred people had volunteered or contributed to the refugee ministry in her home church alone, which piloted the program. Thousands participated in eighteen Episcopal churches in the diocese.

During that same time period, Rosemary chaired a refugee sponsorship committee from Christ Church that sponsored thirteen cases most of whom were Bosnian. She also organized the New Bern Refugee Resettlement Committee composed of representatives of five churches. They worked together to sponsor the first of many Burmese families to arrive in New Bern. Today the program has a much larger budget, 21 employees, and has sponsored 3,017 refugees in churches of many denominations besides the Episcopal Church.

In 2003, Rosemary left Christ Church to help form a mission called Peace Church. As Outreach Chairman there, she initiated a program in 2005 – in cooperation with the Seventh Day Adventist Church and using the refugee resettlement model – called the Hurricane Katrina Resettlement Program. After they resettled a family of three persons, Bishop Daniels appointed her the Point Person in the New Bern area for this effort. She also recruited and trained eighteen other parishes to help. FEMA placed families with fifteen parishes for resettlement.

Late in 2009, Rosemary initiated a program called F.R.I.E.N.D.S. for peace for foreclosure prevention. Her multi-church volunteer committee assisted 50 families and saved 33 homes. The program set up access to counseling and financial training for participants. As Committee Chairman, she wrote the grants to fund the program and acted as case manager for twenty families that requested assistance over three and a half years.

Rosemary currently volunteers as Vice Chairman of Faith Connection, a multi-racial, multi-denominational interfaith organization in New Bern. In October 2015, Faith Connection established six new programs called the “Building Community Initiative” in response to the rising divide between the races in our town, state and nation. The Initiative is based on the premise of Dr. John Perkins, “If black people and white people do not work together they will not be able to solve the problems that beset our society.”

In 2012, the Interfaith Refugee Ministry established the “Rosemary Stark Award” to honor hard working volunteers. Rosemary received the first award. In 2015 the NAACP gave Rosemary its Community Service Award.

Saturday
Jul072018

JOYCE VICTORIA FUNKHOUSER WASDELL

July 29, 1924 – August 12, 2016

by Rosalie Fonda, St. Luke’s Episcopal Church, Durham, NC, 2015 

Joyce Victoria Funkhouser WasdellJoyce Wasdell was born in Harrisonburg, Virginia, to Mary Elizabeth Garber Funkhouser and Ozais Tiffany Funkhouser. She received her undergraduate degree form Madison State Teacher’s College in Harrisonburg, and earned her Masters in Teaching from Duke University, where she also did work toward a doctorate.

Joyce married Edward S. Wasdell in 1944, prior to his service overseas in World War II. During the war she taught school in Rockingham County, Virginia. After her two children – Diann Wasdell (Irwin) and Edward S. Wasdell, Jr. – were in school, Joyce returned to teaching.

When the Wasdell family moved to Durham in 1953, Joyce began a thirty-year career in the Durham County Schools. She taught first at Bethesda School before moving to Southern High School. She was the first guidance counselor at Jordan High School, then went to the central office for Durham County Schools as Director of Secondary Education. When appointed as Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction for the Durham County Schools in 1968, she was the first woman to reach this level. She retired from this position in 1985. After retirement she served as a public school advisor to Governor Martin, was a member of several committees, remained active in many professional organizations, volunteered for Meals on Wheels and Habitat for Humanity, and also took up the game of golf.

Joyce and her family joined St. Luke’s Episcopal Church in Durham in September of 1956, shortly after its organization the preceding April. For many years Joyce was active at St. Luke’s in the choir and the Episcopal Church Women. She served on the Vestry, including being the second woman to become a Senior Warden at St. Luke’s. She was involved in the move from the building on Club Boulevard and into the new campus on Hillandale Road.