Mr. William Verdery Pate, Sr., of Gray’s Creek, passed away on Tuesday, November 6, 2018 at Village Green Care Center in Fayetteville.
Verdery was born in Cumberland County on September 26, 1924, to Grover Cleveland and Mary Marsh Pate, the youngest of five children. He is a graduate of Gray’s Creek High School. He grew up on a farm and entered the US Navy in 1944 during World War II. He served in the Pacific area on board the USS Ulvert M. Moore, DE 442, commanded by Franklin D. Roosevelt, Jr. He was called back into service in 1950 during the Korean War and served in the Army with the 518th Ordinance Maintenance Company. After leaving military service, Verdery worked with the US Postal Service for 30 years.
Verdery loved his family and enjoyed family reunions and gatherings. He took pleasure in serving in community organizations. Verdery was the sole surviving charter member of the Grays Creek Ruritan Club, organized in 1946. He was a member of the Creasy Proctor Masonic Lodge #679, where he was the senior member in age and length of membership. He was a founding member of the Cumberland County Genealogy Society, and a member of the Cumberland County Historical Society. Verdery was a life long member of Cape Fear Baptist Church where he served as a deacon and trustee.
Verdery loved local and state history. Growing up along the Cape Fear River, he developed an interest in the history of Native Americans and early settlers to this area. This led to his attention to the Lost Colony of Roanoke Island. After years of extensive research, Verdery authored the book, “The Survival of the Lost Colony” and co-authored “Mystery of the Lost Colony – The Untold Story of Survival”.
Verdery is survived by his three children, Verdery Pate Jr., Nancy Pate Melton, Betsy “Pete” Pate Horne; seven grandchildren, Ray Melton, Christina Horne, Matthew Horne, Jennifer Pate Malek, Karly Pate Hamic, Melissa McNeill and Ian Mayhew; three great-granddaughters, Finnley, Stella and Merrin; as well as a number of nieces and nephews.
He was preceded in death by the love of his life, Mildred S. Pate, his mother and father, three sisters and one brother.
Funeral services for Verdery will be conducted at 12 pm (noon) Saturday, November 10, 2018 in Cape Fear Baptist Church, Butler Nursery Road, Grays Creek. The family will receive friends at 10:45 am in the church fellowship hall prior to the service. Burial will follow in the church cemetery.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests memorials are made to The Masonic Home for Children 600 College Street, Oxford, NC 27565 or a charity of your choice.