Mary  Elizabeth Finlator Obituary
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In Memory of

Mary Elizabeth Purvis Finlator

November 19, 1918 - June 29, 2012
Obituary

Mary Elizabeth Purvis Finlator died at Springmoor Life Care Retirement Community on the Friday, June 29, 2012. She was the widow of the Rev. Dr. W. W. Finlator, Sr., former pastor of Pullen Memorial Baptist Church. Mary Lib Finlator was born on November 19, 1918 in Salisbury, NC, where her father, Dr. Sovereign Paschal Purvis, was a dentist and her mother, Belle Hicks Purvis, taught Latin. After graduating from Salisbury's Boyden High School in 1935, she enrolled in Woman's College in Greensboro, majoring in English and French. Her parents promised to pay for a trip to Europe after graduation if she would abstain from smoking and...
Mary Elizabeth Purvis Finlator died at Springmoor Life Care Retirement Community on the Friday, June 29, 2012. She was the widow of the Rev. Dr. W. W. Finlator, Sr., former pastor of Pullen Memorial Baptist Church.

Mary Lib Finlator was born on November 19, 1918 in Salisbury, NC, where her father, Dr. Sovereign Paschal Purvis, was a dentist and her mother, Belle Hicks Purvis, taught Latin. After graduating from Salisbury's Boyden High School in 1935, she enrolled in Woman's College in Greensboro, majoring in English and French. Her parents promised to pay for a trip to Europe after graduation if she would abstain from smoking and drinking alcohol through college, and she collected on the promise. She traveled through France, Italy, and Germany during the summer of 1939 and never forgot a torchlight parade she saw in Berlin.

In1939 Mary Lib took a job teaching English and French in Pittsboro High School. There she met the love of her life, William Wallace Finlator, who at that time held pastorates at three churches in Chatham County, including the First Baptist Church of Pittsboro. After a two-year courtship, they married on November 1, 1941 and remained happily married 64 years until his death. Her parents were Presbyterians and Republicans, but after her marriage she transitioned to Baptist and Democrat and almost never looked back.

Mary Lib and Bill lived in Weldon and Elizabeth City, North Carolina until he accepted a call to Pullen Memorial Baptist Church in Raleigh in 1955, and Raleigh became her home for the rest of her life. She had three children, Wallace, Elizabeth and Martha. To them she was a devoted mother and steadfast friend. She was a devoted wife and homemaker and was tirelessly active in the churches at which her husband held pastorates. She was also involved in many community organizations including book clubs, Delta Kappa Gamma, Broughton Scholarship Committee and the Raleigh Woman's Club. While she was a member of the Woman's Club she served as Chaplain and published a book of prayers.

In 1964 Mary Lib began teaching English at Broughton High School in Raleigh, devoting herself to thousands of students over the next seventeen years. Fair, open, and democratic, she was effective and popular across all socioeconomic and racial lines. Her students remember that she hated the word "ain't" and banned its use in her classroom. One of the proudest moments of her life occurred when she was selected Broughton High School Teacher of the Year.

After retiring from Broughton in 1981, Mary Lib became a docent at the North Carolina Museum of Art. She loved to play bridge, garden, and travel, and during her retirement she and her husband traveled to Alaska, Canada, and Europe. She was frugal with herself but generous to others. She was devoted to her many friends, and they to her. Above all, she loved her family, and in her seventies she spent countless hours compiling a three-volume album of family histories, full of pictures.

She is survived by two daughters, Martha Dell Finlator, of Washington D.C.; Elizabeth F. McCutchen and husband Joseph C. McCutchen, of Farmville, VA; a son, William Wallace Finlator, Jr., of Raleigh; a sister, Martha Dell Hudson, of Salisbury, N.C.; a former daughter-in-law, Silke Karen Marquardt Finlator; eight grandchildren, Benjamin Finlator Gerdes, John William Gerdes, Matthew Gwyn McCutchen, Ethan Fraser McCutchen, Joshua Finlator McCutchen, Marten Wallace Finlator, Kristian Marquardt Finlator and Hannah Verena Finlator; a great-grandson, Finn Caspian McCutchen; and many nieces and nephews.

Mary Lib was preceded in death by her beloved husband, William Wallace Finlator; a sister, Belle Hicks Gaskill; and a son-in-law, Ronald Wayne Gerdes.

The family is grateful for the loving and dedicated care provided to Mary Lib by the Springmoor Life Care Retirement Community.

A memorial service will be held in the sanctuary of Pullen Memorial Baptist Church at 2:00 pm on Saturday July14, 2012, followed by a reception in Finlator Hall at the church. A private burial will precede the memorial service.

In lieu of flowers, to honor the life of Mary Lib, the family requests that you support the public schools of North Carolina in whatever way you can; or a memorial donation may be made to Pullen Memorial Baptist Church, or the charity of one's choice.

Arrangements by Brown-Wynne Funeral Home, Saint Mary's St., Raleigh, NC, (919) 828-4311.

"Just a passerby. Your mother taught my sister Melissa, English, at Broughton. Now, I'm the writer, and Melissa is an artist. Melissa always loved your..." Mia Reed (Wilmington, NC)

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Daily Advance, The (NC)
Raleigh resident ,Mary Elizabeth Purvis Finlator died at Springmoor Life Care Retirement Community on Friday,  June 29, 2012.  She was the widow...

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