William E. Leary, Sr.

Published 5:06 pm Friday, February 11, 2022

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AHOSKIE – William Edward Leary, Sr., 88, of Ahoskie, NC died peacefully on February 9, 2022 at home with his wife by his side. William was born December 18, 1933 to the late James Stanley Leary and Edna Sewell Leary of Ahoskie.

In 1952, he graduated from Ahoskie High School, where he played football, basketball, and baseball. At the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, he played football, thus becoming an avid UNC sports fan. During the Korean War, he entered the United States Army and served in the Fourth Armored Division (1953 – 1955) at Fort Hood, Texas. He worked as a finance clerk in the Personnel Department then returned to UNC to continue his educational pursuit.

In 1958, he transferred to Georgetown College in Kentucky, earning a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration and a Master of Arts in Education. Also at Georgetown, he met his future wife, Bessie Miller; they were married June 9, 1961.

Mr. Leary began his teaching career at Ahoskie High School in 1963 with eighth grade students in science and math. He coached JV football and basketball. He continued teaching at the new Hertford County High School in the business department along with serving as Assistant Principal (1979-1983). He retired in 1995 after 32 years in education but continued managing the gate for football games for many years.

Mr. Leary was a lifetime member of First Baptist Church of Ahoskie. He taught a young men’s Sunday School class in the 1960s and led boys in Royal Ambassadors in the 70s and 80s. Through the years, he continued to be an active member of the Radio Bible Sunday School Class. He was involved in Woodmen of the World, Chapter 328 of Ahoskie for 54 years. He served as Secretary for 25 years and held other offices on the local, district, and state levels. He participated in fraternal projects, volunteered at Ahoskie Food Pantry, and delivered Meals on Wheels.

In addition to his parents, William was preceded in death by brothers, Lt. James Stanley Leary Jr., Stephen S. Leary, and Dr. Thomas E. Leary; and sisters, Edna Earle Leary Newsome and Fannie Marie Leary.

Left to cherish his memory are his loving wife of 61 years, Bess; and his children, Deborah Cartwright and husband Ed of Greenville, NC, William Leary Jr. and wife Rebecca of Murfreesboro, NC, Catherine Newbern and husband Travis of Greenville, NC, and Stephen Leary and wife Cara of Raleigh, NC. He was adored as “Papa” by his grandchildren, Laura & Meredith Cartwright, Christine Peduto & William Leary III, Coleton & Tanner Newbern, and Elizabeth, Raegan, & Maddox Leary. He was survived by his brother, Rev. David O. Leary and wife Bonita of Morganton, NC, and many loving nieces and nephews.

The family would like to extend a heartful thank you to William’s heaven-sent caregivers (Margaret, Imogene, Sabrina, Pat, Dianne, & Linda) for their love, support, and devoted care.  Also, the family would like to thank Community Home Care & Hospice for their kindness and compassion.

A graveside service with Military honors will be held at 1 p.m. on Saturday, February 12th at The Ahoskie Cemetery. A Celebration of Life Memorial Service will follow at 2 p.m. at First Baptist Church of Ahoskie with the Rev. Dr. Paul Gilliam, III and Rev. Anita Thompson officiating. The family will receive friends in the sanctuary following the Celebration of Life.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions in memory of William Leary Sr. may be made directly to First Baptist Church of Ahoskie (PO Box 649, Ahoskie, NC 27910 or online by visiting www.tmcfunding.com/search fund, type – William Leary, Sr.

Garrett-Sykes Funeral Services of Ahoskie is handling the arrangements for the Leary family and online condolences can be directed to the family by visiting www.garrettsykesfs.com.