Longtime Grange leader dies at age 96
By Steve Herring
Published in News on September 26, 2012 1:46 PM
DUDLEY -- Lloyd M. Massey, 96, a member of the Grange for 75 years, is being remembered today as the symbol of farming to many people in Wayne County. An old-style Southern gentleman, Massey leaves behind a legacy of service to Wayne County as well as the local, state and national Grange.
Massey died Tuesday at Universal Health in Ramseur in western North Carolina.
He was a member of the Brogden Grange since 1937 and served as a former master of the state Grange as well as an officer at the organization's national level.
The Grange is the oldest fraternal agricultural organization in the United States. It was formed in the late 1800s as an advocacy group for farming interests and still has about 3,000 members nationwide.
"He just really loved the Grange," said State Grange President Jimmy Gentry today. "He spent much of his life devoted to the Grange. He liked the Grange as well as for the fact that it provided a voice for its members. He continued to be interested up the point where he could not be active because of his health."
However, Gentry said that Massey would still offer him suggestions.
"I would say that he leaves a lasting legacy for those of us who remain as members of the Grange," he said. "He set a good example for all of us. He taught good lessons. He set a path for us to follow. We should be thankful for his involvement and what he did for us."
Brogden Grange President Jimmy Martin said Massey was the reason he become involved with the Grange and agreed to serve as president.
"He was a great ambassador not only for the Grange, but for Dudley," Martin said. "The phrase that comes to mind is 'country gentleman.' He was always polite and he looked after Mrs. Elizabeth.
"He loved to play bingo at Dudley Christian Church. He was proud of his boys. He always wore a hat. Wherever he went, he had a hat on and he drove Buicks."
Martin said that Massey was a "walking history book" for the Dudley area, and that there was no such thing as a simple, "Hello. How are you?' conversation with Massey. But the conversations were interesting and enjoyable, he said.
He noted that Massey helped organize a dairy cooperative in the county in the late 1940s, and that he served as president.
Massey also served on the board of directors, including a stint as president, of the American Dairy Association of North Carolina. He also served on the board of directors for the national American Dairy Association and United Dairy Industry Association.
In 1975, Massey, who had served in several offices, including master, in both the Brogden and Pomona Granges, was asked to run as master of the state Grange.
He was elected and served until 1982. While state Grange master, he helped reorganize the Brogden Grange, twice.
Massey was very much involved during that same time with the state Department of Agriculture and was appointed by Gov. Jim Hunt to the Agricultural Advisory Committee.
Agriculture Secretary Jim Graham appointed Massey to the Extension Service Advisory Committee as well as the committee that helped establish the veterinary school at N.C. State University.
Closer to home, Massey worked to keep the Dudley Post Office open and to ensure the new four-lane U.S. 117 between Mount Olive and Mar Mac was built.
In a March, 2010 interview Massey said that while he was proud of his Grange work that perhaps the thing was most proud of it is a Wayne County project.
"I knew what was going on up there (in Raleigh)," he said. "I knew they had something called the Agriculture Hall of Fame so I went to Jim (Graham) and talked to him about it."
Massey asked for a copy of the Agriculture Hall of Fame charter and bylaws.
He returned home, called together all of the county's agriculture-affiliated organizations and suggested a Wayne County Agriculture Hall of Fame.
It is now housed in the Wayne Center and continues to honor the county's agriculture community.
Massey had three sons, Macon, Frank and Harry, with his first wife, Eunice, who died in 1993. He also is survived by his wife, former Elizabeth Gooding of Catawba County.