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Sept. 1, 1913-Aug. 24, 2010

ROSE HILL -- Mr. Daniel Jerome "Jiggs" Fussell Sr., 96, lifelong resident of Rose Hill, N.C., entered into the eternal heavens Tuesday, Aug. 24, 2010, at Milford and Reba Quinn Hospice Care Center in Kenansville.

A celebration of D.J.'s life will be held Sunday, Aug. 29, 2010, at 2:30 p.m. at Rose Hill United Methodist Church, 314 E. Church St., Rose Hill, conducted by the Rev. Leah Skaggs.

He is survived by a daughter, Elizabeth "Lisa" Fussell Lathe; two sons, Daniel Jerome Fussell Jr. and wife, JoEllen, and David Geddie Fussell Sr. and wife, Ann, all of Wallace, N.C.; grandchildren, Leslie F. Rodriguez, D. J. Fussell III, David G. Fussell Jr., G. Patrick Fussell and Jonathan D. Fussell, and their spouses; great-grandchildren, Tyler and Olivia Rodriguez and Grayson, Zachary, Ayden, James David and Camryn Fussell.

A native of Rose Hill, Mr. Fussell was born Sept. 1, 1913, to Oscar and Myrtle Jerome Fussell.

He was preceded in death by his college sweetheart and wife of 64 years, Mary Elizabeth "Mama Lib," and grandsons, Daniel Craig Fussell and Daniel Lyle Lathe.

D. J. Fussell was affectionately nicknamed "Jiggs" by his aunt, who enjoyed the comic strip "Jiggs and Maggie."

A man of many talents, he participated in collegiate football, basketball and baseball, receiving the first athletic scholarship awarded by Louisburg College. It was there that he met Mary Elizabeth Baker of Holly Springs, N.C. "Lib is the real prize that I won in college," he remarked.

He worked a number of jobs throughout his career. Out of all the choices and opportunities he carved for himself in his life, one stood out above others. In 1972, D. J. and his two sons, David Fussell Sr., and Dan Fussell Jr., planted 10 acres of muscadine grapes. In 1975, Duplin Winery was founded.

This man of many talents and names was affectionately referred to as "Big D" by his family and at the winery, and remained proud and grateful for the opportunity to revive the grape and wine industry in North Carolina.

Today, Duplin Winery is the largest and oldest continuous winery in North Carolina, the largest winery in the south and the largest muscadine winery in the world.

Mr. Fussell was committed to public service. He served as mayor of Rose Hill, was elected to the Duplin County Board of Commissioners, where he still holds the record for 32 years of continuous service, and championed mental health services, and was honored as the Outstanding Chairman for Mental Health in North Carolina, to mention a few of his accomplishments.

Memorial contributions may be made on his behalf to Rose Hill United Methodist Church, P.O. Box 177, Rose Hill, N.C., 28458; The Valley of Hope Ministries, 2617 Dobbersville Road, Mount Olive, N.C., 28365; Carolina East Home Care and Hospice, P.O. Box 887, Kenansville, N.C., 28349; or a charitable organization of your choice.

To sign the guestbook visit www.padgettfuneralhome.net.

Padgett Funeral and Cremation Service.


Published in Obituaries on August 26, 2010 1:47 PM