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Aug. 26, 1917-Dec. 19, 2011

Rachel Neel Overman Wright, 94, formerly of U.S. 13 South, and more recently, Kitty Askins Hospice Center in Goldsboro, passed away Monday night, Dec. 19.

She was the daughter of Eddie and Rella Neel of the Grantham community of Wayne County, and was a graduate of Grantham High School. She attended Louisburg College and East Carolina University, earning a Bachelor of Science degree and two master's degrees. She pursued doctoral studies at the University of North Carolina in Greensboro, and was invited to intern at Gallaudet College for the Deaf in Washington, D.C., because she was so proficient in communicating with deaf persons.

In her younger days, she was very active in the Providence community, and taught Sunday school classes for more than 50 years to children, adults and the men's and women's classes.

Rachel was known for her hard work and the ability to make anything with very little materials. She was called upon to make costumes for the local school plays, wedding gowns, drapes or tailored suits for persons in the community.

Her yard always had numerous blooming flowers of various varieties.

During the war years, Rachel sewed and made children's clothes for a shop in Goldsboro.

Rachel was a 4-H club adult leader, assisting young people with projects and exhibits in the community, as well as at the Wayne County Fair.

She often spoke at public hearings for the benefit of Wayne County farmers and residents.

One of her high interest endeavors was speaking at a public hearing pertaining to persons making telephone calls from one community to another without a long distance charge. Her persuasive speech caused the utilities group to listen and abide by her wishes for all citizens. She wrote letters or appeared in Raleigh to speak for the residents of Wayne County.

Her first husband, Ernest Overman, preceded her in death due to an automobile accident in 1963. Three of her five children were still at home so Rachel had to return to college to prepare for the job market, and taught elementary students in private and public institutions.

She also held positions with the North Carolina Department of Rehabilitation Services, and retired from there.

Her second husband, Franklin Wright, preceded her in death in 1999.

After her retirement, Rachel used her skills in interior design and catering to benefit the community.

However, her greatest joys were her five children and the flowers she planted around her home. Rachel traveled extensively to foreign countries, and was re-baptized in the Jordan River.

Her two brothers, Robert and Lonnie Neel, and a grandson, Randy Overman, preceded her in death.

Surviving are two daughters and three sons and their spouses, Elaine O. Harris and husband, Bob, of High Point, Gayle O. Cobb and husband, David, of Winterville, Neel Overman and wife, Andrea, of Douglas, Ariz., Bill "Clarence" Overman and wife, Linda, of Dallas, Texas, and Mark Overman and wife, Andrea, of South Lake, Texas; and sister-in-law, Sadie Outlaw Neel of Grantham community.

There are nine grandchildren, 11 great-grandchildren and five stepgrandchildren surviving.

Rachel also is survived by three stepchildren and their spouses from the Wright family, Mary Ann Wright Hobbs and husband, Willie, of Clinton, Linda Wright Whitehurst and husband, Neil, of Rocky Point and J.F. Wright and wife, Linda, of Clinton. There are 10 stepgrandchildren and 20 stepgreat-grandchildren.

In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to Providence United Methodist Church Audio Visual Fund, 202 Providence Church Road, Goldsboro, N.C., 27530.

The family will be receiving friends Thursday evening, Dec. 22, from 5 to 7:30 p.m. at Providence United Methodist Church fellowship hall.

A celebration of her life will be held at Providence United Methodist Church Friday, Dec. 23, at 11 a.m., with the Rev. Terry Hobbs officiating. Burial will follow in the church cemetery.

Shumate-Faulk Funeral Home is serving the family, and online condolences may be sent through www.shumate-faulk.com.


Published in Obituaries on December 21, 2011 1:49 PM