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John Worth McDevitt

1913 - 2014 Obituary Condolences
John Worth McDevitt Obituary
John Worth


Winston-Salem - John Worth McDevitt died peacefully in Winston-Salem Thursday evening in the midst of his family. He was 100. He had not been ill. Mr. McDevitt was born In Marshall in Madison County to Alice Hurt and Newberry McDevitt on April 16, 1913, the fourth of their five children. He was married to Rena Forest Joyner with whom he had daughters Alice Rayburn McDevitt Cleland and Jean Forest McDevitt Mallard.

He was a graduate of Mars Hill College and Western Carolina Teachers College, now Western Carolina University.

During World War II, Mr. McDevitt served in the US Navy in both the Atlantic and Asia-Pacific Theaters of Operation. He was commanding officer of an escort destroyer, SC 716.

Prior to his war-time service, Mr. McDevitt taught public school in Madison County. On leaving the Navy he returned to Cullowhee where he worked in the administrative offices of WCTC.

Mr. McDevitt moved to the Town of Wake Forest and worked with the NC Department of Administration in Raleigh. In 1948 he was appointed by Governor Kerr Scott to create the Department of State Personnel; he was its first director. In 1966 he was appointed by Governor Dan Moore to be a commissioner on the NC Utilities Commission where he served until his retirement.

A life-long Democrat, Mr. McDevitt served as the Executive Secretary of the NC Democratic Party in the late 1940's.

Subsequent to his retirement from state government, Mr. McDevitt lived in Durham and worked with Home Security Life Insurance Company as its Director of Personnel and Public Relations. At different times he returned to state government as a consultant to the NC Attorney General, to the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of NC, and to the University of NC at Chapel Hill where he oversaw the disposition of its utility system.

Mr. McDevitt was a Baptist from birth, a Mason, and a Rotarian.

He is preceded in death by his wife Rena Forest; sisters Carol Wells and Selwyn Eure; brothers N.B. and Wendell.

In addition to his daughters, he is survived by son-in-law George Montgomery Cleland and grandchildren: George Montgomery Cleland IV (Melissa), Jennifer Cleland Green, John Duff Cleland (Patricia Lin), and Juliana Cleland Richards (Charles); James Quentin Davis Mallard Jr., John McDevitt Mallard (Taylor), and Anna Rayborn Mallard.

His great-grandchildren: George Montgomery Cleland V, Christopher Wells Cleland, and Jane Brethauer Cleland; Stanley Cleland Green, Jack Lassiter Green, David Sarber Green, and Alexander McDevitt Green; Charles McDevitt Richards, Elizabeth Forest Richards, and John Davidson Richards; John Duff Cleland II.

The Rev. Dr. David Hughes, former longtime pastor of First Baptist Church in Winston-Salem, will preside over a graveside service in Mars Hill at 11:00 AM on Thursday, March 6. Memorials may be sent to Mars Hill University through the Institutional Advancement, Mars Hill University, P.O. Box 370, Mars Hill, NC 28754.

Published in the Asheville Citizen-Times on Mar. 2, 2014
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