"The Consummate Caregiver"
TRENT WOODS | Mary McDaniel, affectionately known as "Nana" by her family, died peacefully at her home in Trent Woods during the early morning hours of May 7, 2014. She was 90 years young.
Her surgeon, Dr. John Mark Williams, of Vidant Medical Center in Greenville, called her his "miracle patient," when at age 89, she elected to have a double heart valve replacement because she was still passionate and full of life and wanted to continue to share in the lives of her family and friends for as long she could.
Mary was born in Morehead City on October 11, 1923. She was the youngest of five children born to Minnie Ann Caton Cuthrell and William George Cuthrell. She grew up in New Bern during the Great Depression and at an early age began helping her mother with the duties of being a midwife. Care giving made a lasting impression on Mary that would shape the rest of her life. At the tender age of 16, she left school and began working as a waitress to help support her family. At age 19, she married Charles Newell McDaniel and started a family of her own. From that point on, she would begin the journey of devoting her life to the care of others.
She and Charles operated the Craven County Home, which later became the Williams-West Memorial home. After Charles died in 1982, Mary formed a business partnership and opened the Charles McDaniel Rest Home in New Bern and Jacksonville in his memory. She was the administrator in both locations and to equip herself with the necessary requirements, she went back to school at age 57 and earned her GED, one of her proudest achievements! She was quoted as saying, "for an ole country girl, I guess I did okay." She reluctantly retired in 1993 at the age of 70, but continued helping her friends and family with her "special gifts."
Mary was a beautiful person inside and out, a consummate caregiver and always put others first. She was a truly amazing person, one of God's special gifts to humanity. She was a wonderful wife, mother, grandmother, great grandmother and friend. She loved working in her garden and cooking for her family. On Mondays, there was a standing lunch invitation for any family member who could make it. The table was usually filled with bowls of collards (the best that could be found on this earth), fried chicken, mashed potatoes and rutabagas. Fat back, bacon grease, pig tails and homemade pepper vinegar were her favorite ingredients.
Mary loved to travel with her long-time companion, Sid Weiner. They went on a total of twenty-five cruises, including one to Alaska, which she always said was her favorite. She cherished the twenty years they enjoyed together.
She was preceded in death by her husband, her parents, and her siblings, Mattie Banks, Georgia Laughinghouse Blythe and Amos Oliver Cuthrell.
She is survived by her adoring family: her son Charles Newell McDaniel and wife, Vicki of Morehead City, their son, Christian McDaniel and daughters, Carleigh and Tess; her daughter, Nancy McDaniel Ward and husband Dec and their children, Tom Lewis and wife, Dawn and their children, Cole, Charlie and Alli; Mary Ann Stewart and husband, Stedman and their children Mary Scott, Michael, Spencer, Fletcher and Nelson; Dal Ward of Charleston, SC; Duffy Ingle and her sons, Greylan and Sawyer of Charleston, SC; and Charles Ward of Sylva, NC. She is also survived by her sister, Edith Warner, who is proudly 101 years old; her sister-in-law, Sara McDaniel Story Fordham and many wonderful nieces and nephews.
In addition to Dr. Williams, our family wishes to thank all of her doctors and their nurses in New Bern who gave her the best care possible! In lieu of flowers, please consider a memorial to the Craven County Home Health Hospice, PO Drawer 12610, New Bern, NC 28561.
The family will receive friends from 6:30 to 8:30 PM on Monday, May 12, at the home of Dec and Nancy Ward, 3311 Virginia Avenue, Trent Woods. A celebration of her life will be 2:00 PM, Tuesday, May 13, 2014 at Pollock-Best Funeral Home Chapel with Rev. John Ben Thompson and Rev. F. Leroy Alligood officiating. Those wishing to offer words of hope and condolences may visit www.pollockbest.com.