Tsgt. Charlie Clay McGrady (1934 - 2019)

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Retired TSgt. Charlie Clay McGrady, 84, of Hendersonville, Tenn., passed away Friday, Feb. 22, 2019, in Hendersonville.
Funeral services will be held at 2 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 26, at Old Roaring River Baptist Church, with the Rev. James Pardue and Mr. Walter Hutchinson officiating. Burial, with full military honors by Pope Air Force Base Honor Guard, will be in the church cemetery.
The family will receive friends from 12:30-1:30 p.m., prior to the service at the church.
Charlie was born Aug. 28, 1934, in Wilkes County to John S. and Mary Frances Hutchinson McGrady. He was one of nine children, sharing a small log cabin with his parents and paternal grandparents in the foothills of Western North Carolina. Charlie recalled many great memories growing up, working with his brothers and sisters on his parents' farm, and he continued his love of gardening throughout his life.
Charlie graduated from Traphill High School in 1952, where he met his sweetheart Doris. He enlisted in the Air Force in 1952 and was stationed in France for three years. After he returned home from France, Charlie married Doris on March 2, 1956.
Assignment highlights took Charlie to South Korea in 1961 on a "hardship tour," where he was chosen as administration aid to the commander of the Air Force, receiving a commendation letter from the commander for his "outstanding performance of duty," which included his off-duty time where he formed a country music/bluegrass band, playing for thousands of troops across South Korea.
During his assignment to Charleston Air Force Base in 1961, Charlie, with his guitar and two other friends with their banjos, entered the military's World Wide Talent Contest, naming themselves The Lazy Mountain Boys, eventually winning their way to the finals at Edwards Air Force Base in California. The Lazy Mountain Boys performed "The Ballad of Jed Clampett," dressed in overalls, jug and all, winning the runner-up trophy and getting a kiss on the cheek by actress Connie Stevens.
In 1964m Charlie was honored to be nominated and selected for reassignment to a prestigious administrative position at the Pentagon in Washington, D.C., where he became a member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, having one of highest security clearances at that time.
Charlie retired from the Air Force in 1972 and spent the next 20 years in the manufactured home business in Bristol, Tenn., later moving his family back to North Carolina and the mountains where he said his heart always remained.
Charlie loved the Lord, his church and listening to his favorite preacher, Dr. R.C. Sproul, on the radio every night. Charlie and Doris became members of Old Roaring River Baptist Church in 1956, where they were baptized in the river together after they were married. Charlie's love for music remained throughout his life, as he continued singing and song writing, while later singing in his church choir.
Charlie spoke of Doris being his "everlasting love." During the final 15 years of their marriage, Charlie selflessly dedicated all of his time taking wonderful care of Doris, who was diagnosed with chronic pulmonary obstructive disorder (COPD). Charlie and Doris moved to Indian Land in 2013 to be close to their daughter, Melissa, son-in-law, Chad, and grandchildren, Drew and Delaney. Charlie had recently moved with them to Hendersonville, Tenn.
Mr. McGrady is preceded in death by his parents; his wife, Bessie Doris Gambill McGrady; one daughter, Michelle Doris McGrady; two sisters, Dawn Osborne and Pearl Brown; and three brothers, Vaughn McGrady, Glenn McGrady and Clyde McGrady.
He is survived by his daughter, Melissa Emerine and husband, Chad, of Weddington, N.C.; his son, Charles Anthony McGrady of Hays, N.C.; his six grandchildren, Shannon Slone and husband, Jason, and Matthew McGrady, all of Hampstead, N.C., Mitchell McGrady and wife, Caitlyn, of Columbia, Md., Brandon McGrady and fiancé`, Lucinda Bennett, of Elkin, N.C., and Drew Emerine and Delaney Emerine of Weddington, N.C.; six great-grandchildren; two sisters, Mary Esther Burnette and husband, Bill, of Columbia, and Ella Mae Vires of Bristol, Tenn.; and one brother, Carl McGrady and wife, Revely, of Bristol, Tenn.
Flowers will be accepted or memorials may be made to Old Roaring River Baptist Church Cemetery, 11156 Longbottom Road, Traphill, NC 28685.
Online condolences may be made at www.reinssturdivant.com.
Funeral Home
Reins-Sturdivant Funeral Home
270 Armory Rd
North Wilkesboro, NC 28659
(336) 838-3178
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Published in Carolina Gateway on Mar. 6, 2019
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