WILMINGTON — Lucile Bethea Whedbee, 102, born the youngest of four on April 14, 1918, in Dillon, South Carolina, to Fitzhugh Lee and Bonnie Keen Bethea, went to her eternal home Sunday, May 3, 2020.
Lucile spent the first part of her life on Rosedale Farm in Dillon, South Carolina, where she later graduated from Dillon High School in 1936. She then went to Woman’s College in Greensboro (now UNC-G), graduating in 1939 with a degree in Elementary Education. After college, she taught elementary school in Sanford for two years when she married her high school sweetheart, James Carson Whedbee, on July 4, 1941, and moved to Wilmington.
Lucile began a 24-year teaching career in New Hanover County, which included teaching at Wrightsboro Elementary School, Sunset Park Elementary School and Chestnut Street Elementary School. In 1967, Lucile’s husband Jim died and left his business, Wilmington Hospital Supply, to Lucile and their two daughters, Carole Whedbee Ellis and Jane Whedbee Lane. Lucile resigned her teaching position and became president of Wilmington Hospital Supply later to become Tarheel Physicians Supply. The Tar Heel Physician Supply employees were Lucile’s second family for many years.
Lucile had many interests outside of her two careers as educator and business woman. She served as a president of Lower Cape Fear Hospice, member of the Stamp Defiance Chapter of DAR, president of North Carolina Senior Sorosis, one of the charter members of AAUW Wilmington Branch, first female chairperson of the Board of Grace United Methodist Church and an active member of Cape Fear Garden Club.
Lucile loved her family, her church and her community, and she gave willingly in time and talent in all of these areas. She delighted in the successes of her daughters, Carole Whedbee Ellis and Jane Whedbee Lane. She was a loving grandmother to Kimberly Ellis McCusker (Jim), David Crockett Ellis (Jeana), Jennifer Lane DeStefano (Rob) and William Russell Lane III. She took great pleasure in the arrival of seven great-grandchildren, Carson McCusker, Abigail McCusker, Emily McCusker, Anna DiStefano, Lucy Ellis, Kate DiStefano and Sam Ellis.
Lucile’s favorite saying concerning her life was to “keep on keepin’ on,” and that she did as daughter, wife, mother, grandmother and great-grandmother, teacher and business woman. Through the joys and sorrows of her life, she kept on with her faith, her family and her community activities.
The family would like to thank the staff of the Commons at Brightmore for the care and love extended to Lucile in her sunset years as well as Lower Cape Fear Hospice.
A memorial service in celebration of Lucile’s life will be held at a later time at Grace United Methodist Church.
Share online condolences with the family at Andrews Mortuary & Crematory.