Published: Jul 29, 2012 12:05 AM
Modified: Jul 29, 2012 12:05 AM
Gerald Duke Holt of Carol Woods passed away on July 20 after a brief illness. She is survived by her sister Ann Williamson of Rocky Mount, daughter Edwina Woodbury (Dennis McGill) of Chapel Hill, son John Dowdy (Lil) of Wendell, grandchildren Walt Dowdy (Cheri), Wes Dowdy (Ann), both of Wilson, and Ginny Corbett (Shane) of Raleigh, and great-grandchildren Ethan, Caleb, Elena, Aven, Noelle and Lyla Dowdy.
Born in Rocky Mount to Elizabeth Gerald Duke and Edwin Ferebee Duke, Gerald graduated from Rocky Mount Senior High in 1946, studied journalism at Florida Southern College in Lakeland, FL, then married the late John (Jack) Dowdy also of Rocky Mount in 1948. They lived in Chapel Hill, then in Louisville, KY, where Gerald developed her love for the Kentucky Derby, finally settling back in Rocky Mount where they had two children. An accomplished bridge player, she competed in regional duplicate bridge tournaments for a number of years. During that time, she worked for the American Heart Association. In 1966, she earned a BA degree in history from North Carolina Wesleyan College and moved with her children to Wrightsville Beach to take a teaching position in the Wilmington public schools.
She soon was hired by the US Department of Agriculture as the first woman to lead a field office for the Food & Nutrition Service, and she worked for the USDA in various capacities in Wilmington, Myrtle Beach, SC, and Raleigh until her retirement in 1993. In 1976, she married the late Walter Holt of Wilmington, and they moved first to Myrtle Beach and later to Raleigh. Gerald was always a fervent Democrat who loved to follow politics so for five years after her retirement, she worked with the NC Legislature in Raleigh where she could be close to the action. She also was a dedicated reader for the Triangle Radio Reading Service.
In 2003, she moved to the Carol Woods Retirement Community in Chapel Hill and quickly became involved in the many activities there. She loved to play bridge but never took it too seriously, which made her a popular member of various bridge groups, both at Carol Woods and in Raleigh. Nothing was more important to Gerald than spending time with friends and family. She never turned down an invitation if she could help it, and was always up for any adventure that presented itself. Not only did she have an abiding love for the beach, she also enjoyed traveling in the US, as well as the Bahamas, and Europe. Most notable about Gerald was the importance she placed on friendships, nurturing and treasuring each one with fierce loyalty and devotion. She was a positive person by nature, and the memory of her laughter will be treasured by all who knew and loved her.
A celebration of Gerald's life will be held in the assembly hall at Carol Woods, 750 Weaver Dairy Rd., Chapel Hill, on Monday, July 30 at 3:00. Donations may be made in her memory to UNC Healthcare (medicalfoundationofnc.org
), the Democratic National Committee (democrats.org
), or the charity of your choice.
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