Thad Morris McGahey

Published 5:08 pm Thursday, June 15, 2017

Following a courageous battle from dementia and interstitial lung disease, Thad Morris McGahey completed his earthly journey in the early morning of June 14, 2017.

Morris was born in Beaufort County (Washington) in October 1937. His parents were the late Ernestine Morris McGahey and Enoch Ward McGahey. His older sister, Betty Lou Dixon and husband, Horace (Red) Dixon are deceased. His much-loved nephews (Dale Dixon and Gary Dixon) and brother-in-law, Stuart B. Moore are deceased.

Morris was educated at the Mother of Mercy Catholic School and public schools (Washington), Oak Ridge Military Academy and North Carolina State University.

Following his high school graduation, Morris served in the US Air Force and was stationed in France for three years. It was during this time that he discovered a love for travel and an appreciation for the different countries he visited.

Returning to the United States, Morris enrolled at North Carolina State University. He liked to tell the story that in preparation for entering college, he took the SAT in a building on the banks of the Seine River in Paris, France.

In February 1962, Morris married his high school sweetheart and best friend, Sally Ann Day. They often expressed their gratitude for the 55 years they had together.

Two sons were born from this union – John Morris McGahey and children Sophie Lee McGahey, Morris Stuart McGahey, Sally Elaine McGahey, and Michael James McGahey (Fuquay Varina) and James Duncan McGahey and wife Melissa Freeman McGahey of Washington. Morris was truly a family man who enjoyed the time he had with his family and extended family. He found pleasure in building dollhouses, sand boxes, playhouses, tire swings, a diving platform for the river and other “play time” fun equipment for his children and grandchildren.

Morris taught us the value and joy of work. He began his lifetime of work as a newspaper boy (age 9) with the Washington Daily News. Later he would work framing pictures for Bell Jewelry Store and other local establishments. Following graduation from NC State, he joined Burlington Men’s Wear Division (Product Development and Evaluation Manager) where he became known as the Divisional “Trouble Shooter” when problems arose in the dyeing of fabric. During his career, he also worked with Knit Away International Knits (Director of Dyeing/Lab Manager), JP Stevens (Plant Manager-Technical Superintendent) and completed his work at National Spinning in Washington as the Cotton Dyeing Coordinator and Environmental Engineer.

Morris was a man of tremendous energy and enthusiasm for learning new things.

He studied and earned his Building Contractor’s License and began building homes as a much-loved hobby. He said his grandfather, Collidge G. Morris, asked him at a young age to build him some steps for a storage building and the steps outlasted the building.

As the owner of New Homes Association, he built homes at Long Beach, Washington and Cypress Landing, North Carolina, with his sons John and James.

Morris was a man of many interests and talents. He restored a 1930s cedar racing outboard runabout boat named “Sally Anne” and donated it to the NC Maritime Museum.

He worked with the Cub Scouts (Southern Pines) on the Pinewood Derby, and the Boy Scouts (Wallace) by teaching classes needed for merit badges. He was President of the Wallace-Rose Hill Band Boosters and a member of the Rotary Club (Wallace). He was ordained a Deacon in the Presbyterian Church at Starmount Presbyterian (Greensboro) and also served as Deacon at First Presbyterian Church (Washington). He taught Sunday School at Starmount Presbyterian, Wallace Presbyterian and First Presbyterian in Washington.

At Starmount Presbyterian and Wallace Presbyterian, he served as a youth advisor with his wife. He was a humble man, an avid reader, a life-long learner, appreciated good music, always had a dog or two or three, and enjoyed the Pamlico River and being outside with nature.

His presence in our family will be missed. He leaves behind to cherish the memories of meaningful times together his sister-in-law, Mary Day Moore (Tarboro), his brother-in-law and sister-in law, Ted and Lou Day (Washington), his “Dixon” nieces, Sue Dixon Kasopsky (Mike), Carol Dixon and Angela Dixon (Apex), his “Day” nieces and nephews, Stu and Lisa Moore (Tarboro), Teddy Mac Day, Kate and Martin Purvis, Suellen and Sean Weaver (Washington) and his cousins Mary Anne Shell (Newport News, Virginia), Sara Overton Hunter (Bob-Lake Junaluska), Nancy Overton (Jacksonville, Florida) and Mary White Evans (Summerville, South Carolina) and a host of long-time friends.

Memorial services will be held at 11:00 a.m. Saturday, June 17, 2017 at the First Presbyterian Church in Washington with Rev. Lee Kinney officiating. The family will receive friends following the service in the church fellowship hall.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to First Presbyterian Church Deacons’ Fund, 211 W. Second Street, Washington, NC 27889, or to the Betsy Bailey Nelson Animal Shelter, 3931 Hwy. 264 East, Washington, NC 27889.

Condolences may be sent to the family by visiting

Paul Funeral Home & Crematory of Washington is honored to serve the McGahey family.