Mary Charles G. Coppage

Published 3:43 pm Tuesday, January 19, 2021

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After a long, joy-filled, life well-lived, Mary Charles Godwin Coppage quietly departed this mortal life on January 12, 2021.

Mary Charles was born the youngest of four children to Verner D. And Essie P. Godwin on June 30, 1924 in Williamston. She later lived with her uncle and aunt, Charles H. and Mary P. Godwin and was like a daughter to them.   She attended school in Williamston and graduated from Williamston High School in 1941. That autumn she matriculated at St. Mary’s Junior College in Raleigh, graduating in 1943. She returned to Williamston thereafter. In 1946, while attending a party at a friend’s home she met her future husband. She and Dr. William F. Coppage were married on April 26,1947. Their marriage was filled with love and ended with his death on December 29, 1976.

After her husband’s death, Mary Charles stayed active in her church and community. She was the first woman to serve as a delegate to the annual convention of the Episcopal Diocese of East Carolina as well as the first woman to serve as a member of the vestry and as Senior Warden of a congregation in the diocese. Mary Charles sang in the choir for over seven decades and was very involved in the Episcopal Churchwomen. She was also  engaged in the work of the Martin General Hospital Auxiliary and the St. Mary’s Alumni Association. Other civic duties included serving on the boards of the Friends of the Old Martin County Courthouse and the Skewarkee Health Care Foundation. As a member of the Martin County Players, she discovered her inner thespian, appearing in several productions in lead and supporting roles. She enjoyed being with her fellow actors, mentoring many of them, as the “grande dame” of the troupe. She kept in touch, writing and visiting friends both new and old throughout her life.

As she advanced in years, she kept herself physically fit and healthy in many ways. She could be seen walking daily around Williamston at such a brisk pace that even her teenaged granddaughter had difficulty keeping up with her. Even in her last few weeks, she endeavored to take a walk outside each day.

Mary Charles was predeceased by her husband, her parents, her siblings and her aunt and uncle. She is survived by her daughter, Lind C. Graves and husband, Swanson Graves, lll of Washington, her son, Charles D. Coppage and his wife Jeanne Coppage of Manteo, five granddaughters, eight great-grandsons, two great-granddaughters and two great-great-grandchildren.

The family deeply appreciates the assistance of many devoted caregivers from recent years: Virginia Peele, Lila Patrick, Lorraine Brown, Eva Brown, Josephine Chance, Lillie Credle, Darleen Smith, Lucy Covil, Carolyn Hardy , and Marilyn Ore Booth as well as the staff at Cypress Glen, Greenville NC particularly the nursing assistants in Independence Plus.

Due to the on-going pandemic, a small family burial is planned. A memorial service to celebrate her life will be held at a later date when it can be done in safety. In lieu of flowers, she asked that donations be made to either the  Church of the Advent Scholarship Fund, 124 West Church Street, Williamston, NC  27892 or to the Food Bank of the Albemarle, 109 Tidewater Way, Elizabeth City, NC 27909.