Alice Lee Cannady Gaither

Published 10:36 am Monday, August 6, 2018

Mrs. Alice Lee Cannady Gaither died on Monday, July 30, 2018 at her residence in Mocksville.

She was born Nov. 30, 1923 in Davie County, daughter of the late Lodokus and Viola Hudson Cannady. She graduated from Davie County Training School and attended Surry Community College and Winston-Salem State University. She was a Headstart teacher for 23 years for YVEDDI. She grew up in Shiloh Baptist Church in Mocksville. After marriage, she became a member of St. John AME Zion Church, where she was a choir member and active in other ways. She volunteered with Relay for Life for 16 years, served as president of the Davie County NAACP, and delivered Meals on Wheels for the Davie County Senior Center. As a writer of poetry and a prolific writer of black history, she was blessed to develop the Literary Corner, a column in the Davie County Enterprise Record.

Mrs. Gaither raised 11 children of her own, but it was not unusual for her to feed the baseball team, a basketball team, or just friends who showed up around dinner time. Until a few years ago, she still enjoyed cooking enough food to feed a team. In her later years, she attended Agape Faith Church in Clemmons. Mrs. Gaither was an educated woman who believed in making sure that every child was literate. She was honored by being named as part of the Alice Lee Gaither and Terry S. Dunn Literacy Foundation. She worked a long time as a precinct chair for the Democratic Party of Davie County. As stated by one of her precinct members, “The legacy of this woman will long be remembered in Davie County. Her untiring work for justice, education and equality will be long remembered.” Along with her husband, Thomas Anderson Gaither, she was one of the first African-American business owners in Davie County. They operated Gaither’s Grocery Store on Depot Street in Mocksville. She was the first African-American candidate for the Davie County Board of Education. Along with Mrs. Dorothea Wilson, Mrs. Gaither began the Miss Dark and Lovely Pageant in Mocksville. The pageant provided educational scholarships. Mrs. Gaither was the oldest member of the civic club, Le Jour des Femme, a community organization which provided educational scholarships.

In addition to her husband and her siblings, Mrs. Gaither was preceded in death by:  children, Melvin A. Gaither, Algeon B. Gaither, Carol L. Gaither, Michael J. Gaither, Gloria Jean Gaither and Stephanie Kaye Gaither.

Survivors: 4 sons, Thomas (Shelvy) Gaither of Winston-Salem, Reginald Gaither of Mocksville, Victor (Clarrissa) Gaither of Hampton,Va., Pastor Julian (Dr. Krishauna) Gaither of Winston-Salem; 3 daughters, Doris Jimmerson of Mocksville, Deborah Ellis of Mocksville and Thomasine Gaither of Mocksville; 17 grandchildren; 34 great-grandchildren; 13 great-great-grandchildren; and a host of other relatives and friends.

Funeral service was held Saturday, Aug. 4 at 2 p.m. at Agape Faith Church in Clemmons. Pastor JB Whitfield officiated, and Pastor Julian D. Gaither provided the eulogy. Burial followed in Shiloh Baptist Church Cemetery in Mocksville. The family received friends at the church one hour before the service.


Memorials: Alice C. Gaither/Terry S. Dunn Literacy Fund, Davie Community Foundation, PO, Box 546, Mocksville.