Cana/Pino: Lelia Essic a calm, loving personality
Published 9:46 am Wednesday, October 27, 2021
By Betty Etchison West
I hoped after that long list of obituaries last week that I would be able to write about something else. That was not to be.
Pino lost its oldest and one of its most distinguished members this week when Lelia Neal Essic died at her home on Cana Road. Lelia, who was 99, died while napping in her favorite chair at her home with her caretaker attending her. What a beautiful exit for a lovely lady who always had a smile and a kind word for all she met. Lelia had lived in the Pino community for half a century or more and always supported anything that was good for her community.
Lelia’s husband, James Essic, to whom she was married for 67 years, died in 2010. Before his death, James was involved with the Farmington Fire Department, the Farmington Medical Center, the Pino Grange and was instrumental in getting telephone service for our area and Lelia was there supporting him every step of the way. One of the lasting evidences of James and Lelia’s love for their fellowman is the fact that they established the James E. and Lelia N. Essic Scholarship Fund that has already awarded over 100 college scholarships to deserving students.
Lelia was born in Caswell County. She graduated from Appalachian State University. After her children, James Jr. (Chip), Neal, Mary Ellen, and Anne, were older, Lelia began her teaching career in Forsyth County. She was the first special education teacher in North Carolina. She was an outstanding teacher who worked so very well with children with disabilities. Her calm, pleasant, loving personality made her a perfect teacher for those students, who loved her dearly.
All of the Essic children are still living except Mary Ellen who died a few year ago. They all live in this area except Anne who lives on the Eastern Shore of Virginia, an area that James and Lelia loved to visit. In addition to their four children, the Essics had daughters in law, sons-in-law, and a host of grandchildren and great-grandchildren that they treasured.
Even though Lelia was a resident of Pino, she was such a devoted Presbyterian that she and James drove to Mocksville each Sunday to attend First Presbyterian Church, where they were members. Lelia will be buried beside her husband at the Farmington Community Cemetery. Those of us left in Pino love the memories of the spritely, little red-headed lady, Lelia Neal Essic.
Pino native Dean Dull, the son of Luther and Virginia Edwards Dull, died last week. He was 91. Dean graduated from Farmington High School and High Point College. He was a school principal in High Point for many years. After his retirement, he and his wife, Iris, moved to Holden Beach to help his son with his construction business. Dean and Iris had been married for 67 years when she passed away on Aug. 5, 2021. After his wife’s death, Dean moved to an assisted living facility in Wilmington. Tina Dull Gobble went to visit her uncle a couple of weeks ago and he seemed to be getting along fine. During that visit, Tina took her Uncle Dean to his church, Camp United Methodist Church in Shallotte. I talked with Dean and he told me about his niece’s visit and how happy he was that she took him to his church. Tina told me how much the people of that church loved Dean. Even though Dean Dull had not lived in Pino for many years, he never forgot the community and his home church. He showed that love by sending a check each month to Wesley Church United Methodist Church. People here still loved Dean and appreciated his continued support. Tina and her husband, Greg, went back to Wilmington last weekend to visit Dean and found out that he had just died.
Dean was preceded in death by his parents, his brothers, Vernon Dull, Thurmond Dull, and his twin brother, Gene Dull. He is survived by a son and his wife, a daughter and her husband, two granddaughters, one sister, cousins, nephews and nieces including Tina Gobble, who now serves as Sunday Superintendent of Wesley Chapel Methodist Church, the church that Dean Dull loved until the day he passed away.
Cana was hit hard this week by the untimely death of Jimmy Taylor. Jimmy was only 60 years old. He had lived beside Cana Road for several years. Jimmy was a good neighbor and a good friend to all who knew him. He greeted everyone with a smile. Jimmy was a veteran of the U.S. Air Force, and, after his discharge, worked for Salem Electric. Jimmy enjoyed outdoor activates such as hunting and fishing, and he was a fine gardener as were many generations of his Taylor ancestors.
Jimmy was in Baptist Hospital when he died. His wife, Lydia, was also in that hospital but at the time that this article was being written, she was better and was able to return to their home. For that Cana people are thankful, but they are sad that one of their valuable residents has died. Jimmy was a member of Bear Creek Baptist Church and it was there in the Bear Creek Cemetery that he was buried on Oct. 26, 2021.
Jimmy Taylor’s death is particularly hard for the Taylor family because they lost the matriarch of the family on May 8, 2021, just five months ago. Grace Taylor, the wife of Roy Taylor, had lived on Cana Road for more than 50 years. It was such a pleasure to have her there because she was often outside working in her garden or in her flowers, and she always had a smile and a wave for travelers on Cana Road. Now before we have recovered from the loss of Grace, we have also lost her son.
Grace was survived by three sons, Rickey, Alton, and Jimmy, and one daughter, Olene, and now Jimmy is gone. The Taylor family has always been a valuable part of the Cana Community and the Cana people want them to know that they have our sympathy.
Cana also lost a another outstanding citizen when Vada Boger Beck moved from her home on Cana Road to Salisbury to be near her son. We believe that was a good move for Vada but one that was a loss for Cana people. It was also a great loss for Union Chapel Methodist Church where Vada had been one of their most loyal members. I miss Vada because she was one of the few people left who I could call with questions about the history of the school and the area. In addition to Vada and me, the only people I know still living who went to Cana school are Vada’s sister, Libby, and Glenna Collette Lagle. If you know of others, please let me know.