honors-and-memorials

Deans, Stephen Grady

Stephen Grady Deans

 

Stephen Grady Deans, son of Joseph Franklin Deans and Dicy Scott Deans, was born April 10,

1914 in the Rock Ridge community of Wilson County. His parents were natives of that community.


He attended Rock Ridge School through the ninth grade. In 1929 Grady moved to Wilson with his parents where he entered Charles L. Coon High School and graduated in 1931. There were only eleven grades at that time. He then attended the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
In 1933, he married Annie Louise Sharp, who was born December 27, 1914, in Wilson County. To this union was born three children: Barbara Jean, born July 5, 1935, John Frederick, born July 28, 1937 and Frances Louise, born October 19, 1938 (died November 7, 1944 in an accident).


In 1935, Grady joined his father at the Farmers Warehouse. They operated it until his father's death in March 1947. During World War II, Grady served on the Wilson County Tire and Gas Rationing Board. In 1959, Grady and Louise bought the Carolina Warehouse. In 1960, John Frederick joined Grady at the Farmers Warehouse. In 1965 Grady, Louise and Freddie bought the Smith Warehouse with the Wainwright Family. In 1970 Grady, Louise and Freddie bought the New Planters #1 and #2 from Sarah Smith Tomlinson, Will Carr Smith and Richard Thorpe Smith. In 1975, New Planters #1 was traded to the Wainwright Family for their interest in the Smith Warehouse, making the Deans Family sole owners of the Smith operation.

 

In 1964, Grady, Louise and Freddie purchased Milan Oil and Gas Company, a business that was renamed Deans Oil Company. Later, with the addition of L. P. Gas, the name became Deans Oil and Gas Company. Throughout these years the Deans Family has been actively engaged in farming.


Grady was an active member of the First Baptist Church, serving on the Board of Deacons and the Board of Trustees and as Sunday School Superintendent. He was director of the First Citizens Bank and Trust Company from its beginning in Wilson in 1960, until his death. He was on the board of trustees at Greenfield School. From November 22, 1978,
he was President of the Wilson Tobacco Board of Trade. In March 1983, he was elected President of the Bright Belt Warehouse Association, comprising five states.


Louise graduated from Charles L. Goon High School in 1931, then attended East Carolina Teachers College. She has been an active member of the First Baptist Church most of her life, being president of the Women of the Church, serving on the search committee, chancel committee, flower committee and various other things. In 1946-47, she was President of Woodard School P.T.A.


Barbara Jean attended Rock Ridge School in grades 1-4, Frederick Woodard School in Grades 5-7 and graduated from Charles L. Coon High School in 1953. In 1953 she entered Meredith College. She was president of her freshman class. In 1956 she transferred to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, graduating in 1957 with a B.A. in education. In 1956 she married Roy Raymond Holdford, Jr., who received his law degree from U. N. C. in 1960. She taught school at Edgemont Elementary School in Durham from 1957 to 1960. They moved to Wilson in 1960. Three children were born: Frances Deans Holdford, born November 6, 1960, Roy Raymond Holdford, born March 19, 1963 and Barbara Anne Holdford, born January 2, 1966. In 1976 Roy died and in 1979 Barbara Jean married William Franklin Lane, whose family dated back 150 years in Wilson County.


John Frederick Deans attended Rock Ridge School in grades 1 and 2, Frederick Woodard School in grades 3-7 and graduated from Charles L. Goon High School in 1955. In the fall of 1955 he entered the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, graduating in 1959 with a B.S. in Business Administration. He served in the army reserve for six years. At the death of his father in 1983, he assumed the reins of Smith Warehouse and Deans Oil and Gas Company. He is married to Barbara Crotts and they have five children: Joanna Paige Deans, Heather Diane Deans, Catherine Louise Deans, John Frederick Deans, Jr. and Annie Louise Sharp Deans.
Mr. Deans is a member of the First Baptist Church where he serves on the Board of Trustees. He serves on the board of directors of First Citizens Bank & Trust Company, Board of Trustees of Greenfield School, President of the Wilson Tobacco Board of Trade and also on the Board of Governors of the Bright Belt Warehouse Association. Stephen Grady Deans passed away on January 16, 1983.


MEMORIAL CONTRIBUTION MADE BY WIFE OF
STEPHEN GRADY DEANS, ANNIE LOUISE SHARP DEANS

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