Margaret Courtauld Finney McPherson, beloved wife of the late Samuel Dace McPherson, Jr, died on Sunday, October 28, 2018 at The Forest at Duke in Durham, NC. Margaret, affectionately named Peaches, was born February 25, 1921 in Baltimore, Maryland and was the daughter of the late Margaret Wharton Smith Finney and the late Eben Dickey Finney. She was a graduate of the Chatham Hall School in Chatham, Virginia and attended the Union Memorial School of Nursing in Baltimore. It was there that she met her future husband, Sam, who was a medical student at Johns Hopkins and Chief Resident at Hopkins’ Wilmer Institute. They were married in 1942, and moved to Durham, NC in 1948 where they raised their family and where Dr. McPherson practiced ophthalmology at McPherson Hospital. They were married for fifty six years.
In Durham, Peaches was an active member of the community, serving as President of the Junior League, first female Chairperson of the United Way of Durham, and Chairperson of the Historic Preservation Association of Durham, from which she received the Bartlett Award for her dedicated service. She was also very instrumental in obtaining John Sprunt Hill’s house and property as the Headquarters of the Junior League of Durham. She was an involved member of the Colonial Dames. She was a devoted member of the First Presbyterian Church and served as an Elder and was President of the Women of the Church.
In all she did, her deep and enduring faith in God was her driving force. She recognized the dignity of every individual no matter his or her life circumstances and selflessly gave to others in many ways, never seeking recognition for herself. Her life was defined by caring for others and loving others. Nowhere was this more apparent than the love she gave as devoted wife, mother, grandmother, great-grandmother and friend. She loved her summers at the beach in Morehead City where she was surrounded by her clan. Her grandchildren and great grandchildren adored being with her, and she was an integral part of their lives and set an example of humility, grace and perseverance. Her unique ability to have heart to hearts with each of them was remarkable, and her sense of humor was contagious. She loved the out of doors and was happiest when fishing in the ocean, hunting for quail, gardening, or taking in the pleasures of a trout stream.
Margaret is survived by her four children, Margaret McBryde and her husband, Neill, Mary Browne Dewey, and her husband, Steele, Elizabeth Neas and her husband, George, and S. Dace McPherson, III and his wife, Grace; and grandchildren, Court McBryde and husband, Andy, Mac McBryde and wife, Virginia, Shippen Browne and wife, Bridget, Katie Beam and husband, John, Clarke Browne and wife, Melinda, Caroline Godwin and husband, Tad, Sam Hayes and wife, Brianne, Stuart McPherson, Katherine McPherson, and Rebecca McPherson and by nineteen great grandchildren.
She is also survived by her step grandchildren, George Dewey and wife, Meg, Eddie Dewey and wife, Kristan, Margaret Quarrier and husband, Alex, Geoffrey Neas and wife, Robin, and Susan Cordeiro and husband, Mark and by eleven step great grandchildren. She leaves behind many nieces and nephews. In addition to her parents and her late husband, Margaret was predeceased by her brothers, Eben Dickey Finney, Jr. and Daniel Clarke Wharton Finney, by her son in law, George Williams Browne and by her great grand daughter, Florence Snow Hayes.
The family would like to extend their gratitude to all those who have supported our Mother over the years, especially Gerrie Sexson who has been a part of our family and to her other companions, including Linda Pickett, Pat Anderson Lassiter, Vickie Lewis, Brenda Pickett, Tracey Cates, Chris Oliver, Nettie Cox, and Brenda Brown.
A memorial service will be held on Wednesday, November 7th at 2:00pm at First Presbyterian Church in Durham, NC, followed by the receiving of family and friends in the Reception Hall of the Church. Burial will be private. Funeral arrangements are being handled by Hall Wynne Funeral Service in Durham.
Memorial contributions can be made to the McPherson Family Lectureship Fund at First Presbyterian Church, 305 East Main Street, Durham NC, 27701 or to the charity of one’s choice.