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Sept. 25, 1924 — April 4, 2019
SPRING HOPE — Nellie Bartholomew Pace, 94, died Thursday, April 4, 2019, at Transitions Life Care Center in Raleigh surrounded by family.
Nellie Mae Bartholomew was born to Agnes Egolia Brantley and James Willis Bartholomew Sr. on Sept. 25, 1924, in the country (close to White Oak) outside of Nashville on a tenant farm. She was the sixth of nine children. She first attended elementary school at Dean’s School, a four-room country school. There were four rooms total with two grades in each class. There were three teachers and an outside toilet. Those were the days when Sears catalogs were very important! Nellie was an excellent student and always enjoyed math and reading.
At age 21, while working at the Spring Hope Drug Store, she met the love of her life, Maurice William Pace. He was a younger man of only 17. Even though he did not own a vehicle, he seemed to show up almost every day wherever she was — working on the farm, working at the drug store or out with a friend. After a whirlwind romance, and immediately after Maurice turned 18, he asked her dad (much to the embarrassment of Nellie) for her hand in marriage. They married April 7, 1945. In July 1945, Maurice joined the Army. World War II soon ended and Maurice returned home after three months. They lived in various places around Nash County as well as in Raleigh, where Nellie worked at Walton’s Pharmacy and Maurice worked at Pine State Creamery. Later in 1953, they moved to Newport News, Virginia, where Maurice took a job as an electrician for aircraft carriers at the Newport News Ship Yard. Nellie was proud to be a stay-at-home mom to her 3-year-old daughter, Vickie, and in 1956 welcomed a son, Kenneth Maurice. In 1969, due to Maurice’s declining health, they moved back to Nash County where they ran a country store outside of Bailey until 1977. Nellie worked side by side with Maurice every day. They sold the store in 1977 to enjoy retirement. Unfortunately Maurice passed away three short months later while on a trip to Key West, Florida.
At 52 years of age, after being out of the public workforce for many years, Nellie had to return to work. She was employed by Nash County Schools and worked at Spring Hope Elementary in the cafeteria for 15 years, retiring just in time to welcome her great-grandchildren and another grandchild. Nellie was a big part of her grandchildren’s and great-grandchildren’s lives, supporting them and their families in many ways. She was an energetic, fun-loving grandmother who kept a range of toys at her home and was always ready to get down on the floor and play or jump in the car for a family trip. In 2011, after her daughter Vickie had a major stroke, Nellie moved to Cary to live with her son, Kenneth and wife Pam. She loved reading, especially mystery books, working in her flowers and checking on her family and friends on Facebook. She enjoyed conversation and loved to laugh.
Nellie was preceded in death by her husband of 31 years, Maurice William Pace. Also preceding her in death were five sisters, Agnes Green, Ruby Purkerson, Mattie English, Vivian Murray and Mildred Green; as well as two brothers, Vernon Dick Bartholomew and James Willis Bartholomew Jr.
She leaves behind to honor her memory two children, Vickie Stainback and Kenneth Pace, and wife, Pam; three grandchildren, Patrick Mullen, Tonya Hadley, and husband, Ronnie and Zachary Pace, and wife, Crystal; six great-grandchildren, Brandon Mullen, Westley Mullen, Emily Mullen, Katelyn Williams and husband, Cody, Brittany Hadley and Courtney Hadley; and one great-great-grandchild, Easton Williams.
She also leaves behind one surviving brother, Joe Bartholomew, who for many years has encouraged and supported her and faithfully helped her care for her home, as well as many nieces and nephews, great-nieces and great-nephews who have loved her as a second mom.
Visitation with the family was held at Lancaster Funeral Home, 804 N. Bickett Blvd., Louisburg, on Sunday, April 7, followed by a celebration of life service at 4 p.m. Online condolences can be directed to lancasterfcs.com.