Mary Elizabeth Piner Cavanaugh, of Rose Hill, NC, passed away peacefully at her home surrounded by family on Monday, September 21, 2020, at the age of 95 after a brief period of declining health. She was born on September 3, 1925 to the late Archie Henry Piner and Mary Den Rivenbark Piner of Willard, NC. She grew up in Willard and graduated from Penderlea High School. After graduation and living in Wilmington, NC briefly she met and married R.W. “Billy” Roberts II of Hampstead, NC with whom she had two children. In 1957 she married Arthur Ross “Cateye” Cavanaugh of Rose Hill with whom she shared fifty-four years of marriage and four children.
Mary was a matriarch of the Rose Hill community and beloved by everyone who met and knew her. She was affectionately known by many different names including Mother Mary, Miss Mary, Mary Cateye, The Avon Lady, Grandma and the most beloved of all…Mama. Mary built her life in Rose Hill around her love for working along-side Cateye in his family’s evergreen business. Traveling with Cateye “up the road” with the evergreens unlocked a whole new lifelong passion of buying and selling used clothes and furniture. Their first venture in this was Mary & Cat’s Thrift Store, a landmark in the community in those days. It’s hard to run into someone from that generation without a memory, a story, or a purchase from “Mary & Cat’s”. In later life Mary worked at J.P. Stevens, sold Avon, and worked alongside her daughter in her day care business. She is well-known locally for her delicious fruit cakes. Mary grew in her faith as a member of the Rose Hill PFWB church where she was known for opening her home to pastors and friends for Christian fellowship that is still cherished by many in the community. This formed a lifetime of Christian faith and friendships that grew and sustained her through life. This was never more evident than in her later years as shown in her dedication to her son’s ministry at Genesis Church.
She is preceded in death by her parents, her husband, and six siblings, Robert Piner, Edith Padgett, Lorene Stevens, Luke Jamon Piner, David Piner, and Thelma Malpass. She is survived by one beloved sister Martha Rivenbark of Wallace, NC and six children, Faye Roberts Morales (Paul) of Houston, TX, R.W. “Bobby” Roberts III (Judy) of Harrells, NC, Elizabeth “Libby” Ross Cavanaugh of Rose Hill, NC, Marsha Cavanaugh Ellis (Frank) of Rose Hill, NC, Ross Cavanaugh (Stephanie) of Rose Hill, NC and Mary Suzanna Cavanaugh of Atlanta, GA. She was blessed to be survived by seven grandchildren, six great grandchildren and four great-great grandchildren while unfortunately knowing the sorrow of the untimely death of a grandson and great grandson. She also leaves behind a host of nephews and nieces who loved their Aunt Mary dearly.
Due to Covid-19, there will not be traditional visitation. However, Mrs. Cavanuagh will lie in state for the public to come by and pay their respects from 10:00a.m. to 3:00p.m. on Saturday, September 26 at Quinn-McGowen Funeral Home Wallace. The family welcomes friends to Mary's home on Sunday, September 27, 2020 from 2:00p.m. to 5:00p.m.
A private family graveside service will be held at 11:00 a.m. on Monday, September 28, 2020 at Riverview Memorial Park Mausoleum with the Reverend David Smith, the Reverend Bill Altman and the Reverend Ross Cavanaugh officiating.
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Quinn-McGowen Funeral Home of Wallace is serving the Cavanaugh family. 910-285-4005
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