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Mary Anne (Bass) Upchurch
November 23, 1934 ~ July 2, 2023 (age 88) 88 Years Old
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Mary Anne Bass Upchurch was born in Durham, North Carolina on November 23, 1934. She left her earthly body on Sunday, July 2, 2023 surrounded by her loving family and friends in Reidsville just two weeks after celebrating her 65th wedding anniversary. A Memorial Service will be conducted at 2:00 PM Wednesday, July 5, 2023, at First Baptist Church with Dr. Lance Cole officiating, The family will see friends immediately following the service in the church fellowship hall.
Mary Anne was born and grew up in Durham, NC where she was very active at St. Philips Episcopal Church. After graduating from Durham High School in 1953, she attended the Women’s College (now UNC-G) where she obtained her business degree. She made her debut in Durham and at the North Carolina Terpsichorean Society.
She met the love of her life and best friend – Gilbert Rivers Upchurch Sr. (Rivers)– in 1956 and they married in 1958 one week after they both graduated from college. They made a home in Chapel Hill where he completed Dental School. She was hired as the secretary for the UNC-Chapel Hill Educational Foundation (Rams Club) in 1958. In 1962, the family moved to Camp Lejuene, NC where Rivers was a Naval officer attached to the Fleet Marine Force. During the Cuban Missile Crisis, Rivers was on a ship nearing Cuba when his Aunt Floy Rivers Overton shared with Mary Anne that “a family that prays together – stays together.” Mary Anne was inspired to go to Smithfield, NC (Rivers’ hometown) to be baptized and join the Baptist Church. In 1964, they moved to Reidsville to start a dental practice and to raise two children. They could not predict what a wonderful life they would have among such amazing family and friends when they first arrived.
Mary Anne was beautiful on the inside and out. In fact, during her college years, she was runner-up to Miss Consolidated University (several colleges). She was a nurturing soul and often shared her cooking talents with the people she cared for – friends and strangers. She also found great joy being a member of the Reidsville Council of Garden Clubs, the Tuesday Afternoon Reading Club, the Junior Service League, and Bridge Clubs. She loved her First Baptist Church family and served on numerous committees through the years. In addition, she served on the Board of the Reidsville YMCA and volunteered with the Annie Penn Hospital Foundation. She was also engaged with the Reidsville Chapter of Daughters of the Revolution, and served as President the Reidsville Garden Club, the Junior League, and the Tuesday Afternoon Reading Club.
While Mary Anne was humble, she would sing high praises for her family – accentuating their accomplishments. She never wanted to take any credit for lifting them up so that they could focus and excel in their careers and life. However, it was her constant and abiding belief in their potential that has been the wind beneath their wings.
Mary Anne was predeceased by her beloved mother and father of Durham – Arch and Anne Bass and her dear brother and his wife – Arch, Jr. and Betty Bass, also of Durham. In addition to her husband Rivers, Mary Anne leaves behind a son – Gilbert Rivers Upchurch, Jr. (Gib) and wife Nancy of Gainesville, FL and a daughter – Eugenia Anne Upchurch (Gina) of Durham. She is survived by three grandsons whom she adored – Gilbert Rivers Upchurch, III (Beckley, WV), Malcolm Walker Upchurch (Charlottesville, VA), and Joseph Hartwell Upchurch (Los Angeles, CA). She also leaves behind dear in-laws, nieces, nephews, and cousins. “Gran-Gran” was at her best during trips to Litchfield Beach and doting on her family as well as with friends and out-smarting them in card games.
The family thanks so many for the tender loving care shown to Mary Anne and Rivers over the last few months in particular. You know who you are and you have shown us the face of God by your acts of kindness.
In lieu of flowers, the family asks that you make a donation to the charity of your choice. If able, go visit someone who needs support and take them something to eat.
Citty Funeral Home is assisting the Upchurch family and online condolences may be made at www.cittyfh.com