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Arnita Harrell

September 19, 1921 ~ July 24, 2018 (age 96)


Arnita Baker Harrell passed away peacefully at home on July 24, 2018, surrounded by her family, who loved her with all their hearts.

She was born September 19, 1921 at Holdens Cross Roads to James H. and Nancy Baker. She dearly loved all her siblings: James, Thomas, Marvin, Roy, Nellie and Rochelle.

She graduated from Gardners High School in 1938. On March 24, 1940, a snowy Easter Sunday, she married the love of her life, Clayton Harrell, Jr. Together, they made a home in Macclesfield, NC, where Nita lived for 76 years. Nita was raised on a farm, and she married a farmer, sharing 55 years of marriage with Clayton, Jr. They welcomed their pride and joy, Myrna Ruth, and their family was complete.

Nita worked in the Edgecombe County school system for a total of 41 years. For 32 of those years, she fed countless children as manager of school system cafeterias. She was active at the state level in NC School Food Service Association, serving as secretary. She is best remembered among Macclesfield Elementary and South Edgecombe High School students for her homemade rolls and vegetable beef soup.

One of Nita’s greatest joys was her church. She and Clayton, Jr. joined Macclesfield Presbyterian Church together in 1947, and at the time of her death, she was the oldest living member. She devoted countless hours to her church, serving as an Elder, Sunday School teacher, women of the church leader, and self-appointed social chairwoman. Very few events happened in the church where Nita was not in the middle of it all, supervising and working. Her passions included flower arranging and, especially in retirement, cake decorating and catering. Nita is known far and wide for her home cooking and cake decorating skills, having baked and decorated cakes for brides and grooms across the years and miles. She was a member of the Edgecombe County Home Demonstration Club in Macclesfield, and the Macclesfield Woman’s Club. She was a crackerjack seamstress who sewed clothes for her daughter, granddaughter, and great-granddaughters. Nita Harrell was, above all, a worker; she never remembered a day of not wanting to go to work.

Nita was predeceased by her husband, Clayton Harrell, Jr., and her son-in-law, Wayne Truscott.

She is survived by her daughter, Myrna Harrell Truscott; her granddaughters, Karen Edwards, Lauren Truscott, and Kimberly Temple (Fleet); and her great-grandchildren, Suzanne McLean, Katherine McLean, Booker Temple, and Scotty Temple; and by her sisters, Nellie Cross and Rochelle Walston (James).

She is also survived by her loving neighbors and family, Jack and Brinkley Harrell, and their children.

Nita’s family thanks and loves her faithful caregivers Nancy, Elsie, Evelyn, Gertie, and Lisa.

The family will receive friends at Macclesfield Presbyterian Church on Thursday evening, July 26, 2018 from 5 to 7 pm. Burial will be private. A Service of Witness to the Resurrection will take place on Friday, July 27, 2018 at 11:00a.m. at Howard Memorial Presbyterian Church, Tarboro, NC, with the Rev. Dr. Robert Franklin Bardin and the Rev. Cam Coburn officiating. Pallbearers are Jay Harrell, James Cross, James Walston, Austin Harrell, Nicholas Harrell, Donald Harrell, Tyler Harrell, Clif Deal, Daniel Harrell and Roy Baker. Honorary pallbearers are Don Webb, Earl Rose, Trey Lewis, James Corbett and Phil Ellis.

In lieu of flowers, please send memorial gifts in Nita’s memory to Macclesfield Presbyterian Church, P.O. Box 247, Macclesfield, NC, 27852.

Arrangements are by Carlisle Funeral Home, Inc., of Tarboro. Online condolences may be directed to the family by visiting

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