PINEHURST, NC—Grace Dew (Ward) Philips passed away peacefully on April 27, 2022. Born Grace Joanne Dew on January 11, 1933, in Rocky Mount, NC, to Archibald Rice Dew and Maude McNeill Dew, she graduated from Rocky Mount High School, where she participated in student government, National Honor Society, and dramatic arts, achieving a First Rating in Costuming at the 1950 N.C. Dramatic Festival. After attending Greensboro Women’s College (now UNC-Greensboro), she married Moody Ward and raised four children in her cherished Christian faith in Tarboro, NC.
For much of her adult life, she was a dedicated homemaker. Her children remember falling asleep to the sound of the sewing machine, vacuum cleaner, and the piano. In midlife, she joined the work force at Edgecombe Memorial Hospital, where she taught herself computer skills, newsletter layouts, and quickly rose to become Community Relations Director. She won several national awards for her work in that job. Upon retiring, she married William (Bill) Philips and moved to his beloved Chapel Hill, where they lived an adventurous life until his death five years later. She returned to Rocky Mount, where she pursued her passion for gardening and opened her home to Bible study and prayer groups. More recently she lived in Asheboro, NC and Pinehurst, NC, to be close to her daughters. Wherever she lived, her home was the gathering place for family. She adored her children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren, and they dearly loved her.
She is survived by her children—Michael Hanes Ward of Mt. Pleasant, SC (Trish), Joanne Ward Moffitt of Asheboro, NC (Walker), Susan Ward Sweeley of Southern Pines, NC (Tommy), and Garcy Phillip Ward of Washington, NC (Allison). Grandchildren include Joseph Ward, Bryan Moffitt, Laura Grace (LG) Ward, Meredith Slazas, Lee Rollins, Samantha Ward, Camden Ward, and Brandon Ward. Great grandchildren are John Hanes Slazas, Jackson Patrick Slazas, and Charlotte Hope Moffitt. She was predeceased by her sister, Christine Dew Joyner.
A graveside memorial service will be held at Edgecombe Memorial Park (2879 Hwy 258 S, Tarboro, NC) at 2:00 on Saturday, May 7. A reception will follow at Tarboro First Baptist Church in Tarboro. In lieu of flowers, please consider a memorial in her name to your favorite charity.