Mrs. Mary Elizabeth Sampson Irvin, 87, passed away peacefully at her home in Greensboro, NC surrounded by her family on August 25, 2019. A funeral service to celebrate her life will be at 11 AM, Friday, August 30 at First Presbyterian Church with Reverend Neil Dunnavant officiating. A private interment will be held. The family will receive friends from 5:00 to 7:30 pm, Thursday at Hanes-Lineberry N. Elm chapel and also following the service in the Virginia Gilmer Room.
Mary Elizabeth was born in Greensboro to the late Herman Arthur and Helen Rogers Sampson. She graduated from Greensboro (Grimsley) High School in 1949 where she was 1st Chair trumpet in the highly-touted Symphony and Marching Bands. She was in Girl Scouts, Mariner Scouts, and being heavily influenced by World War II, was a leader with Junior Commandos raising money and collecting scrap metal sent off to support the US Troops. At Women’s College (WC – now UNCG) she again was 1st chair trumpet in the band and led her own band, The Darlinettes, as well. She graduated in 1953 with a B.S. degree in Business. She was a high school teacher and also played trumpet in the Greensboro Symphony.
In 1953 she married Charles Watson Irvin, Jr., her junior high school sweetheart. Mary Elizabeth was a life-long active member of First Presbyterian Church, and was on numerous committees and a member of the Agape Sunday school class. For the past 85 years she has rarely missed church and Sunday school. She loved her country and was a proud supporter of the Republican Party (local, state and federal). Thus she served them in endless ways. She had several significant appointments by Governor James Martin in North Carolina and U.S. President Ronald Reagan for the nation. She and Charlie hosted numerous functions at their home to promote and further the causes of the Republican Party. She believed in supporting her community as well. For more than 60 years she was a member of the Greensboro Country Club, as well as Greensboro Symphony, Euterpe Music Club and endless other volunteer organizations.
Mary was a loving wife, supporting and caring mother, indulging “Grandma” and loyal sister and daughter. Her sons will remember that she took time to play golf and tennis with them and never missed cheering them on at various sporting events. She was a true family leader with endless energy, instilling the importance of God, family and community. There was never an end to her willingness and commitment to give more to others. Her positive outlook on life, traits of a true Southern lady and generous spirit will be part of her character her family will treasure. Her grandchildren and great-grandchildren brought immense joy to her life and she took them on many trips to the beach. She and Charlie also had the opportunity to travel to many parts of the world.
Mrs. Irvin was preceded in death by her husband of 61 years, Charles Watson Irvin, Jr.; brother, Herman A. Sampson, Jr. and wife Nell and her brother-in-law, Milton Pittman. She is survived by her sons and their wives, Dr. Alan and Laura Irvin and David and Alicia Irvin; sisters, Martha S. Best and husband David, Shirley Pittman; grandchildren, Christopher F. Irvin and wife Lauren of Greensboro, Charles D. Irvin and wife Lisa of Durham, Ashley D. Irvin of Raleigh, Haley I. Thomas and husband Colton of Knoxville, TN, Taylor T. Irvin and fiancé, Elaina Dove of Raleigh, Allyson P. Irvin of Asheville; great-grandsons David M. Irvin and Bennett T. Irvin and great-granddaughter Abigail M. Irvin all of Durham; and numerous nieces and nephews.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to First Presbyterian Church, 617 North Elm Street, Greensboro, NC 27401 or Greensboro Symphony Orchestra, 200 North Davie Street, #301, Greensboro, NC 27401. Online condolences may be made to haneslineberryfhnorthelm.com.