Dr. Mary Dix McDuffie-Gasper, 60, of Hampstead, passed away on Wednesday, July 3, 2013 at her home. Mary was born in Orlando, Florida on February 26, 1953 to the late Arthur B. Dix and Eunice Holley Dix. A Methodist College Scholar and Magna Cum Laude graduate, Dr. McDuffie served as Executive Director of the North Carolina Center for the Advancement of Teaching until retiring in 2011. She also served as Superintendent of Northampton County Schools, as Assistant Superintendent of Brunswick County Schools, and as Principal of 71st High School in Fayetteville. Dr. McDuffie worked for Educational Testing Services as AP U.S. History Exam Leader for twenty-six years. Throughout her career, she proved invaluable to the State of North Carolina Education System as both an educator and a leader in innovation in the professional development of teachers, demonstrating an understanding of the unique stresses and challenges of the field, and encouraging and empowering teachers to develop as leaders. Mary showed indomitable spirit and remarkable energy, toiling long hours and traveling thousands of miles in the interest of expanding the geographic accessibility of the North Carolina Center for the Advancement of Teaching, where she continued to serve on the Development Board until her untimely death.
In her successful efforts to open a coastal facility on Ocracoke Island, the Center was able not only to expand, but also to flourish as Mary inspired others as she was inspired by her mother. She demonstrated her dedication and innovation in leading NCCAT, making it truly and institution on which the sun rises and sets in North Carolina each day. Throughout her career, Dr. McDuffie displayed extraordinary qualities, ardor for learning, love for education, boundless knowledge, a commitment to public education, and showed uncommon resolution.
She is survived by her husband, Dr. Theodore H. Gasper, Jr; daughter, Melissa Johns; stepson, Ted H. Gasper III of Raleigh; grandchildren, Dylan and Devin of Wilmington; sisters, Sharon Willard, Sherry Carter and Cathy Mims; and brothers, Richard Dix and Chuck Dix, all residing in the Aberdeen area, and many nieces and nephews.
A Funeral Mass will be held at 10:00 a.m. Saturday, July 6, 2013 at St. Mary Catholic Church in Wilmington, NC, with a graveside service at 11:00 a.m., Monday, July 8, 2013 at Pinelawn Memorial Park in Southern Pines, NC.
Memorial donations are requested in lieu of flowers, to be made to the Dr. Mary Dix McDuffie-Gasper Memorial Fund at St. Mary Catholic Church, Wilmington, and addressed to the family at P.O. Box 2652; Surf City, NC 28445.
Condolences may be sent to the family at www.andrews mortuary.com
Andrews Mortuary Market Street Chapel