Fannie Pecolia Dixon Leak entered into the presence of the Lord on Monday, February 16, 2015, 7:26 PM, at the First Health Hospice and Palliative Care in Pinehurst, North Carolina, surrounded by her children. Pecolia was born the second daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Jackson and Odessa Dixon of Lilesville, NC, on September 23, 1924.
Pecolia joined Centenary AME Zion Church in Lilesville, NC at a young age. As her parents and older sister, Pearlie, she was very active in church. Pecolia loved Centenary because of its rich history in service to God. The church was built in the 1700’s. Her grandfather, Rev. Jim Dixon, was the pastor of the church at one time. At Centenary and throughout Anson County and Richmond County, Pecolia sang with her father, sister Pearlie, and cousin, Frank—who was like a brother, in a quartet called the Silvertones. In her years after retirement and illnesses, Pecolia attended church at the First Baptist Church in Chapel Hill, NC, with her daughter, Josephine, and son-in-law, Carroll.
Pecolia entered school at the age of five. She graduated at the age of 16 from Henry Grove School when the eleventh grade was the highest grade level to reach. Thanks to her Aunt Golda Mae, her father’s sister, Pecolia and her sister Pearlie, attended 12th grade at a Boarding School in Wadesboro, NC. Following the 12th grade boarding school experience, Pecolia trained in the youth program, National Youth Administration (NYA), started by President Franklin Delano Roosevelt. NYA was a program for youth, ages 16-25, during the 1940’s, who wanted to further their education. After four months of training in the NYA, Pecolia was sent to Portsmith, Virginia to be trained further as an electrician who would work on the ships at the Norfolk Navy Yard in Virginia. Joining other “Rosie the Riveters” during the 1940’s, Pecolia worked for two years on ships at the Norfolk Navy Yard, spending most of her time on the USS Shangri-La. In this ship, she crawled around the various compartments in the ship to help with light fixtures and lay cables for the ship. Pecolia took some of the money she earned as a “Rosie the Riveter to purchase the home in Pee Dee, NC, and some to go to college.
After the “Rosie the Riveter” years, Pecolia attended Elizabeth City Teachers College in Elizabeth City (ECTC), NC for one year. She trained initially to become a teacher like her Aunt Golda Mae Dixon, Aunt Mary Ratliff, and other relatives in the Dixon and Ratliff families. After completing one year at ECTC, she worked in the cafeteria in Anson County Hospital during the summer to pay for her second year at ECTS. There she met the love of her life, Mr. Fletcher Thomas Leak of Wadesboro, NC.
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Pecolia joined in holy matrimony with Fletcher T. Leak on November 14, 1947. In this union, eight children were conceived, with one dying before birth: Fletcher Thomas Jr., Josephine, Andrew, Gaston, Tonye, Ricardo, and Linda. Pecolia and her family lived in many places in North Carolina and Virginia, finally settling in her home town of Pee Dee, NC in 1959, with her seven children. In addition to raising her children, she also helped her mother and father raise her nephew, Richard, who she considered one of her sons.
It was in 1959, Pecolia discovered her love of nursing. She started at the Wadesboro Nursing Home in Wadesboro, NC as a nurse assistant. Several years in this role, she went back to school at Anson Technical Community College, in Anson County in her late forties, earning a degree in nursing. She passed the state nursing exam at the first attempt. She worked as a nurse at the Anson County Hospital (Wadesboro), Charlotte Memorial Hospital, Presbyterian Hospital (Charlotte), Carolina Medical Hospital (Charlotte), and Union County Hospital (Monroe). The majority of her nursing career, almost 40 years, was done at the Wadesboro Nursing Home, now Ambassador Living Center, in Wadesboro, NC. Pecolia retired from nursing at the age of 74.
Civically, Pecolia was actively involved in advocating for the needs of her community, the Pee Dee section of Lilesville, in terms of water and sewer services, garbage pick-up, better streets and roads, more secure mail boxes, and better housing. She was responsible for helping with a HUD Grant that refurbished many of the homes in Pee Dee.
Along with her parents who preceded her in death, are her husband, Fletcher Thomas Leak, Sr; son, Rev. Fletcher Thomas Leak, Jr.; daughter, Tonye Leak Gaddy. She leaves to cherish her memory, five children, Rev. Dr. Josephine Leak Harris (Carroll) of Chapel Hill-Carrboro, NC; Andrew Jackson Leak of the home in Pee Dee, NC; Gaston Julius Leak (Pat) of Cary, NC; Rev. Ricardo Leak (Mary) of Lilesville, NC; and, Minister Linda Pecolia Leak Russell (Herman) of Hamlet, NC. She also leaves a special nephew who is like a son, Richard Dixon (Gerri) of Belleville, Michigan; twenty-five grandchildren, eleven great grandchildren, and five great-great grandchildren; two aunts, Janice Ratliff of Morven, NC and Frances Ratliff of Morven, NC; and a host of relatives and friends.