Leona Peterson Parrish, age 91, of Smithfield passed away on Friday, May 22, 2015 following a period of declining health. Born in Delco, NC on December 10, 1923, she was the daughter of the late Johnnie Hilburn and Nellie Lennon Peterson. She was also preceded in death by her husband, Benjamin Lacy Parrish, Sr., three brothers, John, Wateous, and Calvin and her five sisters, Juanita, Viola, Edna, Madelyn and Vernel.
Mrs. Parrish attended Lees-McRae Junior College before transferring to Wake Forest where she graduated Summa Cum Laude with a degree in Education. She began a 43 year teaching career at Meadow School, going on to serve longest as a high school English teacher at Smithfield High and then Smithfield Selma High schools. She was honored as a Living Legend by Johnston County Schools to acknowledge her many contributions to education in our county.
The family will receive friends in Ryberg Hall at First Baptist Church, 202 S. 4th St. Smithfield, NC, at 2pm on Sunday May 24, 2015, with funeral services following at 3:00 PM in the church sanctuary. Burial will follow in Sunset Memorial Park.
Surviving are her children, Phyllis Peterson Parrish of Laurinburg, NC, Lacey Parrish Barnes and her husband, Larry, of Clayton, NC and son Benjamin Lacy Parrish, Jr. and his wife, Cindy, of Smithfield; grandchildren, Wil Barnes and his wife, Paige, of Pine Level, Eliza Barnes Burgess and her husband, Paul, of Smithfield, Ben, Caroline and Blake Parrish of Smithfield; great-grandchildren, Wilmond and Finley Barnes of Pine Level and Steven Burgess of Smithfield.
In lieu of flowers, contributions in Leona’s memory may be made to the Johnston County Library or to First Baptist Church Smithfield.
Condolences may be sent to the family at parrishfh.com