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Merwin Sharpe ”Bill” Canaday

Merwin Sharpe “Bill” Canaday, 91, of Four Oaks, NC peacefully passed away Friday, December 19, 2014 at his residence after a period of declining health.

Born in Four Oaks, Bill was the second son of Ralph Clarence Canaday and Onie Lewis Canaday.

Bill chose his father’s profession and alma mater. In 1944 he graduated from UNC-Chapel Hill with a BS in Pharmacy. While in pharmacy school, he served as a member of the NC Pharmaceutical Association, Pharmacy Senate and Phi Delta Chi fraternity.

Following graduation Bill joined his father as a pharmacist with Four Oaks Drug Co. In 1969, he assumed sole ownership. Over the years he provided internships for pharmacy students. Bill enjoyed his relationships with fellow members of NC Mutual Wholesale Drug Co., NC Pharmaceutical Association, and the Johnston County Drug Club. For over 60 years Bill practiced hometown independent pharmacy with the support of his customers and community.

His love of sports was evident at Four Oaks High School where he played basketball and baseball as well as American Legion baseball. At UNC-CH he played baseball his freshman year. He remained an avid Tar Heel sports fan. While at UNC-CH he began a lifelong love of playing golf. The highlight of his golf career occurred when he won the Country Club of Johnston County championship in 1971.

Bill’s relationship as a board member with Four Oaks Bank and Trust began in 1967 as a bank director. In 1969 he became President of the bank. Twenty years later he became Chairman of the Board. He served in that capacity until his 2006 retirement when he was honored as Chairman Emeritus.

Bill was an active member of First Baptist Church of Four Oaks throughout his life. There he served as a Sunday School teacher and as a choir member. He volunteered as treasurer for the local library. Bill also was involved in the UNC-CH Alumni Association, Four Oaks Rotary Club and Four Oaks Chamber of Commerce. He was honored as the local Chamber’s 2005 recipient for Citizen of the Year.

Bill fell in love with Elizabeth Floyd whom he affectionately called “Lib”. Together they enjoyed their family, friends and community life. They also loved growing roses and giving them away to others.

Bill was preceded in death by his wife, Elizabeth, of over 50 years , his parents, his older brother, Ralph Clarence Canaday Jr and infant younger brother. Bill is survived by his four daughters: June (Don) West of Burlington, Jean (Darryl) Reader of Clemmons, JoAnn (Peter) Williams of Charlotte and Jennifer (David) Smith of Graham. He is survived by 11 grandchildren: Rich (Felicity) West, Jennifer(Chris) West Wilkerson, Catherine (Alex)French, Michael Wilson, Mary (Will) Crane, Ashley (Todd) Nebeker, Elizabeth (Jordan) Willison, Jonathan (Danielle) Williams, Jessica (John) Bigelow, Sara (Tyler) Amos and Brian Smith. There are also 11 great grandchildren. His younger brother, Maurice Lewis Canaday (Carolyn) resides in Lincolnton and his sister-in-law, Laura Faye Canaday, lives in Four Oaks.

Visitation will be held on Friday night, December 26, 2014 from 6:00 until 8:00 in the Fellowship Hall at First Baptist Church, 403 North Main Street, Four Oaks. A service celebrating the life of Bill will take place on Saturday, December 27 at 2:00 pm at First Baptist Church, Four Oaks. The Rev. John Norman will be officiating. Burial will follow at Four Oaks Cemetery.

…..The family would like to thank the following caregivers for their devoted care of Bill: Betty Jo Adams, Angela Spaulding, Susan Brown, Gloria Bonner and Gale Hendricks.

….. In lieu of flowers the family suggests memorial contributions to the following: the Bill Canaday Scholarship Fund, c/o UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy Foundation, Campus Box 7296, Chapel Hill, NC 27517; First Baptist Church of Four Oaks, PO Box 717, Four Oaks, NC 27524; or James Bryan Creech Public Library, c/o Tim Grady, PO Box 880, Four Oaks, NC 27524. Online condolences may be made at

A Service of West & Dunn Funeral Home, Benson.