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Edith Marie (Doughtie) Warren
January 29, 1937 ~ November 11, 2023 (age 86) 86 Years Old
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Edith Marie Doughtie Warren passed away peacefully on November 11, 2023, at age 86. She rose from a tobacco farm near Mayo’s Crossroads, in Edgecombe County, and became a teacher, leader and woman of firsts: first full-time woman principal and first elementary educator to be principal in Pitt County Schools system; first woman Pitt County Commissioner; and first woman elected to represent District 8 in the NC House, where she served 14 years before her retirement in 2012. Hers was a life of service.
She attended Mayo’s Crossroads School and Bethel High School and graduated third in her class from East Carolina College (now ECU) in 1960. She later earned her master’s degree and pursued doctoral studies at ECU. She taught school in Martin and Pitt Counties and was long-time principal at Sam D. Bundy Elementary School in Farmville. After retiring as principal, she led an after-school program that was a joint effort between Pitt County Schools, United Way, and Public Housing. She served on the Pitt County Board of Commissioners from 1996-98 and was elected to the NC House of Representatives in 1998.
As a leader of the “Fried Chicken Caucus” in the General Assembly, she was instrumental in securing funding for the East Carolina Heart Institute and ECU Dental School, as well as infrastructure and other projects throughout the East. Known as Miss Edith or Mammy, she was a pioneer for women in leadership, an educator, mentor, advocate, surrogate mother/grandmother, and friend to many. She was a champion for Eastern North Carolina and her beloved ECU. She received numerous awards and accolades for her dedication to public service and education, including Pitt County Principal of the Year, Farmville Citizen of the Year, ECU Educators Hall of Fame, and Order of the Long Leaf Pine. As her final act of service, she donated her remains for medical research to benefit others.
Edith was a fabulous cook; her fried chicken and cakes were legendary. She and her husband, Billy, hosted many family gatherings and special events at their home. Edith often said, it’s been a great journey; it’s been a great life. More about her life and legacy are at Documenting the American South, Oral History Interview with Edith Warren, August 28, 2002; She Changed the World. Edith Warren oral history interviews, August 8, 2020 and September 26, 2020; and ECU Digital Collections and Joyner Library.
Edith was predeceased by her parents, James Murray and Elizabeth Downs Doughtie; husband, Billy N. Warren; sister Janice Viti; and brother, James Doughtie. She is survived by her sisters Brenda and Elaine Doughtie; son, Steve Warren (Kendra); daughters, Cathy Warren (Les White) and Lynn Owens (Sid Stanley); grandchildren Steven Warren (Samantha), Matthew Warren (Bailey), Jessica Smith (Justin), and Caroline Owens; great-granddaughters Rachel Warren and Olivia Thomas; special nieces Alisa Bryant and Debbie Viti; numerous nieces and nephews. Additional family includes Sarah and Eric Massey and children Clay, Lyndan, and Emma Claire; Becky Alves (Antonio) and daughters, Shannon and Emili; Nancy Johnson and son, Thomas; Sara Beth and Donald Rhodes and daughters, Lillie and Ellie; David McKnight and son, Kye; Faye and Eddie Dozier.
Special thanks to her caregivers Sarah Massey, Faye Peterson, and Becky Alves; Dr. Lee Pippin and staff at Physicians East; ECU Heart Failure Clinic; nurses and therapists with CenterWell home health; Dr. Tae Lee with ECU Palliative Care; special nurse Aaron Brinn and all the doctors, nurses and staff at ECU Heart Center and Palliative Care who cared for her in her final months.
A celebration of life will be held on Saturday, November 18 at First Baptist Church in Farmville. Visitation will begin at noon, and the service will follow at 2:00.
In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to ECU Heart Institute, ECU Dental School or First Baptist Church, Farmville. Advocate for hospice resources. Register to vote, then do it.
First Baptist Church
3653 E Wilson St.
Farmville, NC 27828
ECU Heart Institute
115 Heart Dr.
Greenville, NC 27834
ECU School of Dental Medicine
1851 MacGregor Downs Rd.
Greenville, NC 27834