Mary Poole

Obituary of Mary Poole

Mary Elizabeth Poole, 1914-2017.

After more than 102 years, The Lord took Mary Elizabeth Poole home on August 30, 2017.

Mary Elizabeth was born in Troy on October 20, 1914 to Mr. Robert Terrill Poole and Mrs. Bessie Pulliam Poole. She was the first of their four daughters, followed by Helen and twins Nell and Madge.

Mary Elizabeth grew up in Troy and spent many summers with her sisters packing peaches at their father’s orchard. She graduated from Troy High School in 1931, Duke University in 1935 and the University of North Carolina School of Library Science in 1936.

She worked at the libraries of Duke and Virginia Tech before joining the staff of the D.H. Hill Library at North Carolina State University in 1945. There, she gained national notoriety for her work with government documents.

In Isaac T. Littleton’s book, “The D.H. Hill Library, an Informal History 1887 – 1987,” she has her own section: Mary Elizabeth Poole and the Government Documents Department. “Mary Elizabeth Poole, head of the government documents department, became known nationally as ‘The Documents Librarian’s Documents Librarian’ because of her work in publishing monumental indices to government publications, indispensable tools in documents work.” Mary Elizabeth’s awards for her documents work included the 1978 James Bennett Childs Award, the highest honor the American Library Association can bestow on a documents librarian, the Distinguished Alumni Award from the UNC School of Information and Library Science in 1981, and the Watauga Medal for contributions to North Carolina State in 1982.

Mary Elizabeth retired in 1980, and the documents collection was regarded as one of the most complete and best organized in the United States.

In Troy, Mary Elizabeth was a lifelong member of Trinity United Methodist Church where she taught second grade Sunday school for years and served as the church archivist, even after becoming a resident at Autumn Care in Biscoe.

Mary Elizabeth was an avid doll collector and member of the Duke and Duchess Doll Club. Her dolls are, of course, meticulously catalogued. She also enjoyed photography and ceramics.

She was preceded in death by her parents and her sisters: Helen Poole, Nell Poole Morris, and Madge Poole Copley.

She is survived by two nieces and a nephew: Janet Helen Morris Garner and her husband, Phil, of Wetumpka, Alabama; Karen Elizabeth Copley Ridenour and her husband, Dan, of Newport News Virginia; and Richard Alden Copley, and his wife, Kathryn, of Lexington, Kentucky. She is also survived by two great nieces, Virginia Ridenour Southgate and Caroline Nell Copley, and three great-nephews, Benjamin Ridenour, Samuel Ridenour, and Christopher Copley.

She is survived by one great-great niece Audrey Luann Ridenour.

Visitation will be held on Tuesday, September 5, 2017 at 1:00 PM at Trinity United Methodist Church, 239 N. Russell St., Troy, NC  27371.  Funeral Service will follow at 2:00 PM, with the Rev. J. Scott Finicum officiating.  Burial will be in Southside Cemetery, Troy, NC. 

Condolences may be made at

Pugh-Troy Funeral Home is serving the Poole family.