Mary Sue Noe, 88, formerly of Morehead City and resident of Greensboro for the last 6 years,
passed away on December 21st after a brief stay at Beacon Place. She moved to Greensboro in
2012 to be near “her girls” and to receive care and support related to Alzheimer’s Disease. Mary
Sue was the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Edwin W. Tenney, Senior (Julia Parker Tenney) and grew
up in Carteret County. While in college, Mary Sue won the title of Miss Morehead City and
competed in the Miss North Carolina Pageant. She graduated from UNC-Chapel Hill, Phi Beta
Kappa, in 1952 and returned home to marry Thomas Levi Noe, her beloved husband of 60 years.
Tommy and Mary Sue met at Tommy Noe and Elmer Nelson’s restaurant, the
Double-N-Drive-In, where she worked as a carhop. Mary Sue taught English and Social Studies
at Beaufort High School prior to becoming a mother.
In 1961 Mrs. Noe served as Worthy Matron of the Eastern Star. She became the first woman to
serve 5 consecutive years as President of the Morehead City Woman’s Club. While President,
she was awarded the District 12 Bryant Citizenship Award. She also served as PTA President,
worked on advisory committees and served on the Development Education Council.
Mary Sue was a dedicated member of the First United Methodist Church of Morehead City. Over
the years, she chaired the Administrative Board, the Finance Committee, the Stewardship
Committee, and the Board of Trustees. She was an active member of the United Methodist
Women, taught Sunday school, and volunteered wherever she was needed by the church.
In 1974, Mary Sue was the first woman elected to the Board of Carteret County Commissioners.
In her second term in office, she made history again as the first woman elected as Chair of the
Board. During her tenure projects that benefited the entire community included the building of
the Crystal Coast Civic Center, historic restoration work on the Carteret County Courthouse, and
numerous other initiatives. The Carteret County Community Foundation was created during her
tenure; she served on its Board of Trustees for many years.
Mary Sue was a role model for those who accept civic responsibility. She was the first woman
to serve as a member and then Chairperson of the Carteret County Board of Elections. She
served as the Chairperson for the Board of Directors for Salvation Army and served on the Board
of Directors for the League of Women Voters. In 2004, the League of Women Voters of Carteret
County designated Mary Sue as “Woman Extraordinaire!” for her dedication and service.
Mary Sue prioritized the well-being of her community. She was a strong advocate for women
and children and for social causes and education. Her connections with friends and family
endured throughout her lifetime; neighbors on Yaupon Terrace were especially dear to her heart.
Kindness, thoughtfulness, and wisdom were hallmarks of her way of caring for the world.
She was preceded in death by her parents and her husband “Tommy”; her brothers Edwin W.
Tenney Jr. and Jerry B. Tenney.
Mary Sue is survived by her daughters, Melanie Noe Woodard and husband Robert, Aprille Noe
Black and husband Keith, all of Greensboro, and Mary Thomas Noe Gilbert and husband
Richard of Burlington; grandchildren, Thomas Byrd, Melissa Byrd, Seth Woodard and wife
Gina, Schaum Flowers, Sarah Hooker and husband Brian, Courtney Black and husband Marshall
Camp, Britton Black and wife Simone, Allie Black Kelly and husband Ryan, Rick Gilbert,
Tanner Gilbert, and Maxton Gilbert; and great-grandchildren, Belle Rose and Daisy Camp, Noe
and Nora Black, Tadhg and Maya Kelly, Henry and Walker Hooker, and Hendrix Flowers; and
numerous beloved nieces and nephews. Her beloved cousin Sibyl Telfian of Richmond holds a
special place as a “sister” to Mary Sue.
The family would like to express deep gratitude to the incredible staff of Vera Spring at
Abbotswood who have cared for Mary Sue with great skill and kindness.
In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to First United Methodist Church of
Morehead City, Crystal Coast Habitat for Humanity, or donate to a charity supporting the longterm
rebuilding efforts following Hurricane Florence in eastern NC.
A celebration of Mary Sue’s life will be held at Westminster Presbyterian Church, Greensboro,
NC on Saturday, January 5th at 2 o’clock. For all who knew her in Morehead City, a memorial
service and interment will be held the following Saturday, January 12th at 1 o’clock at First
United Methodist Church.