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Ledger Norris Harrell died at home on February 12, 2024 as a result of glioblastoma multiforme, a devastating and aggressive terminal brain cancer. He was 69 years old.
Norris was born on May 20th, 1954 in Tarboro, N.C. to Ledger Clark and Virginia Dare Anderson Harrell. In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by an infant brother, Teddy Wright Harrell.
Norris was raised on the family farm in Macclesfield, NC with his siblings and surrounded by an extended close-knit family including many loved aunts, uncles, and cousins. He was prepared well to live an honorable life by his strong, traditional, upbringing. He learned the values of honesty, respect, and hard work by listening and working alongside his father, for whom he had the utmost respect.
As a youngster and teenager, he enjoyed riding horses, in particular, barrel racing. His mother nicknamed him “Stoney” after the main character in an early 1960’s television show, Stoney Brooke. He enjoyed bringing home trophies from local rodeos on Saturday nights. He graduated near the top of his class from South Edgecombe High School in 1972, and North Carolina State University in 1976 with a Bachelor of Science in Agronomy.
After a brief undertaking in fertilizer sales and several exuberant years living in Greenville, NC, Norris returned to Macclesfield and began his passionate career as a farmer. He raised hogs for some time, but tobacco, corn, soybeans, and cotton were the main focuses of his farming operation. In 1983, with 22 other US agriculture leaders, he embarked on a 2000-mile trek across the agronomic regions of Brazil to study that country’s rapidly diversifying agricultural economy.
Norris, an uncomplicated and genuine man, was a respected farmer, both by his peers and those who worked for him. He did not ask an employee to do a job he would not do himself. He was meticulous in his work, always covering every angle. He kept extensive hand-written records and recorded a massive amount of notes which he analyzed fervently. As soon as one season was over, he was immediately planning and preparing for the next.
Norris restored the old “Speight House” in Macclesfield which was built in 1911 and later purchased by his grandfather, Clayton Harrell and inherited by his father. He rebuilt the home over the course of a decade, completing most of the work with his own hands. Norris and Teresa moved into the residence in January of 1985 and lived there together until his death. As their family grew to include four children, he decided the residence needed to be larger, so he architected and built an addition which connected separate parts of the home.
Norris and his children designed the emblem for his beloved community. At his old, well-worn work desk in his home office, surrounded by his children, he gathered ideas and drew sketches until all could agree on the best one, which was submitted and chosen as the official logo for the town of Macclesfield.
He appreciated good wine and was interested in culinary arts from around the world. He was an art-lover as well as a silent talented artist. He was a member of the Southern Agricultural Leadership Alumni and served on the board at Southern Bank for many years. He frequently attended Macclesfield Presbyterian Church and recently rededicated his life to Christ at Webb’s Chapel Baptist Church.
Norris loved and appreciated simple things: a hard day’s work, a bonfire by the Harrell family pond, children, a brisk ride on a spirited horse, stimulating conversation, a short afternoon nap anywhere he found himself about that time. He was a man who would stop by the side of the road and pick a bouquet of wildflowers to bring home to his wife. He penned letters in his beautiful handwriting on nice stationary and sent them through mail the old- fashioned way. Up early every morning seven days a week, he did not like the sun to rise before he began working on the projects he had planned for each day. Most often, he kept at those endeavors until dark. He enjoyed a few close friends around town but ordinarily kept to himself and tended to his own business. Even so, he liked most people and wished the best for everyone he knew.
Norris' children will remember him as an compassionate disciplinarian, a good man, a strong, intelligent man, and a devoted daddy. Norris loved his children fiercely and developed a unique bond with each of them. He didn’t mind leaving this earth so much as he did leaving his children and grandchildren. They have truly been the treasures of his life.
Norris leaves a lifetime of cherished memories for his beloved family that includes his devoted wife of thirty-nine years, Teresa Harrison Harrell; children, Austin Harrell (Michelle) of Macclesfield, Rebecca Harrell of Atlantic Beach, Laura Harrell Hughes (Jason) and John Clayton Harrell (Brenda), all of Macclesfield; siblings, Aubrey Harrell (Janice) and Susan Head, all of Macclesfield, and Larry Harrell (Sandra) of Rocky Mount; ten grandchildren, Lana Harrell, Allie Sugg, Nathan Sugg, Lily Harrell, Dalton Sugg, Laya Harrell, Ledger Harrell, Lennox Harrell, Redick Harrell, and Mattie Hughes; sister-in-law, Kimberly Harrison Smith (Harry) of Swansboro; nieces and nephews, Nicholas Harrell (Leslie) of Macclesfield, Harrison Smith (Stephanie) of Atlantic Beach, Jacob Smith (Jennifer) of Hubert, Brittany Letchworth (Jason) of Rocky Mount and Daniel Harrell (Jennifer) of Macclesfield, He will also be greatly missed by many friends, neighbors, and other extended relatives.
Please join family and friends to remember and celebrate Norris’ wonderful life at 12:00 pm, Wednesday February 14, 2024 at Macclesfield Presbyterian Church, 105 N. 2nd Street, Macclesfield, NC. A brief and informal committal will follow at Macclesfield Cemetery. The family will receive friends prior to the service, beginning at 10:30 am and other times at the home.
In lieu of flowers, please consider memorial donations to the Glioblastoma Foundation
The Lord will send a blessing on your barns and on everything you put your hand to. The Lord your God will bless you in the land. – Deuteronomy 28:8