Surrounded by his loving family and loyal friends, Deacon Henry Watson Pugh peacefully ended his earthly journey on Thursday, September 12, 2019, in the comfort of his home in Littleton, North Carolina. “Pugh”, as he was affectionately called, was born on October 10, 1929, in Vaughan, North Carolina, to the late George Washington Pugh and Della Annesley Watson Pugh.
During his early life, Henry accepted Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior, was baptized, and became a faithful member of the Ashley Grove Baptist Church (now The Greater Ashley Chapel Baptist Church), in Vaughan, North Carolina. He served as a Deacon, Trustee, Church Clerk, Treasurer, Superintendent of the Sunday School, Sunday School Teacher, Anniversary Committee member, and was in charge of the cemetery.
Henry attended Warren County Training School in Wise, North Carolina, and graduated with the class of 1949. After high school, he attended North Carolina A&T College (now North Carolina Agricultural & Technical State University), in Greensboro, North Carolina, for a period of time before being drafted into the United States Army in 1951. On December 1, 1954, Henry received an Honorable Discharge.
In 1955, Henry met his sweetheart, Helena Williams, and they were united in marriage on June 15, 1959, in Emporia, Virginia. God blessed this union with a daughter, Della Annette Pugh, who was born in Tacoma, Washington, on March 8, 1960.
After enlisting in the United States Air Force, he then served his country for twenty more years. Following basic training, he was assigned to the 42272 Air Crew Egress System Repair. His tours of duty allowed him to travel extensively at home to include Charleston, South Carolina, Goldsboro, North Carolina, Tacoma, Washington, Long Island, New York, Austin, Texas, and Glendale, Arizona. His tours of duty abroad included England, Liberia, Spain, Korea, and Cuba (during the Cuban Crisis). Retirement for Henry, with the rank of Staff Sergeant, occurred on February 28, 1973, at Luke Air Force Base in Glendale, Arizona.
Henry returned home to North Carolina, and settled into his retirement in Littleton, North Carolina. He attended Halifax Community College in Weldon, North Carolina and obtained an Associate’s Degree in Auto Mechanics and Body Repair. He then opened his own business, Highway 4 Auto Repair, in Littleton, North Carolina, serving the surrounding area and anyone who needed his services. Having his own business gave him time to enjoy farming and gardening which he truly loved. He was noted for his garden produce and always shared with the community and everyone who wanted fresh vegetables or fruits. However, at various other times, he was also employed by Acme Oldsmobile in Roanoke Rapids, North Carolina, W. T. Grant, J. P. Stevens, and Howell Steel. Later into his retirement, he became a bus driver for the Halifax County School System and served for over six years.
Henry was a member of Prince Hall Grand Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons of North Carolina – Lively Stone Lodge #216 of Littleton, North Carolina, and the Roanoke Chowan Consistory #276 of Rich Square, North Carolina.
Henry was also a lifetime member of the General Chappie James American Legion Post #425 in Littleton, North Carolina. During his military career, he was afforded the opportunity to service General James’ plane on several occasions. Because of Henry’s high esteem for General James, he was instrumental in naming Post #425 in General James’ honor.
In addition to his parents, Henry was preceded in death by his son-in-law, Nathaniel Branch, Jr.; his mother and father in-law, Charlie & Nettie Williams; his brothers-in-law, Alphonso Williams and Theotis Williams; and his sisters-in-law, Clementine Nicholson and Barbara Jean Greene.
Henry leaves the legacy of his love and many treasured memories to his devoted wife and sweetheart, Helena Williams Pugh of the home; his dedicated daughter, Della Annette Pugh Branch of Littleton, NC; his granddaughter, Natalie J. Brown (Rudolph) of Huntersville, NC; his great-granddaughters, Kennedy Jene’ Brown and Jordan Alexis Brown of Huntersville, NC; his sisters-in-law: Margaret J. Williams of Henderson, NC, Evelyn W. Clayton (Calvert) of Timberlake, NC, Annie W. Wigfall of Wilmington, DE, and Carolyn L. Williams of Bear, DE; his brothers-in-law: Charles Williams, Jr.(Rosetta) of Greensboro, NC, Eddie Greene, Sr. of Roanoke Rapids, NC, and Henry Allen of Adelphia, MD; a son of the heart, William P. Sledge of Baltimore, MD; his daughters of the heart, Angie Daniel and Gwendolyn Newell of Littleton, NC, Dorothy Smith of Roanoke Rapids, NC, and Debbie Washington of Rocky Mount, NC; special neighbors: Melvin Nicholson, Lanetta Faulcon, and Alvin Edwards; and a host of nieces, nephews, cousins, other relatives and friends.
Funeral services will be held at 11:00 A.M. on Wednesday, September 18, 2019, at the Greater Ashley Chapel Missionary Baptist Church, 2933 US Highway 158 East, Vaughan, NC. The Pastor, Rev. Milton L. Jones, will officiate, and burial will follow in the church cemetery. The body will repose at the funeral home from 12:00 Noon – 8:30 P.M. on Tuesday, September 17, 2019, with the family receiving friends from 7:00 – 8:00 P.M. The body may also be viewed at the church for one hour prior to the funeral time.