Annie Stancil
Annie Stancil

Obituary of Annie Lee Stancil

Easter morning dawned with a beautiful blue sky and white pillow clouds, a fitting time to leave this earth for someone whose faith was so important. Thus it was that Annie Lee Tarleton Stancil died on this morning well into her 102nd year of life on earth. She left as she lived: easily, simply, without drama, and happy in the knowledge that she had received one of life’s greatest and luckiest gifts: her children and grandchildren and great-grandchildren are all alive and well. She truly wanted nothing more, and so her life can be deemed to have been extraordinary.

Annie Lee Tarleton was born October 16, 1917, the youngest of six children, and was raised on a cotton farm near Wadesboro in Anson County, NC. As she said in a recorded interview that she gave when she was 97, she “had a very happy childhood” and “a lot of people to look after me and tell me what not to do…I knew when to behave.” This upbringing nurtured a naturally competitive spirit and she “always wanted to be the best” whether that was in the classroom or on her high school basketball team. A child of the Great Depression, she determinedly worked her way through Wingate College and Meredith College, and after graduating with a teaching degree, she began teaching school until she retired after the birth of her children.

While at Meredith, Annie Lee met William Shirley Stancil, who was attending NC State at the time. They married in 1942 and had celebrated their 64th anniversary when he died in 2006 at the age of 90. During these years, they moved many times as he pursued his career. They went from Raleigh to Washington to Charlotte, then Oakland, CA, to Atlanta, then finally back to Charlotte where Shirley started a hugely successful business. And though she had willingly followed her husband all these years, she was happy to settle down and lived happily for many years in a city that she loved, near her grown children and her grand-children. 

Annie Lee stayed active and interested in all around her even into her 80’s and 90’s.  She was involved in book and bridge clubs, tutored children in local schools, was active in her church, and enjoyed getting together with her many friends. Even after she could no longer get to church and social functions, she stayed connected with her countless friends via frequent phone conversations and their many visits to her. Perhaps it was her wonderful smile that drew people to her; to the last month of her life, it was joyous, infectious, and easily given.

One of Annie Lee’s fervent interests was politics. She was a faithful voter and worked the polls in Southeast Charlotte for many years, believing fiercely in the power of the ballot box.  And though she was raised and lived most of her life within conservative enclaves, she was convinced that both the government and the church should be kind and supportive of all.  Eager to promote this ideal through her vote, she cast her ballot for the last time in the 2016 presidential election when she was 99 years old.  

Annie Lee could make the lowly green bean into a meal fit for a king; for years after she stopped hosting family gatherings, she was required by ultimatum to cook and bring these beans to wherever the family gathered for a meal which always involved races to the serving table to get the last helping. She generously shared her secrets (flat beans if you can find them, generous dash of cooking oil), but sadly no one has been able to duplicate her results. The same can be said of her deliciously crispy corn bread dressing, her amazing giblet gravy, and her delicate coconut cookies. All of this magic will be missed by the family forever.  

The quintessential mother-in-law and grandmommy, Annie Lee was generous and kind to both of her children’s spouses and loved them as completely and ferociously as her own children. And she took interest and delight in her grandchildren’s and great grandchildren’s antics, endeavors, achievements, and yes, their love lives. She was equally loving to them all in both her actions and gifts; they will miss her greatly.

Through these examples of her love and kindness and through the example of her long marriage of mutual companionship, Annie Lee has provided us with a positive model of how we too would like to live our lives. The tenets of life by which she successfully lived--modesty, kindness, living within one’s means, service--are precepts that all of us who have survived her are inspired to cherish and embrace. She truly lived the words of Philippians 4:8: Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.

She leaves behind her children Aggie Niess and her husband, Gary (Charlotte) and her son Jim and his wife Heather (Belmont). She will be missed by her grandchildren: Ty Niess and wife Mollie, Matt Niess and wife Sarah, Meredith Niess and husband, Akshay Pendyal, and Will and Benn Stancil.  She will be missed as well by her great-grandchildren: Duncan and Malcolm Niess, Sophie and Ollie Niess, and the newest addition to the family, Anand Pendyal.

Services to celebrate the life of Annie Lee Stancil will take place on Thursday, April 25, 2019 at 11:00 AM, in the Dilworth Chapel of Hankins and Whittington at 1111 East Blvd., Charlotte, NC 28203. Interment will be private in Sharon Memorial Park where Annie Lee will be laid to rest beside her husband. The family will receive friends following the memorial service. 

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the America Red Cross (2425 Park Rd., Charlotte, NC) or to Carmel Baptist Church (1145 Pineville-Matthews Rd., Matthews, NC 28105). To enjoy the wonderful interview of Annie Lee Stancil and many other nonagenarians, please go to