Mary Oots

Mary Susan Oots

1934 - 2023

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Obituary of Mary Susan Oots

Mary Susan (Mary Sue) Fulcher Oots died May 24, 2023 at Southminster retirement community in Charlotte, North Carolina. While her early years were spent in Southport and Wilmington, North Carolina, by the age of nineteen she was a world traveler. Traveling extensively with her parents (her father was director of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) for Thailand), Mary Sue had many fascinating stories to share with her children and grandchildren. One of her most memorable adventures was working for Civil Air Transport in Bangkok, Thailand, which began as a Nationalist Chinese Airline but was, during Mary Sue’s time there, owned by the CIA and a front for covert operations in Southeast Asia. The story of this airline was popularized in the book Air America by Christopher Robbins and later became a movie.

Mary Sue married, became a military wife, had three children, and returned to the NC coast. She worked in the New Hanover County Register of Deeds office in Wilmington for many years and was elected Register of Deeds in 1992, serving two terms. Mary Sue was keenly interested in government affairs and enjoyed in-depth political discourse with family and friends. A lover of literature and poetry, she continued reading in later life with failing eyesight using her trusty Kindle as she checked off a long list of fiction and non-fiction works. Artwork was also a passion; Mary Sue’s paintings filled her home, and they will now be enjoyed by her family.

Mary Sue cherished spending time with her children, grandchildren, and a beloved great-granddaughter. She is preceded in death by her parents, Delmas Jerome Fulcher and Edna Carr Fulcher, and her brother Delmas Jerome Fulcher, Jr. Survived by her children Susan Oots Utsey (Kevin), Joseph Oots (Amy), Kenneth Oots (Linda); her grandchildren Anna Regan, Megan Oots, Taylor Oots, Madeleine Oots, Spencer Oots; and great-granddaughter Catherine Regan.

A Celebration of Life will take place on Saturday, June 3, at 3:00PM in the chapel of St. Philip’s Episcopal Church in Southport, followed by internment of ashes in the Memorial Garden.

The family would like to express sincere gratitude to the staff of Hospice & Palliative Care of Charlotte and to Mary Sue’s many Southminster caregivers for their steadfast and loving care.

In lieu of flowers please consider a gift to the Southminster Community Fund @ Charity & Donations | Southminster | Senior Community North Carolina or to the Cape Fear Literacy Council @

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We are deeply sorry for your loss ~ the staff at Hankins and Whittington Funeral Services