Grady Newell Pope

June 20, 1934 ~ October 13, 2023 (age 89) 89 Years Old
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Grady Pope Obituary

Grady Newell Pope, age 89 of Forest City, NC, passed away at home on Friday, October 13, 2023.

A native of Cherryville, NC, he was a son of the late Alvin and Iva Dellinger Pope.  He was a member of First United Methodist Church of Forest City for nearly 60 years and a member of the Men’s Bible Class.  Grady was a 1952 graduate of Cherryville High School.  After serving in the United States Navy (1952-1956) during the Korean War aboard the USS Missouri, he attended Appalachian State Teachers College graduating in 1960.  Several years later, Grady went on to earn his M.Ed. in school administration from UNC-Charlotte.

In 1960 he began his teaching career at Rutherfordton Elementary School followed by several years of teaching and coaching at Cool Springs Middle School.  In 1965 Grady moved to East Rutherford High School where he taught classes and coached football for eighteen years and was inducted into the East High Sports Hall of Fame.  He was assistant principal and athletic director at the time of his retirement from East High School in 1992.  He thoroughly enjoyed his years of coaching and the lifelong friendships made with other coaches, players, teachers, and EHS students.  He felt it was very important to be a positive influence on young, impressionable ball players and students.  He wanted their respect and knew it had to be earned.  He loved his job working with young people on and off the football field, always aware that as he was observing them, they too, were watching him.  It was very important to Grady to treat every student fairly and with the respect they deserved. 

Being a part of the Grady Pope household was never dull.  Often during mealtime, Grady would relate to his family stories about growing up in Cherryville and all the “interesting” people he knew as a boy.  He nearly always had a story or two about some events that occurred at East High School each day.  He had a great sense of humor and loved to tell totally made-up or highly exaggerated stories with such a straight face and in such detail that they were believed even by the most skeptical listener. 

Left to cherish many wonderful (and hilarious) memories are his wife of 60 years, June Heasley Pope; two  sons, James Dirk Pope of Forest City and Bryan Lee Pope and wife Lisa also of Forest City; one sister, Dorothy Lingerfelt of Cherryville; his grandchildren whom he loved dearly; Kiersten Pope, Andrew Pope, and Gavin Pope, along with many nephews and nieces.  In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by his brother, Airman James D. Pope, who remains listed as Missing in Action from the Korean War.

The family will receive friends from 12 noon until 1:45 on Saturday, October 21, 2023 at the First United Methodist Church of Forest City  at 341 East Main Street with a Celebration of Life Service to follow at 2 o’clock in the sanctuary.  The Reverend Curtis Goforth will officiate.  Military honors will be accorded on the front lawn of the church.  Interment will  be private for the family at Rutherford County Memorial Cemetery. 

In lieu of flowers, memorials are requested to be made to the First United Methodist Church, 341 East Main Street, Forest City, North Carolina 28043 or Hospice of the Carolina Foothills, Post Office Box 336, Forest City, North Carolina 28043.

The Padgett and King Mortuary & Crematory is in charge of arrangements and an online guest registry is available at

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October 21, 2023

12:00 PM to 1:45 PM
First United Methodist Church of Forest City

Celebration of Life
October 21, 2023

2:00 PM
First United Methodist Church of Forest City

Military Honors
October 21, 2023

3:00 PM
First United Methodist Church of Forest City

Private Interment

Rutherford County Memorial Cemetery


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