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Ammie Lee Royal

Greensboro

Posted on: 02.22.2018 at 12:14 p.m.

Ammie Lee Royal, 94, died Tuesday, Feb. 20, 2018 at Spring Arbor after a long illness. Spring Arbor staff were kind and loving caretakers of Lee for three years. Lee was born Oct. 19, 1923 and grew up in the eastern North Carolina village of Salemburg. His parents were Ranby Royal and Caroline Torrans Royal. An older brother, Ranby Royal Jr is deceased; as is his sister, Helen Royal Cook.
Lee spent his boyhood working in his father’s general store and doing whatever farm chores he was big enough to do. Lee, early in life, became dependable, self-disciplined, and ambitious. He enjoyed his work in the depression era store with barter for goods exchanged for eggs, etc. He sold everything from orange flannel bloomers to sugar and snuff. On Saturdays, he worked until midnight then arose early Sunday morning to deliver newspapers and go to church. He graduated from Salemburg high school in 1941. He worked briefly at an aircraft assembly plant in Baltimore before joining the U.S. Navy. During his high school years, Lee went across the street from his home, to Pineland School for Girls and Edwards Military Institute. This fine boarding school had two years of college. Of his own volition, Lee, in his spare time during high school, took a full Business Course at Pineland. This act probably saved his life, as he was assigned to go to the Pacific War arena. He took the yeoman 1st class test and was reassigned to Germany as a yeoman 1st class. His Navy years in Germany were spent dealing with a cave full of presumed “spy” communication. His skill at this assignment led to an offer to cover the Nuremberg War Trials. To his later regret, 20 year old Lee chose to come home, not to stay for the trial in Nuremberg. As a GI Lee graduated from Wake Forest College with a Business major in 1950. The spirit of the college and the world of academia and scholarship were a transforming time in Lee’s life.
Lee came to Clinton to be part of the family enterprise Royal Furniture Company and Royal Funeral Home. His true work and his heart were in civic and church tasks; Lions Club, Boy Scouts, Sunday school teacher, State Vice President of the Junior Chamber of Commerce, Chairman of the Sampson County Fair, etc. During the 1954 Sampson County Fair, Lee, with courage, tact, kindness and a sense of what is right and fair was able to stage a racially-integrated Beauty Contest of representatives from diverse high school beauty queens. Lee had thought of and covered every detail. He made a difference.
Lee and Gertrude Pierce, a local high school teacher, met at the local boarding house and married in 1956 for 62 years of a happy home. Lee was anxious to move on to challenges and opportunity so he opened a Manpower, Inc. office in Charlotte – the first national temporary help firm in North Carolina. More than 30 years in the business, Lee’s impeccable ethics, his management skills, his creativity and hard work, his business grew to nine offices in three states, employing several hundred people. He loved flying his plane from office to office until computers made his plane obsolete! Always ahead of the game, he promoted women, developed employees with potential and early on, established a profit sharing plan. He was respected by his employees and was a leader in the Manpower Inc. worldwide business, as he designed and implemented new programs for the company. Lee mentored many young people to and through their first jobs. He mentored and sponsored many business novices through their early struggles.
In Charlotte for 53 years, Lee stayed involved in civic affairs and church. He is a Paul Harris Fellow of the Rotary Club, a member of the Rotary Foundation, a Distinguished Rotarian as a member of the Charlotte North Rotary Club where he was Program Chairman for three years.
He was a trustee of Campbell University for 20 years and a trustee of Mars Hill University for 12 years. Both Schools have scholarships from Lee and Gertrude. Lee was a wonderful family man. He doted on his daughters. They had a motor bike, a horse, and whatever, but most of all they had a great Dad to take long walks and hold their hands. Lee and Gertrude adored each other, respected each other and had the greatest blessing of all: a happy home.
The family will meet friends Saturday, Feb. 24 from 7-8 p.m. at Butler Funeral Home in Roseboro. Lee’s funeral will be held in his boyhood home church, Salemburg Baptist Church in Salemburg, Sunday, Feb. 25 at 3 p.m. Burial will be in the Sunrise Memorial Gardens in Salemburg.
Lee is survived by his wife of 62 years, Gertrude Pierce Royal; and their two daughters, Meredith Royal Jackson (husband Robert Jackson), Martha Royal Shafer (husband Don Shafer). Lee’s grandchildren are, Charlotte Lee Jackson (husband Shin Bang), Samuel Jackson (wife Brittany Jackson), Virginia Shafer and Eleanor Shafer; two great granddaughters round out the immediate clan, Susanna Bang and Marian Bang; three of his brothers survive him, Kenneth (wife Mary Love Royal), Joe (wife Alice Royal) and Billy (wife Nancy Earl-Royal).
Memorial gifts may be given to The Royal, Jackson, Shafer Family Scholarship at Mars Hill University, 100 Athletic Street, Mars Hill, N.C. 28754.

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