Written on: August 27, 2023
Emerson Bernard Deese, Jr., 88, passed away on Thursday, August 17th, 2023, in Cary, North Carolina, a place he has called home since his graduation from NC State University.
Emerson, known as E.B. to all, is survived by his wife of 63 years, Priscilla Morgan Deese, his daughter Angela Deese Marshall and her husband, Bynum, daughter Susan Deese Hughes and her husband, Kevin, his beloved 5 granddaughters Amanda Dale Adams, McKinley Noelle Hughes, Sarah Marshall Orndorff and her husband, Devin, Jane Tyson Marshall and Grace Bynum Marshall, and the newest member of the family, E.B.’s great grandson, Tyson Charles Orndorff.
He was preceded in death by his father Emerson Bernard Deese, Sr., his mother Ruth Lathan Deese and his two sisters Willene Deese Presson and Rutha Jane Deese.
E.B. was born on a small farm in rural Monroe, North Carolina. His parents were both teachers and farmers, so the importance of education and a strong work ethic was instilled in him at an early age. He graduated from NC State University in 1957 with a degree in the Field Crops Division of the Soils Section. During college, he was also an avid and faithful member of the Farmhouse Fraternity and remained active in the fraternity by providing support for many years and cherished those friendships his entire life. With his educational background, E.B. planned to take over the family farm upon graduation. However, due to certain government initiatives during the 1950s, he was not able to farm as planned and instead, he pursued a job as a specialist in NH3 Liquid Fertilizer with the North Carolina State government. It was through that job that he was placed into a propane training class, which ultimately catapulted his successful career in the propane industry. He was eventually tasked with overseeing the entire state’s propane industry and dealing with all aspects of distribution, storage, and residential applications of propane gas. In 1965, he was employed by Gas Equipment Company as a Sales Representative, traveling across the Carolinas visiting propane dealers and by 1979, he became the Eastern Sales Manager, managing PA, NY, NJ, MD, and DE. During his 50+ year career, first as an employee of Gas Equipment Company, then later as a consultant in the propane industry, E.B. never lost his loves of traveling, seeing new places and meeting new people. He was best known by his colleagues and customers for being quick witted and traveling in his car with the North Carolina license plate ‘Gas 1’ loaded down with peanuts in his trunk – a can for his customers and, of course, a can for himself.
E.B. was a member of Greenwood Forest Baptist Church in Cary for over 50 years, where he is remembered for showing up early to ensure there was fresh coffee for the members to enjoy every Sunday.
While E.B. juggled many roles professionally, it wasn’t until his later years when he stepped into one of his favorite roles, that of being a grandfather to his five granddaughters. E.B. chauffeured his granddaughters to countless sporting events and shopping trips, always being their biggest cheerleader. Some of their favorite memories with E.B. were shared at the card table in Cary, where he passed down his favorite hobby of playing cards and board games like Rummikub and Skip-Bo. He never showed up empty handed – he was always known for having pockets full of candies, including his favorite, Werther’s caramel.
E.B. will be missed dearly, but we trust he is in heaven playing his favorite card games and Solitaire on the computer, watching NC State sports, and saying ‘Go Wolfpack’ to anyone who will listen.
A celebration of E.B.’s life will be held at Greenwood Forest Baptist Church in Cary, North Carolina on Wednesday, September 6th at 2:00 PM, with visitation with the family beginning at 1:00 PM in the Church parlor. In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made to Greenwood Forest Baptist Church (110 SE Maynard Rd, Cary, NC 27511) or Transitions LifeCare in Cary (250 Hospice Cir, Raleigh, NC 27607).