Earl Marett Receives Lifetime Achievement Award

Former Johnston County Department of Social Services Director Earl Marett has received the NCACDSS Lifetime Achievement Award. Mr. Marett retired in January 2014 after 41 years of employment within human services, 16 years at Johnston County Mental Health and 25 years leading the Johnston County Department of Social Services.

Earl Marrett (right) was nominated for the NCACDSS Lifetime Achievement Award by Sarah Bradshaw (left), Sampson County DSS Director. Pictured in front is Earl’s grandson, Creighton Marett.   

He was nominated for the award by Sarah Bradshaw, the Sampson County DSS Director.

According to the nomination, Marett was hired in the early 70’s as the second alcohol counselor ever employed by Johnston County Mental Health. In 1975, he was promoted to Associate Director, a position he would hold until 1988. That same year he was appointed interim director of the Department of Social Services and later that year was named the permanent director. He held the position until his retirement.

During his career he was instrumental in writing a federal staffing grant that staffed a treatment facility including inpatient beds and outpatient services. He helped develop and open the first residential Alcohol and Drug Abuse Treatment Center in Johnston County, Day by Day. The facility later closed due to a reduction of funding.

Marett also started a nighttime and weekend recreation program in the 1970’s to provide individuals with mental illness and substance abuse issues a safe environmental and to reduce their temptations of alcohol and drugs. With the help of his staff, funding was secured for the Unity House in Johnston County which offered day treatment to those diagnosed with chronic mental illness

While at DSS, the agency grew from 55 to 243 employees.

He is remembered for expanding social programs to have a positive impact on the community; developing an Adolescent Parenting Program for young mothers to have successful careers and avoid dependence on government assistance; the Summer Youth Program with emphasis on work opportunities for former youth in foster care; strengthening of the Agency’s NC LINKS Program; and creation of the Joseph Lansinger Foster Children Endowment Fund.

Even beyond retirement, Earl served as an Interim DSS Director in Pitt and Wayne counties.

He has served as the Chairman of the Smithfield Parks and Recreation Advisory Board, has been instrumental in the building of a community park and the Smithfield Recreation and Aquatics Center and, for over 30 years, has coached sports such as little league and Babe Ruth baseball, recreation softball, basketball and soccer in Smithfield. He continues to give his time to the Smithfield Selma high school soccer teams. He has coached and mentored thousands of youth in the Smithfield area as a coach. He has also served as a member of the NC State University School of Social Work Advisory Board, served as Chairman of Day by Day Treatment Center of Johnston County, served as a member of the Smithfield branch of the State Employees Credit Union Advisory Board, an elder with First Presbyterian Church in Smithfield and has served as a member of the Civitans’ Club.

Earl lives in Smithfield with his wife, Etta. They have two sons. Scott Marett who lives outside of Kinston with his wife Grace and they are expecting their first child this year. His daughter, Erin Smith, works with Johnston County Health Department and lives in Johnston County with her husband, Kevin, and daughter Emerson. Geoff Marett, his oldest son, is the Craven County Department of Social Services Director who lives in New Bern along with his wife Katie, daughter Allison and son Creighton.

Earl would quickly tell you that being “Daddy Earl” and “Best Buddy”, as his grandson Creighton considers him, is the best.

Earl received the NC Association of County Directors of Social Services Lifetime Achievement Award during a recent virtual conference at the NCACDSS headquarters in Raleigh.


  1. No man is more deserving! Gave and continues to give endless time to make sure recreation is a part of children’s lives!!!

Comments are closed.