Birth Date: 07/15/1931
Deceased Date: 12/15/2019
Katie Marie Harrell Gafford passed away Sunday, December 15, 2019, at the SECU Hospice House in
Smithfield, at the age of 88. Katie was born to Alton Cephus Harrell and Katie Inez Barnhill Harrell on
July 15, 1931 in Caswell Township, Pender County, North Carolina. Marie grew up in Atkinson, North
Carolina and graduated with honors from Atkinson High School. She recently remembered fondly her
time playing guard on the girl’s varsity basketball team.
At the age of 18, she married the love of her life, 21 year-old George Washington Gafford, Jr., on January
21, 1950. He was stationed at Marine Corps Base Quantico at the time. George returned to Atkinson on
the weekends while Marie finished her senior year of high school. Marie was a faithful Marine Corps
wife, supporting George during his multiple overseas deployments throughout his 25 years of service as
a United States Marine, with several of George’s deployments in active war zones. The Gafford family
moved to Smithfield in 1970. After celebrating 41 years of marriage, George passed away in 1991.
Marie leaves behind three children: Donna Kaye Gafford of Smithfield; Mike Gafford and his wife
Margaret Daniel Gafford of Altavista, Virginia; and Linda Jo Gafford Bradshaw of Leland, N.C. Marie and
George had four grandchildren: Allison Gafford of Myrtle Beach, S.C.; Stephanie Gafford Lee of Myrtle
Beach, S.C.; Eric Bradshaw of Four Oaks, N.C.; and Katie Bradshaw of Dudley, N.C. There are five great
grandchildren: Lillian, Karson, Nataleigh, Greyson, and Connor.
Internment will take place on at 10 a.m. on Saturday, December 21, 2019 at Woodcock Cemetery,
Beatty’s Bridge Road, Atkinson, N.C.
A Celebration of Life will take place at 3:00 p.m. on Sunday, December 22, 2019 at First Presbyterian
Church, 215 S. Third Street, Smithfield, N.C. Visitation will immediately follow the service.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to JHF – Hospice Fund, % SECU Hospice House, P.O. Box 1376,
Smithfield, NC, 27577.