Jacquelyn Groce McDuffie

January 17, 1926February 10, 2021

Lillie Jacquelyn Groce McDuffie, “Jackie”, passed away peacefully in her sleep on Wednesday morning February 10, 2021. She was 95 years old. Late in her life when people would ask how she was doing she would respond “Pretty good…for an old woman!” Those who had the good fortune to know her would say that until her dying day Jackie McDuffie was doing fine for any age!

The youngest daughter and seventh child of Glenn and Fannie Gross’s eight children, she was born in Sanford, NC on January 17, 1926. She grew up in a large family during the Great Depression and could vividly recall the challenges of that time; but instead of focusing on her own hardship she found great joy throughout her life in celebrating and serving others. She was an eternal optimist whose smile could light a room. After graduating as valedictorian of her high school class she moved to Raleigh and attended Hardbarger’s Business School. Though she enjoyed working at the North Carolina General Assembly and The News & Observer and proved herself indispensable to her employers, she found her calling in roles that were most important to her - wife and mother.

She met Mac McDuffie while working at The News & Observer. For their first date she accompanied him on an assignment to cover a local horse show. “Village Gossip” won that competition, but Jackie had won the heart of the love of her life. They were married on May 11, 1951.

A woman of strong and abiding faith she was a devoted member of Ridge Road Baptist Church. Though she rarely spoke of her own personal accomplishments, she was honored to have been the first woman elected to the church’s board of deacons. She served multiple terms as a deacon including one term as Chairman of the board.

She was generous beyond measure to others, but preferred simple pleasures herself. She loved country cooking and hugs from the waitresses at Pam’s Farmhouse Restaurant, taking rides to “State College” and construction sites with Mac, and fried chicken out of a car’s trunk before Wolfpack football games.

Dementia robbed Jackie of many of her memories in recent years, but it could not dampen her spirit or dim her joyful outlook on life. COVID brought a lengthy period of isolation from family and longtime friends, but she was blessed to have the loving support of the Reminiscence Memory Unit staff at Brighton Gardens Assisted Living Residence led by Noreen Mohit, the wise medical counsel of Dr. Robert Smithson of Boylan Clinic and the unwavering, heaven-sent friendship of Miatta Sheriff through it all.

Jackie was the last member of her generation of the Gross family. She was preceded in death by her parents and siblings – Louise, Marjorie, Josephine, Elsie, Norma, Miriam, and Tommy. Our family takes solace knowing that she and Mac are seated at a big table basking in the warmth of family together again.

She is survived by her daughter Nancy and Terry Cox (Murfreesboro) and their son Thomas, daughter Jane and Wick Smith (Fayetteville) and their son Wick, his wife Becky and Jackie’s great-granddaughter Annie, son David and Allison McDuffie (Virginia Beach) and their children Meredith and Stanton, and daughter Norma McDuffie and Sid White (Rock Hill, SC), and her sister-in-law Lydia McDuffie (Hendersonville, TN).

A private family service is planned this week. Jackie was blessed with many dear friends and a celebration of her life is planned for a later date when COVID restrictions permit gatherings.

Jackie took more joy in doing good for others than in any gift she ever received so, in lieu of flowers, the family requests that memorials be made to Ridge Road Baptist Church, 2011 Ridge Road, Raleigh, NC 27607, online at, or to your preferred charity.

Services provided by Brown-Wynne, 300 Saint Mary's Street, Raleigh.


No public services are scheduled at this time. Receive a notification when services are updated.


Jacquelyn Groce McDuffie

have a memory or condolence to add?

Julie Driggers

February 21, 2021

What a beautiful obituary. I have many fond memories of Mrs. McDuffie at RRBC as well as the the whole family. I know this is a time of heartache but also of rejoicing. My condolences to all of you.
Julie Goode Driggers

Charlotte Craver

February 12, 2021

Of course I remember Jackie’s faithfulness at Ridge Road Baptist but I also remember seeing her (and Mac) at Rex Wellness Center early in the mornings about 6AM. She said of that experience, “It’s what keeps us going.” Very motivating!