Samuel ( Sam ) W. McNairy

June 19, 1942October 17, 2020

Sam McNairy, 78, of Raleigh died Saturday, October 17, 2020 at Rex Hospital. Sam was born June 19, 1942 in Greensboro, NC to the late James David McNairy and Audrey Porter McNairy.

In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by his first wife, Harriet Thompson McNairy.

Sam is survived by his wife, Lu Jones McNairy; son Walter and his wife Rhonda (and daughter Grimsley); son Bill and his wife Donna (and son Will); and step-daughter Laura Reynolds (husband Chad) and step-grand children Molly, Catherine and Lydia Reynolds.

Sam grew up in Greensboro where he began honing his golf game and even played a little high school basketball at Greensboro Senior (now Grimsley). He followed in the footsteps of his father by attending UNC-CH and staying in Old East dorm, majoring in accounting. Right after graduation he married his high school sweetheart Harriet, moving to Charlotte to start his 38 year career in public accounting with what is now Deloitte. After a 2 year rotation in NYC, Sam and family moved to Raleigh in 1978.

Summers were spent playing golf, vacationing to Hilton Head, and spending time at home with family. He was also very involved at White Memorial, serving as Elder and Clerk of Session, and enjoyed many seasons of UNC basketball and football games. He was very proud of a mini grandfather clock given to him for winning the golf tournament at Deloitte’s annual partner meeting as well as being club champion at both Raintree in Charlotte and North Ridge in Raleigh.

In retirement Sam enjoyed watching the grass grow, spending the early years with Harriet at Uwharrie Point, traveling more, enjoying grandchildren Will and Grimsley, having lunch with old colleagues, and spending more time with his 5 brothers and sisters and their families. Serving on the Board of the Presbyterian Foundation allowed Sam to put his CPA skills to good use while he continued to stay involved locally at White Memorial. He also truly enjoyed Rotary Club, attending weekly and supporting their various community outreach efforts.

After Harriet’s passing in 2008, Sam found his second love Lu, marrying in 2010 and welcoming her family & friends into his heart. Sam spent the last 10 years with Lu gathering with friends old and new, expanding travel horizons, and spending time with family. Sam was always reliable, someone to turn to in a time of need. A CPA with a soft interior, he never wanted credit for the things he accomplished or help he gave. He was so very proud of all of his family, and enjoyed bragging on them to no end.

A private family memorial service will be held Saturday, October 24th at White Memorial Presbyterian Church. The service will be live streamed beginning at 2pm through

In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to White Memorial Presbyterian Church, 1704 Oberlin Rd. Raleigh, NC 27608, or to The Rotary Club of Raleigh Foundation, PO Box 20807 Raleigh, NC 27619.

Arrangements by Brown-Wynne, Saint Mary's St., Raleigh.

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Skip and Ann Jones

October 26, 2020

To Walter and family, you are in our thoughts. Sammy and Harriet were friends in our class at GHS and spent some time with us when we lived in NJ in the years Sammy worked there. He was always a good friend and a quiet leader. Later in life when I was teaching in UNCW's business school, I met Walter on his recruiting trips to UNCW and got updates on Sammy. I gotta believe Sammy's now teeing off for another 18 holes.
Ann and Skip Jones

William Thompson

October 24, 2020

I can't remember the first time I met Sam, but it was probably when he was in about the 5th or 6th grade, as he was simply "always there" as my cousin Harriet's boy friend. My dad had married Harriet's parents, and baptized Harriet, and I officiated at hers and Sam's wedding. This couple always was gracious to me, in spite of the fact that we knew we were miles apart on some political issues, plus my wife went to Duke, so these UNC fanatics had to be especially gracious in welcoming her into their hearts, as they had earlier done for me. I was privileged to be at both of their sons' respective weddings, and of course my wife and I were present at Harriet's memorial service. Sam McNairy dearly loved the White Memorial Presbyterian Church, and he always served it with joy. I never met his second wife, Lu, but my lifelong friend Martha Stevenson has told me that she was "a perfect companion" for Sam. Our denomination has lost a grand and generous servant, but the Church Triumphant is now eternally blessed with his presence!

William E. (aka "Willie") Thompson

Linda Monaghan

October 22, 2020

Sam was a kind, friendly member of our Rotary Club. He was always thinking of others and was quick to volunteer to serve the less fortunate. I will really miss his friendly face.
My deepest condolences to his family,

Rudy Howard

October 22, 2020

To the McNairy family:
Please accept my deepest condolences for Sam's passing. For over 10 years, Sam was my leader and mentor while I worked at Deloitte. Much of the success I have enjoyed over my career is a direct result of his guidance. And even though our relationship discontinued when I left Deloitte for a competitor, I have often thought of him and until this day have credited him for his positive influence in my life. May God embrace you during this period of sorrow and may knowing Sam's positive impact on the lives of so many turn your tears into smiles. My prayers are with you.
Rudy Howard

Jennie Dirienzo

October 19, 2020

I worked with Sam at Deloitte for many years! He was a wonderful audit partner and I always enjoyed working with him - even if he was an alumnus of the "Light Blue" school (I am an NC State graduate). I saw him at lunch about a year ago when he was eating with Elton Parker at East Village. He looked so well that day. I'm so sorry for your loss. Jennie

Sandy Reynolds-Jones

October 19, 2020

Lu Lu,

I am so sorry for the loss your loss. Know we are here for u! Sam was always sweet and kind to us and I will really miss Sam at the Thanksgiving lunch! Woody will miss talking with him about Carolina Basketball! Prayers for you and his Family! We Love You!!❤️🙏🏻


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