The family of Meurice E. LeFevre is sad to announce that the rock of their universe, the entrepreneur and visionary in a broad array of businesses and trendsetting ventures, has died. Meurice, 82, died on Friday, Oct. 25, 2019 at the Northeast Georgia Medical Center in Gainesville. He had been in declining health following a heart attack and heart surgery. He is survived by Peggy, his wife of 39 years, and six children.
Meurice—who had retired to Hilton Head Island, South Carolina—was a pioneer in many ways: building a high-quality recording studio for his family’s gospel group, The LeFevres; and investing in franchises and dealerships such as Jiffy Lube, Harley Davidson and Honda motorcycles long before they became ubiquitous.
“Mo” as he was known to friends and family loved anything with an engine. His father gave him his first motorcycle at 12 and he never stopped riding his many Harleys and dirt bikes on which he won dozens of trophies—until injuries grounded him. Over the years, he and Peggy traveled the world by planes, boats and motor coaches. He was a knowledgeable and avid car collector and yachtsman, always happiest on his yacht, “Amnesia.” Most recently his main mode of transportation on Hilton Head was a golf cart.
Meurice had come a long way from an extremely humble start. Meurice E. LeFevre was born on September 20, 1937, the son of two cotton mill workers in Kannapolis, North Carolina where his grandfather was a preacher. Meurice’s parents, Urias and Eva Mae Whittington LeFevre, moved the family to Atlanta when he was three. His grandfather was pastor of Hemphill Church of God on 6th Street and was instrumental in what became the Mount Paran Church of God. Meurice’s childhood was infused with a strong Christian background. He was a musician at a young age and sang with The LeFevres, who were instrumental in the gospel music industry. He graduated from O’Keefe High School and attended Lee College (now Lee University)—a private Christian school in Cleveland, Tennessee—until he was kicked out for having a deck of cards in his room.
Returning to Atlanta, he built a recording studio and created Sing Records in his parents’ basement to record their LPs but soon created the city’s first high-quality recording studio, LeFevre Sound on Ellsworth Industrial Boulevard, where he added a variety of other musicians to his client list, including Ike and Tina Turner, Dolly Parton, and James Brown. While Jimmy Carter served as Governor of Georgia and President of the United States, Meurice was invited to the governor’s mansion and to the White House for a gospel picnic lawn—even though he never voted for Carter.
Meurice was one of the founders of the Southern Gospel Music Association and on the committee to build the Hall of Fame in Nashville. It was during that time he first met Peggy who was working in the architect’s office, though they didn’t meet again for five years. By that time, she was in the printing business and visited his studio to pitch producing their cardboard album covers. She got the job and the man, in 1980, they married.
Mo was adored by his family and encouraged them all, including Peggy, to take risks, to try things they didn’t think they could do. With his encouragement and support, they could. Just as he could. He was a visionary in a variety of ways and once he thought of something he wanted to do or have, he went right to it. He also had the ability to spot trends to invest in or to buy a failing business, fix it and sell it. In his dealership endeavors, he wisely bought the properties the businesses were on.
For many, he was also a spiritual leader; some have said they were better people when they were around him. He was a founding member of the Atlanta chapter of the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences, for which he served as president and vice president for several years and was on the national committee that produced the Grammy Awards show when it was still broadcast from New York City. In those roles, he knew Elton John, Sting, among others. The last time he saw Charley Pride, the country singer hugged him right off the ground.
Meurice is survived by his wife, Peggy J. LeFevre; his sons, Meurice Jr. LeFevre (Myra) of Kennesaw; Marc LeFevre (Lorene) of Woodstock; Marlon LeFevre (single and available) of Charlotte, North Carolina; and daughters, Lisa LeFevre Mulkey (Ron) of Kennesaw and Meurica LeFevre Powell (Joe) of Lake Orion, Michigan; and Peggy’s son, Christopher Williams (Jamie) of Talking Rock, Georgia. Two siblings, his brother, Mylon LeFevre , of Dallas, Texas; and his sister, Monteia LeFevre, of Atlanta, survive him. Meurice’s first wife and the mother of his children, Carol Ann Jordan, of Lake Orion, also survives him. He was predeceased by his son, Monte, who died of cancer in 1987; by his brother, Pierce LeFevre, and his sister, Andrea Densmore.
His 10 grandchildren and 10 great-grandchildren will miss their Big Daddy, Big Poppa and Pawpaw, as they variously called him. Several years ago, Peju (Blessing), a shih tzu joined the family to help control Meurice’s blood pressure; she and a teacup shih tzu, Tinkerbell, will miss sitting in his lap and keeping him company through the night.
Visitation with the family will be at 10:30 to noon on Wednesday, October 30 2019 at the Mount Paran Church of God, 2055 Mount Paran Road, NW, Atlanta, GA 30327. A celebration of Meurice’s life will follow at 12:30 in the church. He will be buried in Georgia Memorial Park, 2000 Cobb Parkway, SE, Marietta, GA 30060. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests donations to enAble of Georgia, 130 Denna Drive, Alpharetta, GA 30009.
By the way, Carl, we did cheat on the go-cart races!
Meurice is survived by his wife, Peggy J. LeFevre; his sons, Meurice Jr. LeFevre (Myra) of Kennesaw; Marc LeFevre (Lorene) of Woodstock; Marlon LeFevre (single and available) of Charlotte, North Carolina; and daughters, Lisa LeFevre Mulkey (Ron) of Kennesaw and Meurica LeFevre Powell (Joe) of Lake Orion, Michigan; and Peggy’s son, Christopher Williams (Jamie) of Talking Rock, Georgia. Two siblings, his brother, Mylon LeFevre , of Dallas, Texas; and his sister, Monteia LeFevre, of Atlanta, survive him. Meurice’s first wife and the mother of his children, Carol Ann Jordan, of Lake Orion, also survives him.