Clifton Aaron "Abe" Pitts
July 11, 1926 to June 22, 2022
Clifton Aaron "Abe" Pitts, 95, of Glen Alpine died on Wednesday, June 22, 2022 after 6 years of declining health associated with a progressive dementia.
Born in Burke County on July 11, 1926 to Aaron and Donnie McGimsey Pitts, the third of five siblings, Abe graduated from Glen Alpine High School in 1942. After a brief employment locally, he was inducted into the Army in December 1944, trained at Ft. Knox and then Ft. Adair, Oregon to operate tanks and heavy machinery. In July 1945, he shipped out with Company B of the 544th Engineer Boat and Shore Regiment to Manilla, Philippines, preparing to invade Japan. Following Japan's surrender, Abe was stationed with his Company on Honshu Island, Japan for fifteen months before receiving honorable discharge in November 1946. Returning home, he fortuitously met his future wife, Josephine McNeilly of Morganton on a blind date. They married in 1951 and resided in Charlotte, NC where Abe was employed with Southern Railway. Eventually returning to Burke County, Abe worked for the Morganton Water Dept. for 30 years, retiring in 1988. He and his wife became dedicated members of the First Baptist Church of Morganton and active in the Church's Koinonia Sunday School class whose members offered much support to them during their final years. During his 'golden years', Abe devoted much of his energy to his gardening "passion" and maintaining a small herd of cattle. At times he successfully persuaded his wife and two daughters to help with his gardening projects and his more than 15 years at the Morganton Farmers Market until aging began limiting his gardening efforts. Featured in a Morganton News Herald article May 16, 2008 edition at the age of 82, Abe described his love of gardening and the pleasure of seeing others' enjoyment in the produce. Over the years, giving produce directly from the garden to those with fewer resources was important to him. As his physical stamina and cognitive health began to decline and memories of many events faded, he nevertheless recalled the joys in the garden and talked about it until he died.
Abe was preceded in death by his wife of 68 years in 2019. He also was predeceased by his brother Ernest W. Pitts, sister Ruth Pitts Clontz; his brothers-in-law K. Wayne Pollard and Norvin E Clontz; his sisters-in-law Virginia Galloway Pitts, Jane Childress Pitts and Frances Horton; brothers-in-laws Philip McNeilly, Herbert McNeilly, Alton Horton and Clifton Horton.
Abe is survived by his daughter Teresa Pitts of Rome, Italy, his daughter and son-in-law Drs. Sandra Pitts and Steven Seidenfeld of Dallas, Texas. Other surviving family members are his younger brother Gorman Pitts of Glen Alpine and younger sister Betty Pollard of Glen Alpine, sisters-in-law Mikki McNeilly of Drexel and Elizabeth Horton of Morganton, and many nieces and nephews.
The family will receive friends from 11 a.m. to 12 p.m., Monday, June 27, 2022 at First Baptist Church in Morganton. The funeral will be held at noon in the chapel of the church with Dr. Thomas A. Bland, Jr. and the Rev. Fred Schuszler officiating. Burial will follow in Glen Alpine Cemetery with military honors provided by the NC National Guard and the Caldwell County Veterans Honor Guard.
The family extends special thanks to the medical staff at Autumn Care of Marion for their attentive care with Abe, and to the members of First Baptist Church's Koinonia Sunday School class who supported Abe with visitations, thoughtful gifts and cards during his declining years.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions can be made to the First Baptist Church of Morganton, the Morganton Farmers Market Association, Burke United Christian Ministries, and Habitat for Humanity.
Sossoman Funeral Home and Crematory Center is assisting the family with the arrangements.
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