Local News

Former NC first lady Jessie Rae Scott dies

Posted December 26, 2010 9:00 a.m. EST

— Former North Carolina first lady Jessie Rae Scott died early Sunday from injuries she suffered in a fall earlier this year, her family said. She was 81.

Scott was the wife of the late Gov. Robert Walter “Bob” Scott. Bob Scott, who died in January 2009, served as governor from 1969 to 1973 and later headed the North Carolina Community College System.

Jessie Scott had been hospitalized since July, when she fell on her way to visit a friend. She was at the Hillcrest Convalescence Center in Durham when she died.

A funeral service is planned for later this week at Hawfields Presbyterian Church in Mebane. The date and time haven't been determined.

"She modeled for us a strong and gifted woman who was fully committed to family while being an equal partner with her husband in service to the community and the state," her family said in a statement. "She modeled compassion and openness of heart through a tireless commitment to civil rights. She showed us how to meet life’s challenges with dignity, grace and humor."

Jessie Scott was born in 1929 in Swepsonville and graduated from Greensboro Women’s College – now the University of North Carolina at Greensboro – and married Bob Scott in 1951. She was just as comfortable raising her children on the family farm in Alamance County as she was mingling with heads of state in the Governor’s Mansion.

She worked tirelessly for the passage of the constitutional amendment for equal rights for women in North Carolina and ran unsuccessfully for commissioner of the state Department of Labor in the mid-1970s. She also was an ardent supporter of the American Cancer Society, including serving as state chairman of the board and president, and was named an honorary life member in 1995.