Mary Elizabeth Fee
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Mary Elizabeth Fee
  • March 16, 1978 - December 23, 2017
  • Raleigh, North Carolina

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Mary Beth Fee, known for her kindness and generosity, died Saturday, Dec. 23, 2017 after a long battle with cancer. Surrounded by family and friends, she entered the arms of her Lord, whom she trusted throughout her life. She was 39.
Mary Beth was born Mary Elizabeth Cheshire on March 16, 1978, in Charlotte, to Betsy and Clint Cheshire. She was raised in Hickory. A fierce competitor, she exceled in academics and sports, particularly tennis and basketball. She was known among friends as someone with a keen sense for those who needed encouragement, which she offered in abundance.
She graduated from Hickory High School in 1996. She earned a bachelor's degree (economics, 2000) and a master's degree (accounting, 2003) from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Mary Beth loved adventure. After earning her bachelor's, she moved to Jackson, Wyoming. She worked as a bookkeeper for a rafting company and ran payroll for the ski patrol. She spent her free time skiing, hiking and mountain biking. She returned to Chapel Hill for her master's degree and then moved to Seattle to work as an auditor for Ernst & Young.
In 2005 she transferred to EY's Raleigh office to be closer to her recently widowed grandmother. Family was most important in Mary Beth's life, and she enjoyed local traditions such as the Lovefeast Christmas celebration in Old Salem and singing her favorite holiday carol "Morning Star."
She met Frank Fee through a mutual friend. Their first date was on her birthday in 2006, and they married Aug. 30, 2008, at the Matthews House in Cary. Her grandfather, a Presbyterian minister, officiated.
The Fees welcomed two sons, Callin and Ryan, whom Mary Beth adored and raised with patience and love. Her greatest joys were watching them grow, play sports and participate in academics. She created family traditions such as bedtime stories, pancake Sundays and over-the-top birthday celebrations. According to those who knew her best, everything was big and important when she was involved. Birthday parties, such as an outdoor celebration with 50 children, a theme cake and thousands of Nerf darts, were her trademark and a welcomed blessing.
In her professional life, the always-adventurous Mary Beth traveled to Russia, England, Brazil and India. She joined EY's Assurance Talent Team, a group focused on employee development and retention.
She enjoyed volunteering in her sons' classrooms and sharing her time with the Conn Magnet Elementary School PTA as treasurer. Mary Beth was an active volunteer at the Church of the Good Shepherd. She served as a member of the altar guild, taught children's chapel and served as a board member of the Endowment Fund Trust.
Friends were very important to her. Mary Beth and her family loved spending time with other families for annual traditions, such as trips to the beach and the mountains.
Mary Beth's friends liked to pick on her for endearing quirks such as her mispronunciations, hit-or-miss use of vocabulary and inability to give effective driving directions. Because of her good nature, she laughed along with them.
Mary Beth and Frank were dedicated to each other and shared every emotion. They lived life to the fullest and took advantage of travel and opportunities to experience life, even as Mary Beth began cancer treatments in the summer of 2016.
Mary Beth was preceded in death by her maternal grandparents James Walton Nading and Betsy Transou Nading; and her paternal grandparents the Rev. Dr. Clarence Linwood Cheshire, Jr. and Mildred Edney Cheshire.
She is survived by her husband Frank Edward Fee III and two sons Callin James Fee and Ryan Edward Fee, of Raleigh; parents Herschel Clinton Cheshire and Betsy Nading Cheshire of Hickory; sister Catherine Cheshire Cawthorne, brother-in-law Lewis Cawthorne and niece Reagan Nading Cawthorne of Columbia, South Carolina; step-grandmother Peggy Kivett Eliason Cheshire of Burlington; beloved aunts, uncles, cousins and family members; and, on Frank's side, parents Frank Edward Fee, Jr. and Margaret Lynn Fee, of Durham; and sister Margaret Meryl Torrance and niece Emily Torrance of Chelsea, Michigan.
A memorial service will be held Saturday, Dec. 30, at 11 a.m. at the Church of the Good Shepherd at 125 Hillsborough St. in Raleigh. A reception will follow in the church fellowship hall.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the Church of the Good Shepherd, 121 Hillsborough St., Raleigh, NC, 27603; Conn Elementary Magnet School PTA, 1220 Brookside Dr., Raleigh, NC 27604; or Duke Cancer Institute at dukecancerinstitute.org or 710 W. Main St., Suite 200, Durham, NC 27701.
Arrangements by Brown-Wynne Funeral Home, 300 Saint Mary's Street, Raleigh, NC.