State Representative Michael Wray and Halifax County Board of Commissioners Chairman Vernon Bryant presented the plaque to Deese at her final board meeting on behalf of Governor Roy Cooper.
She attended Rosemary Elementary School, and Roanoke Rapids High School. She graduated in 1955.
After high school, she attended Saint Mary’s College (1955-1957) and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (1957-1959).
She graduated in 1959, and began her teaching career in Lynchburg, Virginia.
She taught at EC Glass High School, and then became Art Supervisor for Lynchburg City Schools.
During that time, she taught art classes on TV. Her students winning multiple awards (1st, 2nd, and 3rd along with several honorable mentions) in Art Contests and the Keep Virginia Green contest was the highlight of her teaching career.
She later completed her M.Ed at Lynchburg College and East Carolina University.
She moved back to Roanoke Rapids where she taught art for Roanoke Rapids Graded Schools and Halifax County Schools.
She married Ed W. Deese on June 24, 1970. They had one daughter, Sarah.
She retired in 1989 after 30 years of teaching from Northwest Halifax High School.
After her retirement, she ran for the Roanoke Rapids Graded School District School Board of Trustees in November of 1989, and served 28 years.
She has been active in her tenure on the board, serving on many committees. A major contribution to the district has been serving as the Chairman of the Policy Committee for many years, ensuring the district is in compliance with Federal and State laws.
She has attended countless North Carolina School Board Association conferences and district meetings through the years.
She has been an active member of the Halifax County Arts Council, the Women’s Club, and the Roanoke Rapids High School Alumni Association.
“Ms. Deese has dedicated nearly 60 years of her life to serving children. I cannot think of a better person to receive this honor,” said Board Chair Jay Carlisle.
In a lighthearted remark, Deese presented the board with a framed one dollar bill saying she wished RRGSD and the board the best and wanted them to always have money on hand.
Created in 1965, the Order of the Long Leaf Pine is unique to North Carolina, and its recipients are chosen based on their contributions to their communities, extraordinary careers and many years of service.