Charles Grady Nowell

Charles Grady Nowell

WENDELL – Charles Grady Nowell, 89, died Sunday, April 5, 2020.  He was born in Wake County to the late Benjamin Franklin Nowell and Hattie Edna Mitchell Nowell.  His family eventually settled in Wendell, NC where he attended Wendell Baptist Church.  He received a degree in Accounting from Hardbarger Business College; a Bachelor of Arts in Greek and History from Wake Forest College (now University) and received his Bachelor of Divinity from Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary.   During and after seminary, he was a pastor of churches in Washington, N.C., Chantilly, Va., and Reidsville, N.C.

He is survived by his wife and best friend, Barbara Short Nowell of the home, children, Carolyn Nowell Elliott (David) of Wendell,  Kenneth Grady Nowell (Julie) of Apex, Sandra Nowell Phillips (David) of Angier,  Brenda Nowell Maxwell (Danny) of Wendell, sisters, Betty Nowell Gay Boyle (Preston) of Richmond, VA,  Rebecca Nowell Bridgers (Shelton) of Wendell, Linda Nowell Driver (Dan-deceased) of Rocky Mount, , nine grandchildren (Andrea, Rebecca, Olivia, Cassie, Brianna, Nicole, Matthew, Addison, and Cooper), and two great-grandchildren (Ava and Austin and one on the way).

Grady became a Christian at the age of 14.  At the age of 22, he felt called to be a pastor but felt he was not equipped, so he attended Wake Forest College and later the seminary.  It was at the seminary, at a Missionary Day address, that he felt God call him to missions.  His application to the International Mission board stated, “I surrendered my life to God to serve him wherever he should lead, feeling that he was calling me to foreign missionary service.”  He met Barbara in the fall of 1956.  Early in 1957 they began dating seriously and were married on August 23, 1957.  

Grady enjoyed life!  He went from a sharecropper’s son to a college graduate, follower of God and world traveler.  Grady was wealthy in the kind of wealth you CAN take with you. He believed in building relationships and sharing Jesus with those he met.  He did not shrink from the challenges God set before him.  Grady enjoyed being a missionary and sharing Jesus.  He worked in starting countless churches/missions in Honduras across the country, working in the Christian bookstore, distributing Christian literature across the country and mentoring many pastors.  When he returned to the US, he championed Adults on Missions involving many in a local church the opportunity to partner with Hondurans for more than 15 years.  

He loved God and often talked about heaven.  He dearly loved his wife and partner Barbara.  He loved his siblings, his children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.  He championed building relationships, whether in the home, church, neighborhood or sporting event.  Grady was a great hugger.

To know Grady is to know he enjoyed sports immensely.  He loved watching the Chicago Cubs, and Wake Forest football and basketball.  He enjoyed playing tennis, golf, and softball, and pitched for the church league until he was 80 years old. He enjoyed walking/running.  He began running when he went on a journey in to the rural mountains of Honduras with a local Honduran, and realized he could not keep up.  He trained physically to be able to travel to remote villages in Honduras and not get left behind.   He played golf the Friday before he died, and walked straight into heavens gates after completing a three-mile walk, two blocks shy from home.  

Grady’s organizational skills were instrumental in helping many people after Hurricane FiFi in San Pedro Sula (1974) and later after Hurricane Mitch in Tegucigalpa (1998).  

His family will have a graveside service at 2pm, Friday, April 10, at Mitchell Family Cemetery with a celebration of life to be held later. 

Romans 10:15 (NLT)  “How beautiful are the feet of messengers who bring good news!”

Memorial gifts may be designated “Grady Nowell /Lottie Moon” and sent to Wakefield Central Baptist Church, 308 Proctor Street, Zebulon, NC 27597, or given at


  • Donna McLaird/George Hamrick Posted April 8, 2020 11:57 am

    Barbara so sorry for your loss, he will be truly missed by so many people, please know that I am praying for you and your family.

  • Joyce Harms Posted April 8, 2020 12:49 pm

    Our hearts have been saddened but yet we rejoice knowing that Grady is with the one he loved and served. There were many there to welcome him. Our love to Barbara, Carolyn, Kenny, Sandy & Brenda and their spouces and the grandchildren as well as the great! We will see him again….mucho amor de la familia Harms.

  • Paula McGee Posted April 8, 2020 1:03 pm

    Mrs Nowell and Family,
    My heart aches for the thought of you being here on earth without precious Grady. I know this loss is real and deep! I am so thankful for his faith and the hope that you all will be in heaven one day with him. While days now will be hard, rest in the comfort of his desire to see you thruve until the day you will be reunited. Love, Hugs and prayers to you all! I’m so glad through my friendship with Brenda, that I too have been touched by you all!

  • Lilian Julieta Salgado- Bart Posted April 8, 2020 1:08 pm

    To Ms. Bábara Nowell and to the Nowell family,

    My deeply condolences for your loss.
    Great childhood memories of the Nowell family in San Pedro Sula.
    Praying for all of you.

    Lilian Salgado-Bart

  • Larry & Debbie Jones Posted April 8, 2020 1:14 pm

    Barbara, You are in our prayers and we extend our deepest condolences. Grady was a very special person and will be missed.

  • Anna Andrews Posted April 8, 2020 1:55 pm

    Dear family,
    What a remarkable man of God your father was.
    We are so sorry for your loss and we share in your sadness As we remember a remarkable man. We send our healing prayers and comforting hugs. We are thinking of you during this difficult time and wish you moments of peace and comfort. Our family will be keeping your family in our thoughts and prayers.

    Cliff & Anna Andrews

  • Harry and Jackie Chamblee Posted April 8, 2020 2:58 pm

    Barbara, you are in our prayers..What a blessing it has been to know you and Grady..We love you, we will miss Grady, but we know we will see him again one day.

  • Joeann & Waverly Horton Posted April 8, 2020 3:05 pm

    Barbara, we were so sorry to hear about Charles Grady death, If we can do anything for you please let us know. All of you are in our prayers. I think about all the good times we had at Mama Mitchell as Children. We are going to miss him.

  • Kimberly Butler. Posted April 8, 2020 3:05 pm

    Carolyn. He had to be a great man to have raised such a wonderful daughter. You and your family Are in my prayers.

  • Ellen Pace (formerly Mitchell) Posted April 8, 2020 3:24 pm

    I am so sorry for you loss. Prayers for the family

  • Randy Rose Posted April 8, 2020 6:02 pm

    We will surely miss you at the golf course Grady. To the family, I’m very sorry for your loss.

  • Michele Robertson Posted April 8, 2020 9:28 pm

    Our hearts go out to all of the family. We will always remember his kindness to us at church each Sunday. We send you our deepest sympathies and prayers for you to feel the love of God surround you in this time.
    Kirk, Michele and Naomi Robertson

  • Carol Musselman Posted April 8, 2020 9:56 pm

    We are deeply saddened at the earthly death of Mr. Grady, He was such a kind, sweet, godly man; and we know that his absence here leaves a void in so many lives. Our thoughts and prayers are with you, Mrs. Barbara, and the rest of your family as you walk this journey of significant loss. May God bring you the comfort and peace that only He can bring.

  • Ilene Sherron Posted April 8, 2020 10:00 pm

    You He did a lot at Hephzibah Church and will never forget you two teacher to those who couldn’t speak English well! God Bless You!!!

  • Ariel Valladares y Brenda Panchame de Valladares. Posted April 8, 2020 10:14 pm

    Hermana Barbara sentimos mucho su pedida, aqui en Honduras le recordamos con mucho cariño. Nuestro amado Dios le fortalezca en estos dificiles momentos a usted y todos los suyos.

  • Stephannie Posted April 8, 2020 11:21 pm

    Carolyn, I can see what an awesome man your father was. He touched the lives of so many. May you find comfort in the beautiful memories you have of the wonderful life he lived.

  • Max T. Furr Posted April 9, 2020 10:15 am

    So sorry for the loss. He was a dear friend and brother in Christ. Our time in Honduras was such a wonderful experience and we cherish each moment we had with him and Barbara. Blessings and peace be on all of you at this time

  • Rhonda Evrard Posted April 9, 2020 11:16 am

    What a beautiful song and pictures to remember such a wonderful Godly man with his very blessed family! We know he is in Heaven. My love and prayers go out to each of you during these difficult days.

  • Chaplain Tom Eldridge Posted April 9, 2020 11:31 am

    An inspirational, life long witness of Jesus Christ. I am honored to have known Missionary Nowell. Bueno es Dios!

  • Shelly Meadows Posted April 9, 2020 11:40 am

    Mrs Barbara, Carolyn and the rest of the family, I know Grady’s presence will be missed now that he is with our Heavenly Father. What a blessing you have had to share your lives with such a sweet, godly man. I only knew him a few years and was profoundly touched by him, I will pray for comfort as you grieve but think of how happy Mr Grady is to finally see His Savior’s face. ❤️

  • Valerie Thomas Posted April 9, 2020 12:31 pm

    Carolyn, Please accept my heartfelt condolences on the passing of your wonderful father. Praying that God will provide your family the comfort and strength needed during this difficult time.

  • Anita Reyes Posted April 9, 2020 2:37 pm

    Querida amiga Brenda: siento mucho la partida de tu papá, estan en mis oraciones para que Dios padre les de el consuelo y la fuerza que tu, tu mami y toda tu familia necesitan. Tu papito ya goza del reino de los cielos. Te abrazo con cariño amiga mia 🙏🏻🙏🏻🙏🏻😘😘😘

  • Hugh McKinley Posted April 9, 2020 3:03 pm

    Barbara. Our deepest sympathy to you and all the family. Grady is well remembered by us and, we feel sure, by all the others in our Baptist missionary fellowship. May God comfort you and give you His peace. Hugh and Rebecca McKinley (“retired” missionaries, Zimbabwe)

  • Charlotte Hall Posted April 9, 2020 11:16 pm

    Dear Barbara, My whole family sends our sincere condolences to you and your children on the death of Grady. He wa a gentle, Christian man, and we will miss seeing him. May God bless you as you move on in your life, knowing Grady is with his Lord.

  • Johnny Whitfield Posted April 10, 2020 1:21 am

    Barbara, I am so very sorry to hear of Grady’s passing. When I was a little boy I got in trouble for running around in the sanctuary and my mother made me go to the church to apologize. Mr. Prevatte wasn’t there, but Grady was and so I had to apologize to him and he was very kind to me. As an adult at Wakefield, he was a wonderful friend and mentor to me. I certainly will miss him.

  • Tom and Susan Canady Posted April 10, 2020 3:27 pm

    Our prayers go out to all the family. There is no doubt that Grady will be greatly missed. We not only enjoyed out time together in Honduras but were able to continue being “two hours away neighbors”. We are so grateful that our friendship continued. Grady was a great example of a servant on the mission field in Honduras and when he returned to retire. We will forever remember his smile and cackle when he laughed. Grady would always lift one’s spirit. Hasta luego amigo!

  • James & Cindy Lewis Posted April 15, 2020 11:26 am

    Dear Nowell family. Sorry for your loss but we know to be absent from this body is to be present with the Lord. God bless all of us in the days to come. We are praying for you. James & Cindy Lewis ( Penn Memorial Baptist Church)

  • Julia and Joe Ledford Posted May 19, 2020 11:41 am

    We will always hold fond memories of Grady in our hearts. Both of you have set wonderful examples for all of us to emulate. We are blessed by every connection we had over the years. May you find the support, comfort and hope you need for the days ahead.

  • Roque Lanza Posted May 24, 2020 2:48 pm

    Hna Barbara y familia Nowell, hasta hoy me doy cuenta de la partida del hno Carlos Nowell. Se que es dificil la perdida de tan gran ser humano y servidor de Cristo, pero sabemos que el esta gozando de la presencia de Dios en su gloria…Pido a Dios les de paz en su corazon y Esperanza de que un dia nos encontraremos todos los que hallamos perseverado, en la presencia de Dios y juntos gozarnos..Dios les bendiga mucho hna Barbara les recuerdo con mucho amor y los llevo en mi corazonn, desde Tegucigalpa Honduras. Donde nos conocimos en la Iglesia Bautista Dunamis del pastor Pablo Hernandez. Bendiciones

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