Robinson Hall, Arbor Acres
1244 Arbor Road, Winston-Salem, NC 27104
Wednesday, May 17, 2017
- Apr 14, 2017
SOPHIA CODY, COMMUNITY LEADER, DIES AT 97
Sophia Agnes Spivey Cody, known as Sophie to her friends, died peacefully April 14, 2017 at her residence, Arbor Acres, Winston-Salem. She had suffered with cancer in her last two years of life.
Sophia Cody was born in Louisburg, NC, graduated valedictorian locally and studied organic chemistry at UNC Chapel Hill. She was part of a small group of students urgently assembled by Dean House the night Pearl Harbor was attacked to help set an example of patriotic commitment and dedication on campus, a point of view that Sophia continued when, in 1945, her own husband Bill Cody, was lost at sea three months after the birth of their child, Mary Ann. During World War II Sophia, then a graduate student, joined an expeditionary team of UNC scientists to the Florida Everglades to study the use of invasive plants as substitutes for fossil fuels, a very forward-looking idea at the time.
Trained as a chemist, Sophia was taken by her father-in-law, Hiram Cody, into his real estate office in Winston-Salem. She quickly tucked a baby doll bought for her young daughter into her desk drawer and set about learning the culture of business. She excelled and became North Carolina’s first woman to be licensed as a realtor.
In a recent interview with the Winston-Salem Journal Sentinel Sophia’s daughter, Mary Ann Tucker, said “As the daughter of a quiet but memorable Southern woman, I realized that women were finding words and phrases for the phenomena that exemplified my mother’s daily life. Her energy and intelligence were channeled directly into her own community with an ongoing generosity and concern for the general welfare. As the first woman realtor in the state, she made sure the G.I. Bill helped returning veterans find a first house …. which led to the next home the family would need … and years later Sophia found herself being called on to find homes for the third generations of the same families!”
Nothing better illustrates Sophia Cody’s commitment to her community and her fierce talent for persuasion than her instrumental role as a young woman in raising funding in 1959 for the building of a new facility in Winston-Salem for Goodwill Industries and for a transformational expansion of the services provided there, all as described in the 1992 published history of the Winston-Salem Rotary Club (Douglas M. Young, Morobullia): “The most important event in the history of Goodwill Industries began to unfold on January 2, 1959 in the board room of Wachovia Bank … seated around the conference table were a dozen of the most influential men in the community … Sophia Cody traced the history and accomplishments of Goodwill Industries …” and explained that while other state programs helped handicapped children there was no place for them to receive adult vocational training. “ …The first to speak (Bob Hanes, Wachovia’s Chairman) said to Sophia ‘You’re trying to raise $250,000 – put me down for five percent…’" The funds were quickly committed and later that year Sophia was recognized by Goodwill Industries’ national executive secretary as “Goodwill Woman of the Year”. In the same year, Sophia received the Junior League Award for Outstanding Community Service.
The meaning of the word “educate” from the Latin “to lead out” was fully understood by Sophia who returned to her beloved alma mater, UNC Chapel Hill over and over and annually marched in the reunion procession for her class (1940) until quite recently. She served at various times on advisory boards for Wake Forest University, UNC Chapel Hill, NC School of the Arts and the NC Governor’s School for Math and Sciences.
She is survived by her daughter Mary Ann Tucker and son-in-law Lawrence Tucker of Connecticut; her granddaughter Katherine Cody Tucker and grandson Benjamin Tucker Baum of Los Angeles; her sisters, Virginia Coleman and Francis Beck; and her nephew, Norman Spivey.
The family requests that in lieu of flowers remembrances be in the form of contributions to the Winston-Salem Foundation. A memorial service will be held on May 17 at 11:30 a.m. in Robinson Hall of Asbury Place, Arbor Acres, 1244 Arbor Road, Winston-Salem, NC 27104.
Online condolences may be made to www.salemfh.com.
I didn't get to know Sophie until the last few years. While she wasn't able to come to many of the performances and activities at UNCSA like she used to, she would still call and inquire about the Board of Visitors meetings and remained engaged. We all loved her spirit and her enthusiasm. She was a great friend to the school and will be missed.
Cyndee and Richard McQuellon
Rest in peace dear Sophie. Your many gifts will live on through the Comprehensive Cancer Center and the Cancer Patient Support Program of Wake Forest Baptist Health. Your kind and generous spirit continues to make a difference in this world. Thank you Sophie.
Barbara N Hearn
You were a great help to me in my early days at Wake Forest for which I am forever grateful. RIP
To the family of Miss Sofie
May the Lord comfort you at this time . I am so sorry for your loss . I have had the pleasure on many an occasion to see Miss Sofie at social events over the years . She was a sweet gracious woman and always so kind to me . My deepest condolences to her family . Rest In Peace dear Miss Sofie
Blair Tucker Hatcher
My condolence for a wonderful lady. I am a Louisburg native and the Spiveys lived next door to my grandmother. My cousin and I used to go to their house and Frances and Virginia would give us delicious chocolate milk. Sofie had left by that time, but we got to know her when Wake Forest moved to Winston Salem. My husband and I were looking for an apartment, and she helped us find one. She and her family were special to me. I send love and sympathy to all of the family.
Nancy Glynn Elberson
I remember Sophie for her kindnesses to me and my children, Ann and Charlie. She spent many hours with them at Arts and Crafts and as our next door neighbor at Hound Ears.
Nancy Glynn Elberson