Cover photo for Mattie Mae Urquhart's Obituary
Mattie Mae Urquhart Profile Photo

Mattie Mae Urquhart

November 13, 1955 — October 29, 2023

Mattie Mae Harris was born on November 13, 1955 to the late Willie and Ruby Harris in Sampson County, North Carolina. She was called from labor to reward on October 29, 2023. She was preceded in death by her “special” mother,  Mary C. Hodges Harris and siblings: brother, John Wesley Harris (Joanne); sisters Betty Broome, and Evangeline “Van” Harris Johnson.

Mattie, affectionately called “Mattie Mae” by siblings and close friends, was raised in Baltimore, MD in the Charles village area on Howard and 25th St. She and her siblings attended Oak Street African Methodist Episcopal Church. She was a very adventurous youth, known for riding the Metro bus and exploring the city with vibrant curiosity alongside her childhood friend, Linda Morgan. This curiosity sparked her imagination to present interesting items for show and tell, including gifts from her brother Laverne (Buddy). One of those gifts she took a particular liking to was a teddy bear.    

Mattie excelled in Business Vocational Studies, graduating from the Baltimore City Public School System and continued her post-secondary education at Paul D. Camp Community College in Franklin, VA where she earned her Diploma as a Clerk-Typist.

Before moving to Virginia, Mattie met and married Frank M. Urquhart, Jr. They lived for many years in Zuni, VA where they raised their three daughters, “her girls” (as they were affectionately called), Tina, Sheila and Sheri. She made it a priority to keep them involved in many community, church and extracurricular activities. She was very instrumental in the local 4-H program working over 10 years as an Adult Leader.  She assisted in mentoring many youth in Southampton County leading them to receive multiple achievements/awards and even becoming the first in Southampton County to participate in the Adopt-A-Spot Trash Recycling Program.

Mattie joined and attended Chapel Grove United Church of Christ in Windsor, VA. She was a member of the Intermediate Choir, Church Council, Eastern Virginia Association, Treasurer, past Trustee and Treasurer for Trustees. Mattie loved her community, church and serving others, period. There was no task too great or small of which she was unwilling to be a part.

In 1979, Mattie gained employment with Northrop Grumman (formerly Newport News Shipbuilding and Drydock). Here she met co-worker and lifelong friend, Barbara Willie, in Department X-36. Although it was a laborious job, Mattie enjoyed her early years with her “gang” (Callis, Kermit, Wolf, Michelle, Clayton).

She was employed at Northrop Grumman for 39 years, retiring in 2018. From 1979 to 1997 she worked as a cleaner on aircraft carriers on the waterfront. And from 1997 until 2018 working as a Tool Clerk in the Machine Shop/Foundry. During her time at the yard, Mattie became very active with the United Steelworkers Union Local 8888, where she held various positions.Throughout the years she performed duties as an Organizer, Trustee, and Treasurer; served on multiple committees, including Special Benefits, Political Action, Women of Steel, and Chair for the Benevolent Committee. She was Delegate for the Central Labor Council as well as the A. Philip Randolph Institute.

Mattie moved to Franklin in 1996 and continued her community activism and engagement furthering her involvement statewide throughout the years. She participated in many voter registration drives, served as an election poll worker and joined the following organizations: Democratic Party of Virginia; Central Committee Member for District Four; Virginia Democratic Womens’ Caucus (Treasurer since 2007); AFL-CIO (delegate); United Steelworkers SOAR Committee (member) and; Southampton Memorial Hospital (volunteer).

From the time of her youth until adulthood, Mattie was always considered a “protector,” and someone who fought and championed many causes. Whether for her immediate family or co-workers or friends, she was often admired and could be counted on to look out for others.

Mattie’s favorite quote, “It is better to be seen than viewed,” is a testament to how she lived her life. She loved traveling with her family and friends. A road trip was only a full tank of gas and a printed road-map away from a sure enough good time! She enjoyed seeing God’s country and meeting all the various people along the way. Passengers were often guaranteed a good meal from Cracker Barrel unless she was in the mood for a dark biscuit from a particular fast food place. Then, if the order was wrong, you’d hear, “it’s not fit for a dog,” and her signature hand flick, coupled with a conversation about how her cousin Brenda makes the best breakfast. Mattie loved shopping and collecting teddy bears. And, a piece of pound cake and a cold Pepsi Zero was often a special treat!

Mattie leaves to cherish her life, love, and dedicated years of service and volunteerism: three daughters, Shantina “Tina” Harris (Baltimore, MD), Sheila J. Urquhart-Moura (Aurora, CO), and Sheri A. Urquhart (Windsor,VA); one son-in-law,Thyron Moura; two brothers: Lavern “ Buddy” Lewis (Esther) and Willie Harris (Sylvia); one sister Louise Morgan (Leroy)--all from Baltimore, Md; three sisters-in-law:  Joanne Harris, Desiree Urquhart, Eileen Urquhart; one mother-in-law, Anna P. Urquhart; five grandchildren: Kendra Harris, Shaina Phillips, Gloria Phillips, Tré Urquhart-Ridley and Aysha Granger; six great-grandchildren: Charles Branch, Peyton Motley, Kensley Partlow, Braelyn Phillps, Kayden Horton and Kingston Jones.

Mattie leaves to mourn a host of nieces, nephews, loved ones, family and friends. She lived an abundant life leaving an everlasting impression and legacy, having formed bonds that mere words are difficult to capture. Manmade titles will never describe who they are and what they mean to others. Nieces and cousins that are more like sisters (Theresa Johnson and Shiquita Dancy). Friends that have become surrogate mothers and have provided counsel without fail (Barbara Willie, Verna Chambliss, Mary Duck and Maryette Barnes). 

A treasured friend that has become family is Ms. Wanda Gibbs. Her long standing support over the years has been more than as a caregiver and neighbor. Her availability, compassion, empathy and friendship has proven abundantly immeasurable.

Each and every person has been invaluable and will forever be loved because they were a major part of Mattie’s healing.

A public viewing will be held 2:00-7:00pm, Friday, November 10, 2023 in the Melvin J. Blowe Chapel of Crocker Funeral Home, Inc. A celebration of life will be held 11:00am, Saturday, November 11, 2023 at Chapel Grove United Church of Christ. She will be laid to rest in the church cemetery. Professional services with dignity have been entrusted to Crocker Funeral Home, Inc.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Mattie Mae Urquhart, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

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Viewing

Friday, November 10, 2023

2:00 - 7:00 pm (Eastern time)

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Melvin J. Blowe Chapel of Crocker Funeral Home, Inc.

900 East Washington Street
Suffolk, VA 23434

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Celebration of Life

Saturday, November 11, 2023

Starts at 11:00 am (Eastern time)

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