Gaynell H. Brock

Gaynell H. Brock

August 20, 2023, 94, Mount Olive —

On Sunday, August 20th, the Lord called to heaven Gaynell H. Brock, one of the most loving, giving, hardworking, and humble of his children, to receive her most deserved award – eternal peace and rest. Mrs. Brock was the long-time operator of Southern Belle Restaurant in Mount Olive which closed in 2013. Her quiet and unassuming nature, compassion, and generosity endeared her to the hearts of all who knew her.

Mrs. Brock grew up in Seven Springs working in her father and mother’s Main Street general store. She attended Seven Springs School where she graduated as the Valedictorian of her class. Instead of attending Wake Forest University, where she had been accepted to study education, she met, fell in love, married Russell Brock, and settled into the life of a farmer’s wife. Over the next few years, she and Russell completed their family with the birth of four children. Her love of feeding people began long before operating the Southern Belle by providing meals every day for her family and all the farm workers. Her menus were never simple consisting of two to three meats, an array of vegetables, which she grew and harvested from her bountiful garden, bread, and dessert.

In addition to being an outstanding cook and businesswoman, Ms. Brock was a talented pianist with a beautiful singing voice. During her children’s school years, she was an active member of the PTA, often serving in an officer’s position, grade mother for all three children’s classes, and volunteering for anything the school needed. She believed in the power of education and was never too busy to check homework or offer assistance on school projects. As an active member of Bear Marsh Baptist Church, she was a Sunday School teacher, children’s choir director, and member of numerous committees at the church. Her many talents instilled in her children a strong work ethic, a love of music, and an appreciation for education, leading all three of her children to become educators.

Eventually, Ms. Brock began her career in public service with Doug Pigford in Warsaw operating one of the first room-sized computers in North Carolina. She later worked briefly at Young Squire Manufacturing of Mt. Olive, and finally for Glanton Barwick Insurance for many years. In 1980, with her husband Russell’s death, Ms. Brock took over the operation of the Southern Belle Restaurant which he had operated since 1975 thus beginning her thirty-eight-year career there.

During her years of being a businesslady, she received numerous accolades, all of which she felt she did not deserve because she was simply doing what she loved and making her customers happy. Some of her many awards and recognitions were being named a Paul Harris Fellow with the Rotary Club, recipient of the Order of the Long Leaf Pine, was Grand Marshal of the Mount Olive Christmas Parade in 2013, was honored with a Key to the City of Mount Olive, was honored by the Town of Mount Olive as it proclaimed Gaynell H. Brock Day, and from the Mount Olive Chamber of Commerce, she was awarded the Ruff Huggins Lifetime Achievement Award and the Outstanding Senior Citizen Award.

Visitation is to be held Wednesday, August 23, from 6 until 8 p.m. at Tyndall Funeral Home. Funeral services will be Thursday, August 24, at 11 a.m. at the funeral home with burial following at Wayne Memorial Park alongside her husband, Russell. Officiating will be the  Rev. Paul Rose and the Rev. Nick Nielsen, with several others who will share memories. Memorial gifts may be made to Gaynell H. Brock/Southern Belle Endowment, University of Mount Olive, PO Box 90, Mount Olive NC 28365.

Survivors include two daughters and a son-in-law, Debbie B. Grady of Mount Olive, and Gloria B. and Grey Morgan, also of Mount Olive; a daughter-in-law, Kaye G. Brock of Mount Olive; grandchildren, Russ Brock and wife, Kristy, of Mount Olive, Brandi B. Elkin and husband, Dave, of Faison, Bobbie Lynne Grady of Mount Olive, Greyson Morgan of Greenville, and Gayna M. and Jonathan Hairr of Greenville; great-grandchildren, Eli Brock, Caroline Brock, Vince Elkin, and Lincoln James Hairr; nephews, Michael Price and Tracy Price, and their families of Pricetown and Ryan Herring of Randleman, Adam Herring of Hampstead, and Josh Herring of Wilmington along with their families; a special cousin and friend Gay Sullivan of Mt. Olive; special friends, Jimmy Lambert of Calypso, Janie L. Stevens and Peggy Lee, both of Mount Olive; her special neighbors Marie McArthur, Edith Smith, and Jimmy Adams; and her beloved furry feline companion, Delilah. She is also survived by many of her loyal employees of the restaurant over the years and the many special customers and friends she made while she operated the restaurant.

She was preceded in death by her husband, Russell Brock; her son, Brad Brock; a six-month-old infant son, Michael Council Brock; a son-in-law, Bobby Grady; parents, Council Herring and Eileen Lewis Herring Webber; sister, Mamie Jean Barwick; brother, Allen Herring, his wife, Juanita, and a nephew, Pete Herring; a sister-in-law, Louise Brock; and her husband’s parents, Alma Brock and Fred Brock.

After many years of raising her loving family, working tirelessly, and feeding the people around her, we now bid this well-known and much-loved lady farewell. She was truly Mount Olive’s very own Southern Belle.

A Tyndall Service