Mary Jane Johnson Tate

February 6, 1929 – June 13, 2019

Mary Jane Johnson Tate passed peacefully into the arms of the Lord on the morning of June 13th.

Born on February 6, 1929, to the late James F. Johnson and Elizabeth Bowen Johnson of Raleigh, NC, Mary Jane was a child of the Great Depression. Her father owned the Cherokee Brick Co., and his influence taught her to be frugal and self-sufficient. As a teen, she was athletic, and somewhat a tom-boy, directing those attributes towards a love of horsemanship. She even talked her parents into buying her a horse that she kept in a stable in her back yard on Glenwood Avenue. Regarding her education, she was proud to be a charter student of the Ravenscroft School as a child and later attended St. Mary’s School. She went on to Georgian Court College in New Jersey and graduated from The University of North Carolina. At Georgian Court, she experienced the excitement of post-war New York and at Chapel Hill, she became a lifelong Tar Heel fan and met Allen Tate, to whom she was married for 25 years.

During their marriage, she helped Allen build his successful real estate and development businesses serving in many roles ranging from administrative work to interior design, all while actively engaging in their many civic activities like the Charlotte Jay-Cees. When she became a mother, her focus turned to her children. She was an active neighborhood mom ensuring ideal childhoods for Allen and Libby in Kingswood and Foxcroft East. She never missed a birthday party, Cub Scout meeting or field trip, but she enjoyed sports the most. Swim meets, ball games, gymnastics competitions, and horse shows; she loved the competition and made sure that her children never missed an opportunity.

Mary Jane’s faith was very important to her. A born again Christian,  she spent many years as a member of a regular prayer group with whom she shared her personal cares and ministered to others. She also had many happy times and good fellowship with a regular bridge group. Mary Jane loved the beach, and after her children finished college, she designed and built a small beach house. Cleverly built on an old trailer frame and known as “Marlette Manor”, she spent many happy times with her life-long friends, the Millers, and their Ocean Lakes crew. Her lifelong hobby was gardening. She could grow anything, and spoiled family and friends with homegrown and home cooked everything which we will all miss very much.

In her later years, she developed a close friendship with Essie Lanier, who had helped raise Mary Jane’s grandchildren. They shared many common interests. Essie’s devotion and care, along with the same from Phalytha Livingston and Shirley Turner over the past two years, gave quality and comfort to her life. The family is grateful to these three ladies for the loving care they provided.

Mary Jane is survived by her two children H. Allen Tate, III and his wife Sha, Libby Tate Gordon and her husband Paisley, and four grandchildren; Allen Tate, IV, Carter Elizabeth Tate, C. Paisley Gordon, III and Elizabeth Bowen Gordon; all of Charlotte, and a sister-in-law, Betty Tate Clark of Gaffney, SC.

The family will receive friends on Wednesday evening from 6-8pm at the home of Libby and Paisley Gordon; 2632 Sherwood Ave. in Charlotte. A graveside service will be held at 12:00 Noon, Thursday, the 20th of June 2019 in the Johnson family plot at the Historic  Oakwood Cemetery in Raleigh.

In lieu of flowers memorials may be made to St. Mary’s School at 900 Hillsborough St. Raleigh, NC 27603 or Danny and Ron’s Rescue for the benefit of homeless pets at

Notes and condolences may be made to the Tate family by leaving a comment below.

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1 year ago

The pain death brings is unmatched , the overwhelming feeling of sorrow can be too much to bear sometimes so please realise that I mean it when I say I’m sorry for your loss. I appreciate that i do not know you personally but unfortunately death Is common amongst us all. I hope you can find comfort from God in his word the bible in Revelation 21 vs 4 And he will wipe out every tear from their eyes, and death will be no more, neither will mourning nor outcry nor pain be anymore. The former things have passed away.”

If you have the time please the article “ Death does not end it all” from (

Steve, CJ, SS and CR

1 year ago

We are sorry for your recent loss. Mary Jane helped many people and will be greatly missed. The death of a loved one is difficult, continue to lean on God, friends and family. God will always give you comfort, as found in the Bible at (2Cor 1:3-4). He will soon take away death (1Cor 15:26), and he will soon return our loved ones by way of the resurrection (John 5:28-29).
Please search the article “When someone you love dies”, at it greatly helped us through a difficult time and we hope it can help you to gain some comfort.

The Rivers Family

1 year ago

Our deepest condolences to the family. When our loved ones fall asleep in death, words alone cannot ease the pain of our loss. Our loving God Jehovah understands how we feel and he comforts us by means of his word the Bible. Psalm 147:3 reads He (God) heals the brokenhearted; He binds up their wounds. We can also find comfort from Jesus words at John 5:28-29 “The hour is coming in which all those in the memorial tombs will hear his voice and come out”. May these scriptures bring comfort and calmness of heart to you during the difficult days ahead. To learn more about this promise please visit our website: and view the comforting video; What is the Condition of the Dead?


Carl McEwen Ellington Sr.

President of Ellington Funeral Services


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Derek W. Hunter

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