On March 3, 2021. in the presence of his loving family, the invincible spirit of Herbert Wallace Eplee Sr. went to rest with his Savior Jesus Christ. He was 91 years old. His vitality will live on with his wife Shirley Davis Eplee and his three sons Herbert W. Eplee Jr, Gordon Kelly Eplee, Melvin Glenn Eplee and a multitude of family and friends.
Preceding him in death are his siblings Netam Kelly Eplee, Ernestine Eplee Thompson, Robert Eugene Eplee, Betty Lou Eplee Roper, Bonnie Jean Eplee Voris. His remaining siblings are Peggy Ruth Smith and husband Jennings Smith, of Glenwood, NC, and Mary Mullins Eplee, the wife of his brother Bob, Jim and Carolyn Davis and Ed and Brenda Davis. Herbert as blessed by 7 grandchildren and 6 great grandchildren.
“Herb” was born to Kelly Mckinley Eplee and Madeline Price Eplee on August 18th, 1929, in Stantonsburg, NC. With the arrival of the Great Depression, the family moved to Glenwood, NC, purchasing farmland from Kelly’s parents, Adney D. Eplee and Sarah Ann Dalton Eplee. Herbert grew up the third of seven children and spoke with great fondness of the hard work, faith, values and practical skills learned on that small farm. He often said, “we were well-off in so many ways, that we didn’t know how poor we really were”. While he was smaller in stature, he soon made a name for himself as a competitor with a big personality who was going places.
Herb graduated from Glenwood School, Class of ’47, and enlisted in the U.S. Army at age 18, serving in Europe at the end of WWII in the European Command Headquarters in Heidelberg, Germany. Stories from that time often began, “I toured Europe as a kid, compliments of Uncle Sam.” He was promoted to responsibility for the transportation pool, and could be found frequently in a Willys jeep, chauffeuring “the top brass” to reconstruction efforts throughout Germany and France.
While taking business classes as a young man at the college in Berea, Kentucky, he applied for a job in a small lumber yard and discovered his natural gifts at management and sales. Forever after that he recalled, “I never worked another day in my life!”. It was also in Kentucky that he met the love of his life, Shirley Jean Davis.
In 1972, He was the owner of Dealer Imports Inc. in Huntersville, NC., a distributor of Baltic Birch plywood into the Carolinas and Virginia furniture and cabinet industries. Herbert sealed the success of the young company when Shirley joined him to run the office. Together, with hard work and optimism, they successfully grew Dealer Imports through the sector’s many booms and challenges for almost 50 years. He gained a regional reputation for his experience and wisdom. When any truly odd-ball question about plywood needed an answer, many said, “just call Herb!”. Weekends would find him with family back in Glenwood, operating Plywood Sales on the farm.
Herb had a passion for living that was optimistic, hardworking and adventurous. He lived by the Will Rogers quote, “a stranger is just a friend I haven’t met yet”, always making time for conversation and photos of his latest grandchild or hunting trip. His interests were many and his perspective and care was global. He was an avid, cover-to-cover reader of National Geographic, keeping every publication since the late 50’s. At age 45 he fulfilled a childhood dream of a pilot's license, a Cessna 172 and the joy of flight. The first day of hunting season would usually find him with family and friends in Montana or Colorado or “busting through the briars” while bird hunting. He was faithfully involved in his church and missions both local and abroad bringing Christ’s love to the spiritual and physical needs of others. He loved life, God, his family and his many friends; he will be greatly missed.
His family and friends have lost a truly inspirational figure. We welcome you to celebrate his life on Saturday, March 6th, at 1:00 PM at Bethel Baptist Church with Rev. Jimmy Upton officiating. The family will receive friends one hour prior to the service at the church. Burial will follow the service in the church cemetery. COVID-prevention measures of social distancing and masks will be in place to assure safety.
In lieu of flowers, those wishing to make donations in Herb’s memory are asked to consider Bethel Baptist Church, 205 Bethel Church Rd, Marion, NC 28752 or Hospice & Palliative Care Charlotte Region, PO Box 470408, Charlotte, NC 28247.
To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Herbert "Herb" Wallace Eplee, Sr., please visit our floral store.
Bethel Baptist Church
205 Bethel Church Rd, Marion NC 28752
Hospice & Palliative Care Charlotte Region
PO Box 470408, Charlotte NC 28247