RALEIGH, NC: Lucille Clarke Varner (“Lucy”) Menius, 94, died quietly on Monday afternoon, July 28, 2014, at Falls River Court in Raleigh following a prolonged battle with dementia. A memorial service will take place at White Memorial Presbyterian Church in Raleigh on Tuesday, August 5, at 2 pm.
Lucy was born in Chapel Hill on December 14, 1919 to H.B. Varner (dec 1938), and Fanny Clarke Varner (dec 1979), both Orange County natives. She was graduated from Chapel Hill High School and then completed a two-year secretarial program at Pace College in New York City. She met A.C. (Buck) Menius, Jr., of Salisbury when he was a graduate student at UNC, from which he received the Ph.D. in 1942.
During the war years she worked for the UNC Press. Her greatest accomplishment there came in assisting the octogenarian former Secretary of Navy, Ambassador to Mexico, and News & Observer editor Josephus Daniels in the completion of the final tomes of his multi-volume memoir, Editor in Politics (1941), The Wilson Era: Years of Peace, 1910-1917 (1944) and Shirt-Sleeve Diplomat (1947).
Lucille Varner and A.C. Menius, Jr. married in Thurmont, MD on March 31, 1946. They moved first to Clemson, SC and then to Raleigh in 1949. At NC State College/University, Dr. Menius, who died on October 13, 1996, guided building the first non-government nuclear reactor in the USA and served as Dean of the School of Physical Sciences and Mathematics from 1960 until 1981. In addition to serving as an exemplary faculty spouse, Mrs. Menius took on multiple leadership roles in arts and social service non-profits in Wake County throughout the 1960s and 1970s. Her board service included the NC Symphony Society, Hilltop Home, NC Museum of Art, Raleigh Fine Arts, and the Wake County Arts Council. Lucy was President of White Memorial Presbyterian Women (1961-63) and received the Honorary Life Membership in Presbyterian Women, Presbyterian Church, USA (1993). Lucy was a long time member of the Ola Podia Book Club and, for sixty years, Carolina Country Club. The Meniuses were active in the English Speaking Union and the Sphinx Club, among other organizations.
Mrs. Menius is survived by her son, A.C. (Art) Menius III of Carrboro and his wife, Rebecca Johnson; a nephew Bruce Varner, Jr., a niece by marriage, Nancy Welchel, and her husband Ken, of Charlotte, and cousins including Tommy Bullock of Durham. Memorial contributions may be made to The ArtsCenter; 300-G East Main Street; Carrboro, NC 27510; www.artscenterlive.org . Arrangements by Brown-Wynne Funeral Home, Saint Mary’s St., Raleigh.