News Reporter ’s ad director Greer dies at 61
By FULLER ROYAL, Staff Writer
– Longtime News Reporter advertising director Max Newton “Mickey” Greer Jr. died Wednesday morning at Columbus Regional Healthcare of an apparent heart attack.
Greer, a runner who worked out on a daily basis, collapsed on Pinckney Street, about 30 minutes into his early morning run.
He was 61.
Greer was the son of the late Max Newton Greer Sr. and the late Mary Ellen Swain Greer. He grew up in the Whiteville United Methodist Church and held several jobs while a student at Whiteville High School. Among those jobs was carrying typewriters from the high school to his father, who worked in the office supply division of The News Reporter repairing typewriters.
Greer also worked in the newspaper’s advertising department while a high school student.
After graduation from WHS in 1969, Greer enrolled at Wake Forest University where he met future wife Carol Smith, a music student. She was a Baptist and Greer would also become a Baptist as their relationship grew.
In 1973, Greer earned his bachelor’s degree in history, graduating cum laude. He returned to Whiteville where he went to work in the advertising department of The News Reporter. Carlton Stanley was the advertising manager. Carol came with him, becoming the choir and music director at Whiteville First Baptist Church.
In July of 1986, when Stanley unexpectedly died, The News Reporter’s publisher James C. High promoted Greer to advertising manager, the post he held until his death.
Greer was active with the Greater Whiteville Chamber of Commerce, currently serving as a director.
He spent 20 years as a member of the Whiteville Civitan Club and served a term as its president.
Fellow Civitan and cousin, Jimmy Greer, recalled how Greer sang “Climb Every Mountain” on the occasion of Greer’s successor taking office.
Greer was active with Whiteville’s First Baptist Church, serving as a deacon. He taught various age-groups in Sunday school for nearly 40 years.He worked with the Royal Ambassador boys and their basketball teams. He also taught a newlyweds class.
A tenor, he quickly lent his voice to the church’s adult choir and was known for his solo performances of “The Lord’s Prayer.” Greer sang solos, and duets with Carol, at scores of weddings, funerals and musical events, including those of the Southeastern Oratorio Society. His last performance of “The Lord’s Prayer” was two weeks ago at the funeral of fellow church member Charlie Langston.
He also enjoyed performing on occasion as part of a church quartet with Melvin Ezzell, Furney Baker and Eddie Fort.
His children said he continued to be a history and genealogy buff, able to trace his entire family back to the Civil War.
He also enjoyed fishing and wood-working. Greer loved to quote poetry and was an avid reader. From books, he taught himself basketball, tennis and home renovation.
He and his running buddies – Mike Smith, Tom Caperton and George Kenan – began the Eagles Running Club where each had to run at least 500 miles per year.
Known as “Mic-Mic” to his four grandchildren, he loved spending time with them. A fifth grandchild is on the way.
As word of Greer’s death spread Wednesday, comments began to pour onto The News Reporter’s Facebook page.
“Mickey leaves a huge void in our community,” wrote Lisa Richey. “His grace, spirit, poetic prowess, faith, voice and wisdom created huge ripples.” Wallyce Todd, writing from California, said she had memories of youth choir trips, beautiful solos at church and collaborative projects at the The News Reporter. Whiteville Downtown Development Director Tom Stanley said there was a general feeling of disbelief among downtown merchants Wednesday. Stanley wrote on Facebook, “I miss my friend … God speed, Mickey.”
Greer is survived by his wife, Carol Smith Greer; two daughters, Ellen Greer Harris and husband Charlie of Charlotte and Sarah Adams Greer of Winston-Salem; one son, Max Newton Greer III, and wife Cynthia of Winston-Salem, two sisters, Ellen Maxine Greer and Lucy Swain Moody, both of Asheboro, and four grandchildren, Charles Jackson Harris, Margaret Olivia Harris, Avery Anne Greer and Benton Max Greer.
Visitation will be Saturday May 26 at McKenzie Mortuary from 6 to 8 p.m. Services will be at 3 p.m. Sunday at Whiteville First Baptist Church conducted by Dr. Ron Hinson and the Rev. Kendall Cameron. Burial will follow in Whiteville Memorial Cemetery.