Retired Extension administrator, long-time agricultural advocate dies at 84

Dr. Paul Dew, retired North Carolina State University Cooperative Extension administrator and a leader in the state’s agricultural community for four decades, passed away Feb. 10. A memorial service is set for 11 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 14, in Raleigh.

Dew worked for the North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service for 32 years, serving at all levels, from agricultural agent to interim director. The Extension Service is the outreach arm of NC State’s College of Agriculture and Life Science, extending knowledge and providing solutions to people throughout the state in the areas of agriculture, food and 4-H youth development.

Dew’s Extension career began in 1959, when he was appointed agricultural agent in Wake County, and ended in 1991 when he retired as assistant director for county operations, a post he had held since 1979. His tenure was marked by innovations that gained national recognition. Most notably, he conceived, developed and implemented a statewide Extension advisory leadership system that continues today to link Cooperative Extension to community and agricultural leaders who relay the challenges and concerns facing them.

Dew continued his advocacy for North Carolina agribusiness after his Extension retirement by beginning a second career in the top administrative post with the North Carolina Agribusiness Council. As the council’s executive vice president, he strived to help bring together industry, government and the state’s two land-grant universities, NC State and North Carolina A&T State University, to help solve major industry challenges.

Through his retirement from the council in 1998, Dew was considered a most valuable player for agribusiness, working to educate local and state leaders as well as the general public of the important role that agribusiness plays in enhancing the quality of life for North Carolinians.

A native of Bailey, Dew came to North Carolina State University in 1949 on a football scholarship, earning a bachelor’s degree in vocational education in 1953.

Following his graduation, he served for a year as an agriculture teacher in Surry County, two years in the U.S. Army and then three years as a Wake County teacher. While working, Dew earned master’s and doctoral degrees in education from NC State.

Dew is survived by his wife of 61 years, Alice Wood Dew, three children and seven grandchildren.  His memorial service will be held in the Springmoor Retirement Community’s auditorium, 1500 Sawmill Road, Raleigh, NC 27615.


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