About Mary Sue
Mary Sue Atkinson, the daughter of Volentine (Vol) and Beatrice Watson Atkinson and the granddaughter of Gill and Amanda Arms Atkinson, was born in Cliffside, N. C. on July 22, 1919.
Her grandparents had moved to Cliffside around 1899 or 1900, during the time Cliffside was being born. Her Uncle John and Uncle Oliver (Ol) Atkinson had helped with construction, and had then gone to work in the mill. Her father, who was only about five years old when the family came to Cliffside, also went to work in the mill when he became old enough. Her other aunts and uncles lived and worked in Cliffside off and on for many years, sometimes moving across into Cherokee County, SC where other relatives lived, and then back to Cliffside. Both her grandparents died in Cliffside a few years before Sue was born.
Sue’s family moved away just before she started school, but she spent a great deal of time in Cliffside while growing up, visiting with her many cousins who still lived there. Sue married Paul Laughter, from Henderson County, and they moved to the Washington, DC area where their two children, Brenda and Bob, were born. They returned to Rutherford County during the late 1940s or early 1950s, while the children were still small. Paul worked as a brick mason/building contractor until his death in 1975. Sue’s father died in 1970. Her mother and sister were both in ill health, and Sue cared for them until their deaths in 1978.
Her daughter Brenda, a teacher, married Steve Deal, a newspaper columnist and photographer, and they gave Sue her two grandchildren, Tyson and Brady. Steve and Brenda now live in Atlanta.
Her son Bob, a retired NC State Trooper, lives with his wife, Sandy Vogler Laughter, near Winston-Salem.
Sue, although suffering from heart and vision problems and limited mobility, still loves to go places and do things, and is vitally interested in family and what is going on. She currently resides in the assisted living area of Carolina House in Forest City, but still maintains her home and returns there to open it to family when they come to visit.