OXFORD — Iola Peed-Neal, of Oxford, North Carolina, passed away unexpectedly at home on September 30, 2021. She was 74 years old.

Iola was born in Oxford to Onis and Zella Peed. She grew up in Oxford and graduated from J.F. Webb High School in 1966. Although her high school counselor advised her against going to college, she wisely ignored that advice and graduated from UNC Greensboro with a bachelor of fine arts degree and went on to earn a master of fine arts degree there in 1974.

Iola started her career at UNC Chapel Hill in 1976 as a staff member at the Media and Instructional Support Center, a facility that became the Center for Teaching and Learning in 1986. Iola worked at UNC for 32 years, rising to the position of associate director of the Center for Teaching and Learning. She managed center operations, including budget and personnel, and developed university-wide faculty and instructional development programs. She was always fiercely protective of the center, weathering budget cuts, personnel reductions, reorganizations, and a variety of other bureaucratic challenges.

As a manager, she was fearless, resourceful, strong-willed and did not suffer fools gladly. However, her friends and family knew her as an engaging, imaginative, upbeat, and generous person who cared deeply for others. Her quick wit and easy laugh were always at the ready.

Iola had many interests, including stamp collecting, bird watching and family genealogy. She was an avid gardener, hybridizing daylilies by beating the bumblebees to the flowers early in the morning. She loved cooking and baking, and accumulated over 200 cookbooks to provide inspiration. She was also an accomplished seamstress, and tailored many of her own clothes when she was a poor graduate student. She inherited her passion for quilt-making from her mother, Zella, and created many beautiful quilts for friends and family.

Iola is survived by her husband, Ed Neal; her sister, Anna Washington; her brother Charles Onis Peed, Junior; her stepson, Col. John J. Neal, his wife Kêlig, and two grandchildren, Solenn and Tadek.

The family is under the care of Gentry-Newell & Vaughan Funeral Home, 503 College St., Oxford, NC 27565. Online memorials are located at www.hallwynne.com.

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