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'She made you feel like a queen'

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She believed that faith could be “caught” as well as taught. She caught her own faith at age 7, and it grew daily for all of her 60 years.

The Reverend Darlene Thomas “Dee” McGuire of Charlotte died Feb. 3, 2012 at Presbyterian Hospital’s coronary care unit. She was known for her ministry to women and had written two motivational books for them. She joined The Park Church (formerly University Park Baptist Church) in 2001 as minister of family life.

Rev. Dee, a Baltimore native, was the sixth of 15 siblings, many of whom she later helped raise. With her mother’s permission, she lived with her pastor’s family and was nanny to his children.

Her quest for education led her studies at half a dozen colleges and universities and New York’s Union Theological Seminary. She graduated magna cum laude from New York’s State University at Albany.

Church was always a huge and defining part of Darlene’s life, and so it seems most fitting that she met her lifemate there in 1972.

“I was chairperson of Youth Day, and she came to sing with the choir,” said the Rev. Major McGuire III, her husband of 38 years. “She congratulated me on the service and I was struck by her.”

He later joined her church and “the rest is history,” he said. Their first date was in February 1973 and they wed that September.

“Once I knew she was the one, we didn’t waste any time,” he said.

Darlene and Major were blessed with Marteka, Me’sha, Marlow, Major IV, Marquis and Mariah, some of whom have followed their parents into the ministry.

“The way in which she carried herself in the ministry had an impact on me,” said her son, the Rev. Marlow McGuire.

Rev. Dee’s focus was always on the women, their problems and helping them find solutions. She started several programs for teens and women and was a very effective mentor.

“She was a wonderful, humbly loving person,” said Bonita Jordan, Park Church’s administrative assistant. “She met the needs of so many people no one knew about.”

Daughter Dr. Marteka McGuire said, “She was drawn toward women and they to her. There was something she saw in them, or was led by God to minister to them. She was a speaker in the early days, then a preacher. Women brought covered dishes and read books for spiritual growth and self-help. It grew into a full-fledged women’s ministry.

Rev. Dee brought in “counselors and psychiatrists to preach, to teach, to give us better understanding of how to be,” her daughter said. The women had a yearly retreat that was their highlight.

“The women’s ministry at Park Church grew into what it is today because of her tutelage,” Marteka said. “Women and young girls blossomed and many talked about how they were affected by her ministry of preaching, teaching and counseling. She made you feel like a queen or a princess by being in her presence; she commanded an audience. She was always about giving to others, not to make herself look good. She said, ‘None of this happened because of me, it’s because of the God I serve, who works through me.’ ”

But we all can agree that the world was a better place because of Darlene McGuire, yes?
Editor's note: This is our series called Lives That Matter. Written by Charlotte writer Gerry Hostetler, this weekly feature will profile individuals, recently deceased, who had a positive impact on those around them. Email editor@qcitymetro.com.

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October 6, 2015
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