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2017

2017 Allen H. Sims Award Recipient

Mr. Charlton K. Torrence Jr.

In America we have an expression for getting everything in a series of items right.  It is called “batting a thousand”.  This expression can be found in the glossary of baseball terms.  Someone with a batting average of one thousand has had a hit for every at bat in the relevant time period.* (Wikipedia)

Viewing one’s life as a game of baseball with innings representing stages, it is easy to make a comparison to baseball and get a sense of one’s batting average.  It is the opinion of the Community Foundation of Gaston County’s Board of Directors that Charlton K. Torrence Jr. is batting a thousand in his service to others and our community.

Born in 1928 at Highland Hospital in Gastonia, NC; Mr. Torrence was educated locally from Victory School to Gastonia High School before attending Darlington Prep School followed by Davidson College where he double majored in economics and business.  In 1955 he married the late Mary Elizabeth Mason and together they raised three children:  Elizabeth Ring, Catherine, and Charlton K. Torrence III.  Today he is also proud of two granddaughters: Sarah and Meredith Giles.  

If you want to see him smile, ask Charlton Torrence about baseball, specifically a game played in 1945.  Young Charlton was an athlete in high school playing football, basketball and baseball.  That particular year Shelby had the team to beat, winning the Little World Series.   However, there was one team, and only one, with the ability to shut out Shelby that year.   The team to do that was Charlton Torrence’s  American Legion team and he was the pitcher.  He smiles telling of the win and is quick to name his teammates that shut out Shelby, winning 5 to 0.  He went on to play football and win the Mid-South championship while at 
Darlington Prep School and was named Honorable mention All Mid-South.   During the summers he played semi-pro baseball.

The skills Mr. Torrence learned playing the team sport of baseball transferred to a career in textiles.  Starting out during summers with Superior Yarn Mills in Mt. Holly, a variety of jobs taught the young man textiles from the bottom up.  Every job was learned from the opening and picker room, card room, spinning and twister room, ball warps and section beams to the yarn testing lab.  All these jobs prepared Mr. Torrence for yarn and fabric sales in many capacities and serving as Vice President for Superior Yarn Mills, Clyde Fabrics, Textiles Inc., which went private to become Ti Caro and later sold to Dixie Yarns.  His sales territory covered the USA, Canada, Puerto Rico, England, France and Israel.   In 1989, Charlton Torrence retired from a successful career in textiles.

 Before launching his career, Mr. Torrence joined the US Naval Reserve.  In doing so, he served our country from 1951 until his honorable discharge in 1955 as a lieutenant.  With a tendency towards service to others, a lifetime of civic duty began. In the late 1950’s Charlton Torrence was a member of the Civitan Club for a number of years.  He is currently a member of the Gastonia Rotary Club and a Paul Harris fellow.  He served seven years as treasurer of Crisis Assistance Ministries and was instrumental in starting an endowment there.  For several years he served on the board of Advisors for Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden along with membership and financial support.  

 

The Schiele Museum awarded Charlton Torrence the Bud Schiele Lifetime Achievement plate in 2009.  He has served on the Schiele’s Board of Directors and is currently on the Board of Advisors.  As a major contributor himself, Mr. Torrence helped to raise 3.2 million dollars to build the new Environmental Studies Center.  

Currently the Schiele maintains a healthy endowment at the Community Foundation for which Mr. Torrence was happy to be a part.  Ann Tippitt, Executive Director of the Schiele, recalls the many times she and Mr. Torrence would meet with a prospective donor and how his gentle manner and approach would yield 
excellent results due to his sincerity.  

Each one of us deals with loss in a unique and personal way.  As a tribute to his wife and to honor her memory in a way that would give back to others and our community, Charlton Torrence chose to contribute to Gastonia’s Potters House in 1997.  Since that time he has supported Potter’s House and continues to work on their behalf.

As a Gaston County citizen, Mr. Torrence has been active locally and beyond.  He served three years on the CaroMont Health Foundation grants committee, is a lifetime member of the NC Zoo Society, was President of the Combed Yarn Spinners Association, a former director of the Avon and Peoples bonded warehouses and a member of Gaston Country Club.  In 2016, Mayor John Bridgman and the Gastonia City Council presented Mr. Torrence with a letter of proclamation for his accomplishments and dedication to our country and 
citizens of Gastonia and Gaston County.

Reverend J. J. Kennedy was one of the first pastors for the First Presbyterian Church in Gastonia and was Charlton Torrence’s great grandfather.  With that family connection it is easy to understand why Charlton has been so active at the church over the years.   Many remember or at least have heard of Dr. James H. Henderlite who was pastor from 1912-1940.  Dr. Henderlite baptized Chartlon with water from the Jordan River.  Teaching Sunday school, serving as a deacon and an elder, and serving on a nine person committee to 
update and rewrite the church history are among the many ways Mr. Torrence has participated at the church throughout his life.  

Beginning in 1998, Charlton Torrence joined the Board of the First Gaston Foundation and served as treasurer.  The work of the First Gaston Foundation is recognized as a game changer for Gaston County and those living here.  In 2015, the Board decided to move the First Gaston Foundation to the Community Foundation and create the First Gaston Foundation Fund and Albert Myers Scholarship Fund to effectively preserve the assets and continue to make grants back to the community with considerably less overhead cost.   Charlton Torrence, along with all Board members, supported this move and agreed to represent the First Gaston Foundation Fund on the Community Foundation Board of Directors.  Charlton was already affiliated with the Community Foundation and established a fund in 1993.  Today, Charlton can be counted on to arrive on time to present grant checks to worthy nonprofits when called upon to do so with a cheerful attitude. 

As you can see, Charlton Torrence has been around the bases a few times and our community is all the better for it.  From the baseball field to the world of textiles, community and church service, this is a man you want on your team.  The Community Foundation of Gaston County is proud to have Charlton Torrence on our team and congratulate him as the 2017 Allen H. Sims Award recipient.  Mr. Torrence exemplifies the Sims Award attitude:  the selfless act of seeing a need and finding a solution, of caring for a community and making a difference.

 

2016

2016 Allen H. Sims Award Recipient

Mr. Henry H. Massey Jr.

The year 1959 was a very good year for Gaston County and specifically Mt. Holly, NC.  It was a good year because that was when Henry Massey and his wife, Emily Massey moved to Mt. Holly and made it their home.  The expression, “Bloom where you are planted” comes to mind when documenting all that happened after they arrived in their new home town.

Henry Massey was born in Waxhaw, NC and attended public school there.  He later graduated from Davidson College and is a lifelong Wildcat fan and supporter of his alma mater. He married Emily Sapp from Lancaster, SC that same year.  Today, he and Emily have four children and six grandchildren.

Mr. Massey began his career with the First National Bank of Atlanta.  He joined his uncle at The Massey Company, a distributor of valves and flow control products, in 1959 and remained there until his retirement as CEO and Chairman in 2000.  During this time he also served as a partner in Massey Properties.

As an active citizen of Mt Holly, Mr. Massey served as President of the Mt. Holly Jaycees.  He served on the Mt. Holly School Advisory Board, was named Mount Holly Man of the Year in 1967, served on the Board for the Community Relief Organization and served on the committee that created the Mt. Holly Community Development Foundation.  Perhaps the local effort that has demanded the greatest share of his time has been his service as Chairman of the Mt. Holly Parks and Recreation Commission, for which he has served as Chairman for over 20 years and continues his involvement today. Danny Jackson, Mt. Holly City Manager, has worked with Mr. Massey since 1987 and had the following to say, “I have learned a great deal from Mr. Massey about community service and volunteerism.  He is a quiet man but very effective, and at the end of the day, it is all about being effective.” Mr. Jackson recalled the effort it took to secure a $500,000 PARTF grant for the Tuskaseegee Park Expansion Project, a tremendous boost for the project.  He also spoke about the collaboration required as the Commission, led by Mr. Massey, needed easements from three major corporations for the Greenway Project.

In addition to his work in Mt. Holly, Mr. Massey’s involvement and leadership has extended throughout the community of Gaston County. He recalls that growing up in Waxhaw, there were only two places to be:  the school or the church. This may account for his focus in the area of education.  Following his service on the Mt. Holly School Board, Mr. Massey was elected to the Gaston County Board of Education.  He served as Chairman of the Gaston College Board of Trustees, and as a member of the North Carolina   Association of Community Colleges’ Trustees Executive Committee. In 1999, he was awarded an Honorary Doctorate degree by Belmont Abbey College.  He also served a term on the Educational Foundation of   UNC-Chapel Hill Board of Directors.  He has served on the Board at Gaston Day School and on the Advisory Council for the President of Queens University in Charlotte.

Leaving no stone unturned, Mr. Massey has also been concerned about the overall health and well- being of our community. Back in the 1960s, he supported the successful bond issue for Gaston Memorial Hospital’s initial building on Court Drive by way of a speakers bureau.  Henry Massey was one of the   speakers that visited civic clubs and other groups to educate the population on the bond issue.  He served on the Board of the UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center for 20 years.  For 10 years he served on the Board of CaroMont Health, with two of those years as Chairman. Mr. Massey is currently serving on the CaroMont Health Foundation Board.

His leadership has been extended to many nonprofit organizations in Gaston County.  He served as Chairman of the Schiele Museum Board of Directors, the Chairman of the Gaston Regional Chamber of   Commerce and later as a leader in the Mt. Holly Area Council of the Chamber.  He recalls being the initial Chairman and an organizing member of Gaston Together:  Communities of Excellence.  This group brought in “headliners” with names like Rudy Ruettinger and Art Linkletter to promote the community with positive results.  Mr. Massey has also served on the Boards of the United Way of Gaston County and Habitat for    Humanity in Gaston County.  For many years, he also served as a board member on the Covenant Village Board of Directors.

Mr. Massey was a member of the former Citizens National Bank Board of Directors in Gastonia and later the BB&T Advisory Board in Gaston County. He was presented the Duke Energy Citizenship and     Service Award and the Paul Harris Award from Rotary International.

The Community Foundation of Gaston County has also been a recipient of the time and talents of Mr. Massey.  Serving four 3 year terms on the CFGC Board of Directors, Mr. Massey is one of a very few that have served twice as the Foundation’s President.  As President in 1997 and 2006, Mr. Massey participated in the growth of the Foundation in gifts, assets and number of funds managed.  The Massey family has also   participated as donors to the Foundation.

As previously mentioned, his hometown choices for centers of activity were school or church.  Henry Massey seems to have continued the practice of spending time at his church.  As a member of The First   Presbyterian Church in Mt. Holly, he has served in many capacities which include: Deacon, Elder, Sunday School Teacher, and founding member and Chairman of the Endowment Board.  By attending Davidson   College, which was founded by Presbyterians, he found a way to link church and school together. Perhaps this link goes deeper than the surface and helps explain how one individual can come to a community and work so hard for so long to make it better. The following quote captures the intent of a Davidson education and best describes Henry Massey’s service to our community:

"Davidson frankly avows her belief that Character is more important than Education, that Sincerity, Honor, and Purity are more valuable than Knowledge..." wrote Pres. Henry Louis Smith in the Davidson  College Bulletin in October 1904, adding "...true breadth of culture is found in the harmonious development of body, mind, and moral nature." 

The Community Foundation of Gaston County congratulates Henry Massey as the 2016 Allen H. Sims Award recipient.  Mr. Massey exemplifies the Sims Award attitude: the selfless act of seeing a need and finding a solution, of caring for a community and making a difference.

 

2015

2015 Allen H. Sims Award Recipient

Mrs. Mildred J. Sadler*

*deceased

One word is never sufficient to describe a person. That said, if pushed to select from the dictionary one word to describe Mildred Sadler, the word “dignity” rises to the occasion.  For it is with dignity Mrs. Sadler has overcome adversity, has achieved accomplishments, has raised a family and has contributed to our community in countless ways.

Mildred Sadler was born August of 1924 in Clover, S.C. to Essie and Johnie I. Jackson.   She married Edward D. Sadler Sr. and together they raised five children.  Today her family members number many with 14 grandchildren, 10 great grandchildren and 2 great, great grandchildren.  It is a family brimming over with talent and the willingness to share that talent with others.

After earning a BS degree and later a Master’s in Education, Mrs. Sadler began her teaching career in Gastonia at the Highland School.  Her career in education was lengthy and she became the Assistant Superintendent for Human Resources in the Gaston County School System.   Reeves McGlohon succeeded Mrs. Sadler in that position in 1991 understanding he had big shoes to fill.  “She was revered in the GCS system, everyone loved her”, said Mr. McGlohon.  He further shared some details regarding her time with the school system.

From a historical perspective, she was a key figure in the success of the integration of the school system, a leader and a voice of reason.  Gaston County Schools was unique in making a decision on its own to integrate rather than being made to do so by a court order or a federal mandate.

Her legacy is in the value of access to leadership.  Even though the system is one of the largest in NC, it maintains a culture of a small system in the availability and access to leadership.  Mrs. Sadler is credited with contributing to this open door policy.  Having such a history and culture enables GCS to keep some of its highly regarded talent.  Mr. McGlohon also talked about her leadership style as being one outside of the limelight.  She is not about receiving credit for an accomplishment or goal achievement but more interested in the outcome.   Whenever she presented an idea, she had thought it through.  Mr. McGlohon has never known anyone with more common sense than Mildred Sadler.

 

Mrs. Sadler’s role in the community has been a benefit to many.  She has held leadership roles with the local chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc., Piedmont Chapter of The Links Inc. and the Gaston County Democratic Party.  She has been a fund raiser for the United Negro College Fund and the United Way.  She has served on the boards for United Way, Gaston Memorial Hospital, the Schiele  Museum , the Alliance for Children and Youth and Gaston-Lincoln Area Mental Health.  She has been the recipient of many awards :  The Order of the Long Leaf Pine,  W. Duke Kimbrell Lifetime Civic Achievement Award, the Sellie Issac Clement Service Award, Gastonia Evening Civitan Club’s Woman of the Year and the Athena Award.  In 1993, she was designated a Paul Harris Fellow by the Gastonia East Rotary Club as well as Gaston County Woman of the Year.   Her name is engraved on the MLK Monument as an honoree of the Gaston County MLK Unity Award.    

Known by her church congregation as “Mother Sadler”, Mrs. Sadler describes her church as the cornerstone of her life.   Rev.  C. Franklin Tillett, Jr., Senior Minister of St. Stephens AME Zion Church, became acquainted with Mrs. Sadler while in seminary and is amazed at her stamina.  She attends every Sunday and has served in many capacities:  Deaconess, missionary society, lay council member, Department of Christian Education on Conference, District and Connectional Levels of The AME  Zion Church, and coordinator of Kitchen Ministry.  Rev. Tillett also shared that Mrs. Sadler is highly respected and always seems to have a crowd around her.  She imparts her wisdom using sayings that could be described as “Sadlerisms”.   One such saying shared by Rev. Tillett involved a moment in time when the church had reached a goal and plans were being made around the celebration.  Rev. Tillett was making an attempt to tone down the celebration in an effort to not be boastful but reconsidered when told by Mrs. Sadler “It’s a poor frog that doesn’t praise God for his own pond.”

Mildred Sadler has put that saying into practice by being grateful for her blessings and passing along blessings to our community.  Reeves McGlohon believes Mrs. Sadler didn’t retire from working but rather changed venues.    She is still active in generating ideas and influencing others to act in a responsible manner and serve Gaston County.  

In 1997, Mrs. Sadler established the Mildred J. Sadler Fund at the Community Foundation of Gaston County and in 2012 she established the Mildred J. Sadler Scholarship Fund.   Promoting the education of others is a primary goal of the scholarship fund.  It is the vision of Mrs. Sadler’s that others will join her in building the scholarship fund for the benefit of future students needing financial support to further their education.  

Mildred Sadler is the subject of an interview available online as part of a” Ninety Over Ninety” series produced by the Honorable Robert Sumner.  By watching this video, one can gain a better understanding of the obstacles Mrs. Sadler has overcome throughout her lifetime.   Although she had the advantages of family support and a good education, she struggled as others of her race with social injustice.  It would have been easy to grow bitter and resentful instead of choosing dignity as a course.  Mildred Sadler chose dignity and rose above the problems of the day.  Because of her strength and attitude our community is a better place.  

Tonight we show our appreciation to Mildred Sadler for her dignity and many contributions to our community.  Mrs. Sadler exemplifies the Sims Award attitude:   the selfless act of seeing a need and finding a solution, of caring for a community and making a difference. 

 

2014

2014 Allen H. Sims Award Recipient

Mr. W. Alex Hall*

*deceased

The Allen H. Sims Award is named in honor of a man remembered for the many contributions he made in service to our community.  One specific action he took was to hire Mr. W. Alex Hall.  This decision proved to be a good day’s work for Mr. Sims and has paid off for our community in many ways.

Alex Hall was born and raised in Wilmington, North Carolina.  He graduated from NC State University in Textile Management and married his sweetheart from St. Mary’s, Virginia McPherson, in 1960.  The Halls are parents to two children, Helen Bellamy and the late William (Bo) Alex Hall.   Alex began his career with J.P. Stevens.  Stevens sent Alex to New York and while he was there, he took a job with Pepsi Cola Company.  Lufkin Texas was the couple’s next stop and they remained in Texas for eleven years working for Lufkin National Bank near Houston.

Through the banking network, Mr. Plato (Tete) Pearson heard about Alex and recommended him to Mr. Sims to work for Citizens National Bank in Gastonia.   Mr. Pearson’s recruitment skills proved to be excellent.  He describes Alex Hall as a “quiet, get things done” kind of guy.  Mr. Hall’s banking career spanned from 1965 to 2006 when he retired for a second time.  During that time, Mr. Hall served as President of the Western Region for BB&T and was President and CEO of First Gaston, which he started.

Mr. Hall served two and a half years in the U.S. Army at Turner Air Force Base in Albany Georgia.  He was Headquarter Battery Commander for the 2nd Missile Battalion in the 43rd U.S. Army Artillery.  We are grateful to Alex Hall and others that serve in our military for the freedoms we enjoy and the sacrifices they made on our behalf. 

In addition to his banking accomplishments, Alex Hall served in leadership positions on many boards.  He served as President of the following boards:  Gastonia Rotary Club, Gaston County Chamber, Gaston Country Club, Piedmont Council Boy Scouts of America, Glenn Foundation, Gaston County Art Council and Gaston Hospice.  He served as Chairman of both Gastonia Airport Authority and Gaston County Industrial Facilities & Pollution Control Financing Authority.   He also served on the Gaston Day School Board and on the Economic Development Committee in Gaston County.  As a member of First Presbyterian Church Gastonia, Alex has served as a deacon, elder, committee member and is teacher emeritus of the men’s Henderlite Bible Class.  He is a Paul Harris Fellow and a Silver Beaver for Boy Scouts of America.  

The Boy Scouts of America organization has benefited greatly from the hours of volunteer work contributed by Alex Hall.  As a long-time member of the Piedmont Council, Alex Hall has served on the Executive Board as Council President and as Treasurer for multiple terms.  Connie Bowes, Scout Executive, CEO was interviewed and talked about the many “hats” worn by Alex Hall in his years of service to the organization.

Alex and Ginny Hall actively participate at the Community Foundation.  As fund holders, benefactors, legacy society members, and longtime RUN for the Money supporters, the Halls demonstrate their commitment to community.  Alex Hall served on the Board of Directors for the Community Foundation from 2007 until 2012.  During his term as President of the Board, he became the first President to serve a two year term via bylaw revision.   As a Board member , Alex’s talents for leadership and monetary management were tapped when he was asked to step in as interim Executive Director at the Foundation.  For the last two years, Alex has continued to serve as Past President.  His careful scrutiny and discernment is counted on by fellow board members and staff alike.  

Tonight we celebrate the service and philanthropy of Alex Hall by awarding him the Allen H. Sims Award which is given to those  exemplifying the attitude :  “the selfless act of seeing a need and finding a solution, of caring for a community and making a difference.”

2013

2013 Allen H. Sims Award Recipients

Mr. Marshall Rauch

Mrs. Jeanne Rauch*

Who can say when the term “power couple” came into being?  Regardless of the origin of the phrase, no one in Gaston County that speaks of them would describe Marshall and Jeanne Rauch as anything but a power couple.  For their countless contributions to our community, the Board of Directors of The Community Foundation has selected to honor Marshall A. Rauch and the late Jeanne G Rauch with the Allen H. Sims Award.

Jeanne Girard Rauch was born and raised in Gastonia, NC.  She attended Duke University and later received a B.S. Degree from Syracuse University.  While at Duke she met a dashing young man named Marshall whom she later married and together they raised five children: John, Ingrid, Marc, Peter and Stephanie.  She is remembered as a loving mother and devoted wife working alongside her husband  and receiving no remuneration from Rauch Industries in the early years. Balancing her religious duties, family life and business responsibilities could not have been easy and has earned her high esteem.  

Jeanne also found time for community, specifically in the area of arts.  As an accomplished artist herself, Jeanne was a pioneer in the Arts working to establish the Art Guild as the first president, as well as the Gaston County Art and History Museum.  She also served on the NC Board of Directors of the NC Museum of Art and Foundation by the same name.  She devoted time serving as secretary for the Little Theater of Gastonia and worked with the Girl Scout Council.  Lucy Penegar, a dear friend, worked closely with Jeanne on many projects and described Jeanne as “inspiring.”  When asked about her friend, Lucy recounts many good memories and simply states: “I miss her”.

Marshall Arthur Rauch can be seen serving up hotdogs and smiles as he greets folks at his famous side yard summer luncheons.   Born in New York, NY Marshall either brought with him or acquired an air of southern hospitality.  Don Walser worked with Marshall over 25 years at Rauch Industries, the largest manufacturer of Christmas ornaments in the world, and states that never a cross word was shared over the years.  As CFO, Don Walser witnessed the kindness Marshall showed his employees, the fair shot everyone received from Marshall, as well as, Marshall’s love of ice cream.  Don is also quick to issue a warning to never enter a math contest with Marshall, hence one will lose.  Bryan Houck served as a Director of Public Affairs for Bellsouth and AT&T.  Through his work in Raleigh, Mr. Houck knew Marshall Rauch to be the most powerful member of the General Assembly for years.  Serving as a member of the NC Senate for 24 years, Marshall is said to have set the standard for how the Finance Committee should be run, had a hand in all tax legislation during that time period, and managed his influence without grand standing or drawing attention to himself on the local level.  

Marshall has served his country earning the Bronze Star, the Combat Infantry Medal and the WWII Victory Medal for his military service.  He has served his State as a Senator participating and chairing various committees and commissions. On a local level, his activities and accomplishments are too numerous to list.  Very active in Temple Emanuel, Marshall continues to serve as Chairman for the Rauch Endowment for Temple Emanuel Fund.  As a community leader, Marshall served as Mayor, Pro Tem for the City of Gastonia and as President/director for many non profits.  When asked to single out any one accomplishment, Marshall is quick to give others credit but if pushed to highlight one community effort will mention his work as Chairman of the Gastonia Human Relations Committee in the early to mid sixties.  It has been noted the integration during those years went especially well in our community and that the work of that committee contributed to the successful integration.  In 2004, Marshall Rauch received the first Gaston County Martin Luther King Unity Award for his efforts over the years in race relations.

For twelve years Marshall Rauch has served on the Board of Directors for the Community Foundation of Gaston County and in 2008, he served as the President.  In 1996, the Rauch Family Fund was established and later in 2006 the family private foundation was moved to the Rauch Family Fund.  Through the years, the Foundation’s Board has been the beneficiary of Marshall’s business acumen and compassion for present and future generations here in our community.

We can all learn a great deal from Marshall and Jeanne Rauch.  We can learn how a home town girl can become a loving wife and mother and still be the voice in the wilderness for the arts.  We can learn how a Duke Basketball player can build an industry while serving his community.  Knowing how much the Rauch grandchildren are loved and adored, we can learn about how values are transferred over generations.  We can learn how putting the priorities of:  faith, family and service to others result in a life brimming with goodness and a legacy for those to follow.

*deceased

2012

2012 Allen H. Sims Award Recipients

Mr. John K. Long

Born as the son of Marguerite Clark and John Kelly Long of Gaston County, John Kelly Long, Jr. was raised in Gaston County on Linwood Farm, which was owned and operated by his father.  Mr. Long attended local schools and High Point University and is affectionately known by his friends as Johnny.  In 1960, he married Rebecca Marley and they now have three children and six wonderful grandchildren.

Spending many hours working on the farm, Johnny made the decision that farming was not to be his occupation.  From 1961 to 1997 he worked for Carolina Cotton Classing Agency as a cotton salesman with Anderson Clayton Cotton Merchants and owned and operated Carolina Classing Broad Street Bonded Warehouse.  Presently, he manages Linwood Farms, Inc. which is proof that life can be circuitous and often brings us squarely back to our roots.

The personal side of Johnny Long includes a lifetime membership at First United Methodist Church, where he has served in many capacities including Chairman of the Administrative Board, Chairman of the Annual Budget Drive, Board Trustee and Chairman of Staff Parish Committee.  He loves the outdoors; spending time on his tractor with his trusted canine companion, Nellie.  He has many hobbies which include hunting deer and turkey, playing golf and hunting for arrowheads.

 

A person’s hobbies can reveal things about that person.  Johnny Long’s interest in arrowheads struck a cord, so to speak, in reflecting on his accomplishments and contributions to his community.  The definition of an arrowhead is “a tip, usually sharpened, added to an arrow to make it more effective or to fulfill some special purpose.”Johnny Long has approached his community service in the manner of an arrowhead.  In all his endeavors, he has freely offered his personal strengths and talents to fulfill or improve a specific purpose.  He has accomplished a great deal in his service on various Boards, not independently but rather as an arrowhead to provide leadership and guidance to propel projects to completion.

Some examples of his community service are:  PTA President at Hunter Huss High School for 2 years, Board of The American Heart Assoc., Board of Crowders Mountain State Park for 16 years, Board of NC State Parks for 3 years, Board of Visitors High Point University, YMCA Board of Directors for 25 years, YMCA Metropolitan Board, Gaston County Board of Health, Gaston Country Club President, Gaston Literacy Council, Board of Directors First Community Bank, Chairman of Local Board of RBC Bank, Board Member of Covenant Village for 20 years.  Concerning leadership, Johnny Long has served as President of the YMCA Board of Directors, the Community Foundation Board, and is currently the Board President of Covenant Village.  Due to his many years of community service, Johnny Long has received The Phil Ritter Leadership Award, The J.D. Hicks Lifetime Achievement Award and the Duke Kimbrell Lifetime Achievement Award.

 

From 1996 to 2008, Johnny Long served as a member of the Board of Directors of the Community Foundation of Gaston County and was the Board President in 1999.  Mr. and Mrs. Long are fund holders and members of the Legacy Society at the Foundation.  Mr. Long was very instrumental in obtaining additional space for the Foundation offices and is always eager to help with any project when called upon to do so.

John “Johnny” Kelly Long exemplifies the Sims Award attitude: The selfless act of seeing a need and finding a solution, of caring for a community and making a difference.


 

2011

2011 Allen H. Sims Award Recipient

Mrs. Johan T. Newcombe*

Johan T. Newcombe’s story is a tale of courage, commitment and philanthropy. Born in Charlotte, NC, Johan attended local schools before heading off to Chatham Hall in Chatham, VA and later to Vassar College. Before finishing at Vassar, Johan transferred to UNC at Chapel Hill to be with her husband, Artie whom she married in 1954.

The Newcombes were blessed with four children: Mary, Frances, Johan and Artie. In the early years in Charlotte, Johan was active in her community and first began what would become a life-long habit of giving back to her community. In 1969, Dr. Jonnie H. McLeod began Open House, a drop-in counseling center located in the basement of a local YMCA. Johan was a key fundraiser for Open House which is now known as McLeod Addictive Disease Center.

In 1968, the Newcombe Family began its migration to Gastonia, when Artie Newcombe accepted a position with Parkdale Mills in Gastonia. After spending their entire lives in Charlotte, in 1979, after the four children had all gone off to school, the Newcombe family relocated from Charlotte to Gastonia. Looking back on the decision to move to Gaston County, Johan reflects on her feelings of being committed to the community in which one lives. She did not want to have one foot in one county and the other foot in another. The move for Johan signified a huge lifetime transition. She felt liberated and free to become her own person in her own new space. Taking advantage of an opportunity is what Johan chose to do. In 1982, Johan began working in real estate with Cas Taylor and Manfred Johnston, where she would later obtain office space for Habitat for Humanity.

Becky Carter, the Executive Director of the Community Foundation of Gaston County, approached Johan about a new and exciting venture called Habitat for Humanity. With Becky’s urging Johan was persuaded to become the first volunteer president and executive director for Habitat in Gaston County in 1989. Johan laughing tells about being told it was an unpaid position and to bring her own typewriter. None the less, she was able to organize the construction of the first Habitat houses and was the major architect of the program in Gastonia. She credits Becky Carter as a driving force that taught her everything she needed to know and for leading the Community Foundation to provide the primary funding to get Habitat started in Gaston County.

Being familiar with the Community Foundation, Johan was herself a donor. She smiles when remembering the difference of opinions she and her husband had over end points for grant recommendations, always settled to the agreement of both parties. In 1995, after Artie’s death, Johan joined the Board of Directors of the Community Foundation and later served as President in 1998. Johan’s thirst for knowledge concerning what was going on in her community of Gaston County is the primary reason for her Foundation involvement. Her tenure on the Board is highlighted by her involvement with Linda Slade in creating the Run for the Money campaign and the organization of the Next Generation Fund.

Initially representing the Community Foundation, Johan now serves as the community at large representative on the Board of the David Belk Cannon Foundation. Johan also served as a Board member for First Community Bank- Centura.  In 2007, Johan received the Spirit of Freedom Award from the Gaston Gazette. She is a Rotary International Paul Harris recipient and has served the Junior League. She is a member of All Saints Episcopal Church, Gastonia.

Artie Newcombe, Johan’s youngest child and only son says of his mother: “I think my mother’s crowning achievement is to have raised four highly successful children with very different interests and chosen life paths, yet  they each are deeply involved in charity and giving back to community. This is being passed on to the next generations. “

Johan Newcombe truly exemplifies the Sims Award philosophy:
The selfless act of seeing a need and finding a solution, of caring for a community and making a difference.

*deceased

2010

2010 Allen H. Sims Award Recipient


Mr. Ralph S. Robinson Jr.

A native of Gastonia, Ralph Robinson, Jr. is the son of Charlotte and Ralph Robinson, Sr.  He is married to the former Sally McConnell of Gastonia and they are blessed with three children, Russell, Leigh, and Greg and six grandchildren.  After attending local schools he attended Woodberry Forest School and upon graduation went to Davidson College for one year and then transferred to UNC-Chapel Hill.

In 1957 he joined the family textile cotton mill operations where he had worked since he was 16 years old. In the mid 70’s the cotton mill was sold to J.P. Stevens and Company.  The corporation itself, Robinson Mills, became a personal holding company and operates today with diversified stock and real estate holdings. 

Being active in First Presbyterian Church has been a constant for Ralph.  He has served as a deacon and elder. Many committees and special projects have benefited from his involvement. He especially loves music and has focused on supporting the music program of the church.

Ralph has devoted many years actively serving the community in Gaston County.  He has provided leadership for many organizations.  Ralph is the Past President of Gaston Community Concert Association, Gaston Chamber of Commerce, Gaston County YMCA, Gastonia Rotary Club, and Gastonia City Club. He was a past Director on the Board of First Union National Bank in Gastonia. He also served as Campaign Chairman and Past President of Gaston County United Way.  Ralph is the Founding Co-Chairman of Family Counseling Service.  He has served as past Trustee to St. Andrews Presbyterian College and Past Trustee to Gaston County Museum of Art & History.  His involvement with the Community Foundation spans a total of 12 years of Board service including serving as President in 1996.  Ralph is also a member of the Legacy Society.

Following in the footsteps of his parents, he and Sally have explored the world.  Ralph’s wanderlust led them on many exciting adventures.  To capture these experiences he has developed a love of photography and can delight visitors with wonderful photos in his home or office.  Some of his highlights include scuba diving with his son, underwater photography, swimming with sharks and a trip to Tibet.  Ralph once commented to a family member about the ideal conditions of the day describing it as a “blue bird day”. This expression is now commonly used in and around the household and sheds a positive light on the man that coined the phrase.

Long time friends, Fred Morrow and his wife “Bootie”, describe Ralph as being a man that is very family oriented with many fine qualities. With a friendship spanning over 50 years, the Morrows can both speak of Ralph’s concern for others and dedication to family.

As a young man, Ralph achieved the rank of Eagle Scout with the Boy Scouts of America organization.  It is easy to see that his service did not stop there and became a way of life.  Currently, Ralph is the Managing Trustee of The Ralph. S. Robinson Family Foundation, Chairman of the Board of Governors for The Anderson Foundation and Chairman of the Gaston County Library Board. He was honored in 1995 as the NC Trustee of the Year.

Ralph Robinson exemplifies the Sims Award attitude: The selfless act of seeing a need and finding a solution, of caring for a community and making a difference.




 

2009

2009 Allen H. Sims Award Recipients


Mr. J.M. Carstarphen III*

Mrs. Catherine Carstarphen

A lifetime journey for J. M. “Bip” Carstarphen and Catherine Pharr Carstarphen began when their paths first crossed while they were students at UNC-Chapel Hill. A journey that has included their children – a daughter and two sons - and six grandchildren.  A journey that has been notable not only for business success but also for commitment to community.

Catherine Ann Pharr Carstarphen was born in Charlotte, the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. William James Pharr of McAdenville.  She attended Sacred Heart Academy in Belmont and Holton Arms in Washington, DC, before entering UNC-Chapel Hill.  A devoted wife, mother and grandmother, throughout her life she has also been committed to service to the community – in McAdenville, in Belmont and in Gaston County.  The girl scouts, Junior League, the Board of Hospice, and the founding Board of the Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden have all benefited from her service.  Catherine Ann has been a lifelong member of First Presbyterian Church of Belmont where she and “Bip” have both served as deacon and elder.  Active in many areas and programs of the church, she was Chairman of the Presbyterian Women and she was honored in 2003 with their lifetime membership award.

“Bip” Carstarphen was born and raised in Tarboro, North Carolina.  Overcoming polio as a child, he attended Augusta Military Academy in Virginia and from there, UNC-Chapel Hill when he met Catherine Ann.  They were married in 1955.  Following college, “Bip” joined Pharr Yarns where, in a career that has spanned over fifty-five years, he became Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, positions he has held for thirty years.  He also serves as Chairman of Pharr International, Geneva, Switzerland.  In addition to leading Pharr Yarns, he has been the guiding force in several real estate development and investment companies.  Some of their more visible projects include the re-development of McAdenville real estate, the Adams Bluff and Hawthorne communities in Belmont and the Hampton Inn – Belmont developed in conjunction with Belmont Abbey.

In addition to textile boards, “Bip” has served on many other boards:  Wachovia Corporation-Southern Region, the North Carolina Manufacturers Association, Carolina Freight, Gaston Memorial Hospital, the Community Foundation of Gaston County, the Economic Development Commission, the Board of Visitors and Board of Trustees of UNC-Chapel Hill, Queens University and Belmont Abbey to name a few.  In 2004, he was a recipient of the Spirit of the Carolinas Award and received the Order of the Long Leaf Pine.  Together Catherine Ann and “Bip” were recipients of the Grace Award from Belmont Abbey.

Personally and through the McAdenville and family foundations, Catherine Ann and “Bip” have quietly, but regularly provided significant gifts to churches, to educational institutions at all levels, to hospitals and university medical programs, to the arts and to community organizations.  They have been major contributors to the Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden and their gifts to the Catawba Lands Conservancy will serve to protect for future generations property along the South Fork River.  Perhaps the most visible, annual gift to the community has been the continued McAdenville Christmas Lights.  Through their personal guidance and financial commitment this has been an uplifting tradition for this region.

For these many reasons, The Community Foundation has selected Catherine Ann and “Bip” Carstarphen as the 2009 recipients of the Sims Award.  Their commitment to community exemplifies the Sims Award attitude: The selfless act of seeing a need and finding a solution, of caring for a community and making a difference.

*deceased

2008

2008 Allen H. Sims Award Recipient

Mr. Bill Palmer

Bill is a native of Rocky Mount, NC, and after graduating from high school, he enrolled in the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill where he obtained his undergraduate degree and a degree of Doctor of Jurisprudence from its law school. 

Upon graduation, Bill joined the U.S. Navy to fulfill his military service requirement and served for three years in the Navy JAG as the legal officer for the U.S. Naval Amphibious Base in Little Creek, Virginia. Upon severance, he and his family moved to Charlotte where he was employed by R. S. Dickson and Company in the underwriting of municipal bonds. 

In 1967, Tete Pearson, who had previously been with R. S. Dickson and Company, offered Bill a position in the trust department of Citizens National Bank, which he accepted; and in 1977, desiring to return to the practice of law, he joined the law firm of what is now Stott, Hollowell, Palmer & Windham. 

Following his belief in the value and obligations of service to the community, Bill has served as a volunteer in various organizations in Gaston County. Several of those include the United Fund and as President of the Gastonia Civitan Club, the Schiele Museum and the Community Foundation of Gaston County. As a member of St. Mark’s Episcopal Church in Gastonia, he has served as its Senior Warden, lay reader, Sunday school teacher and treasurer for thirty years. He was recently named to the Board of Directors of the Balthis Foundation. Bill served on the initial Board of the Community Foundation and after retiring in March of this year, he had served as a member continuously since 1977 with breaks in service as required by the Foundation’s bylaws. In addition to serving as President of the Foundation, he served as its legal counsel for a number of years and contributed back to the Foundation all fees received for his work. 

Through his work in estate planning, Bill has worked tirelessly behind the scenes for many years to help plant the seeds of philanthropic giving for the benefit of Gaston County. Charitable organizations in our community will benefit from his efforts for many years to come. “Several of the largest unrestricted funds at the Community Foundation have been a direct result of Bill Palmer’s estate planning,” states Spurgeon Mackie, Executive Director of the Community Foundation. 

When asked to present the 2008 Allen H. Sims Award to Bill, friend and 1999 Sims Award Recipient Tete Pearson shared, “I am privileged to make this prestigious presentation to my friend Bill Palmer. He is indeed one of our finest citizens.” Bill is married to the former Carolyn Cheek of Smithfield and is blessed with two sons, Bill, Jr. and Tom, and six grandchildren. He exemplifies the Sims Award attitude: the selfless act of seeing a need and finding a solution, of caring for a community and making a difference.

2007

2007 Allen H. Sims Award Recipients

Mr. George Henry*

Mrs. Dougie Henry*


*deceased

2006

2006 Allen H. Sims Award Recipient

Mr. Tom D. Efird

2005

2005 Allen H. Sims Award Recipients

Mr. Bob Adams*

Mrs. Tuga Adams

*deceased

2004

2004 Allen H. Sims Award Recipient

Mr. Daniel Jonathan Stowe*

*deceased

2003

2003 Allen H. Sims Recipient

Mr. Titus Greene

2002

2002 Allen H. Sims Award Recipient

Mr. B. Frank Matthews II



2001

2001 Allen H. Sims Award Recipient

Mrs. Rebecca B. Carter*

*deceased

 

2000

2000 Allen H. Sims Award Recipient

Mr. W. Duke Kimbrell*


*deceased

1999

1999 Allen H. Sims Award Recipient

Mr. Plato Pearson Jr.


1998

1998  Allen H. Sims Award Recipient

Mr. J. Edward Stowe*



*deceased

1997

1997 Allen H. Sims Award Recipient

Mr. Charles E. Ziegler Sr.*


*deceased

1996

1996 Allen H. Sims Award Recipient

Mr. J.B. Alala Jr.*

*deceased

1995

1995  Allen H. Sims Award Recipients

Mr. Albert G. Myers*

Mr. James Cherry*

Mrs. Eunice Cherry*


*Deceased

1994

1994 Allen H. Sims Award Recipient

Mr. David R. LaFar III*

*deceased

1993

1993 Allen H. Sims Award Recipients

Mr. Harold T. Sumner*

Rev. Robert E. Johnson Jr.*

*Deceased

1992

1992 Allen H. Sims Award Recipients

Mr. Grier Beam *

Mrs. Lena Sue Beam*

*deceased

1991

1991 Allen H. Sims Recipients

Mrs. Lucy Rawlings Penegar

Mr. John L. Fraley Sr.*

*deceased

 

1990

1990 Allen H. Sims Award Recipients

Mrs. Judith Miller*

Mr. A. Leonel Bruennemer*

Mr. James Bynum Carter*

Mr. James B. "Jick" Garland*

*deceased

Mailing Address:
P.O. Box 123 Gastonia, NC 28053

Street Address:
1201 E. Garrison Blvd, Gastonia, NC 28054

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704.864.0927

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704.869.0222

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