Leland Park ’63, Director Emeritus of the College Library

Leland Madison Park, Ph.D., 77, died on Wednesday, February 13, 2019, at The Pines at Davidson. He was born October 21, 1941, in Orlando, Florida, to Rebecca Leland Park and Arthur Harris Park, who provided his earliest example of civic engagement.

A 1959 graduate of the McCallie School in Chattanooga, Tennessee, he entered Davidson College in 1959. Often referring to Davidson as a “way of life based on things of the mind, tempered by manners and morality,” Dr. Park quickly made Davidson the way of his life after his graduation in 1963.

Apart from Army service and acquiring advanced degrees from Emory and from Florida State, and a stint on the staff of what was then called the Public Library of Charlotte and Mecklenburg County, Dr. Park devoted the rest of his life to Davidson College.

“Devoted” is, indeed, the right word. When he retired in 2006, Dr. Park concluded nearly 40 years of service as Director of the Library – the third person in Davidson’s history to hold that position. He also was the Library’s most entertaining and authoritative reference source. He welcomed many generations of students, faculty, and staff with presentations of Davidson’s history and with emphasis on the most enduring and admirable of its values and traditions.

He also welcomed new presidents and others with tours beyond campus. As Carol E. Quillen, Davidson’s current president relates, “Leland gave me a tour of the town, complete with a history of who had lived in each house for the past fifty years and some pretty incredible stories.”  Others might add that the “incredible stories” were always seasoned with anecdote and, when appropriate, spiced with gossip. 

Like any master storyteller, Dr. Park told stories with a point: he sought to make newcomers welcome and to lead them to find the best in both the past and present of what had become his chosen home.

As Dr. Quillen notes, Park’s stories were “punctuated by his joy-filled, one-of-a-kind laugh.”  That laugh led to free tickets to comedies in the early days of the Davidson Community Players; his joyful laughter could help bring together the Davidson community beyond the campus boundaries.

One of the leaders instrumental in preserving the town’s branch of the Charlotte Mecklenburg library, and a supporter of many other community efforts, Dr. Park was honored in 2011 by the Town of Davidson with its G. Jackson Burney Community Service award, which he treasured perhaps even more than the state’s Order of the Long Leaf Pine bestowed on him at the time of his 2006 retirement – because the award from Davidson represented the mutual devotion of a person and his chosen community.   

Having no children of his own, Dr. Park leaves many heirs: friends and colleagues, to be sure, but first and foremost the students for whom both colleges and libraries exist. Dr. Clark Ross, former Dean of the Faculty, has described Dr. Park as a “supportive, but candid, adviser and friend” to everyone from entering first-years to experienced presidents.

He advised countless students over the years, either officially or unofficially, and was an enthusiastic supporter of Wildcat basketball. In 2007, a group of alumni whom he had influenced established a scholarship in his name. At least one former advisee gave his son the middle name “Madison” in tribute to Dr. Leland Madison Park. 

Park will be remembered as a gateway and a bridge to the institution he loved, whether for students attempting to navigate scholarly life or new staff and faculty enjoying a tour of campus led by one of the few people who could gracefully walk the path between the college’s past and present.

Memorial contributions may be made to the Leland M. Park Scholarship, Davidson College, Box 7170, Davidson, NC 28035-7170, and to St. Peter’s Episcopal Church, 115 W. 7th St., Charlotte, NC 28202.

A service to celebrate the life of Leland Park will be held at 4 p.m. in the sanctuary of Davidson College Presbyterian Church on Sunday, February 17, with a reception to follow in the Lilly Family Gallery.

Former Trustee B. Franklin Skinner IV

Former Trustee B. Franklin Skinner IVBenjamin Franklin Skinner IV, corporate executive, active civic leader, beloved father and grandfather, died at age 87 on Friday, November 16, 2018, in Atlanta following a long and valiant battle with Parkinson’s Disease.

Frank was born in Covington, Virginia to the Reverend B. Franklin Skinner and Charlotte Walton Skinner. He was a graduate of the University of Richmond where he was active in student affairs. A natural leader, he was elected president of the student government.

Upon graduation, Frank joined the Chesapeake and Potomac Telephone Company of Virginia in Richmond as a staff assistant, thus beginning what would become a 40-year career in the telecommunications industry.

Shortly after joining the C&P Telephone Company, he was called to serve in the United States Army during The Korean War.

After a two-year tour of duty, Frank returned to Richmond to resume his work at C&P. There, he met and married the former Ruth Ann Gee on what he always called the best day of his life. They enjoyed an extraordinarily happy marriage of 52 years until her death in 2008.

Frank’s career took him to assignments in Washington, DC, Roanoke, Virginia, Charlotte, North Carolina, Miami, Florida and Atlanta, Georgia. He was elected president of Southern Bell on February 1, 1982.

He retired at the end of 1992 as the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of BellSouth Telecommunications. Wherever his assignments took him, Frank involved himself in local community initiatives giving generously of his time, his talents and his considerable energy.

He had the unique distinction of leading as General Campaign Chairman of the United Way in three major cities—Atlanta, Miami, and Charlotte.

Long associated with the Salvation Army, Frank was a Life Member and past Chairman of its National Advisory Board. He was honored with election as a life member of the Salvation Army, was awarded the Others Award and was inducted into the Order of Distinguished Auxiliary Service, the highest recognition the Salvation Army can give a lay person.

Frank served on the Board of Directors of the Chamber of Commerce in each of the cities in which he lived. He served as chairman in Atlanta. He served as Chairman of the Board of Central Atlanta Progress and as a Trustee of the Metropolitan Atlanta Community Foundation and the J. M. Tull Charitable Foundation, Inc.

He also chaired the United Negro College Fund Campaign. He served as a commissioner on the Atlanta Housing Authority Board, was a past president of the Rotary Club of Atlanta and held leadership positions in a number of other organizations.

Frank’s keen interest in education was clearly evidenced by his service as a trustee of several colleges and universities. He was a Trustee of Morehouse College, Davidson College, The University of Richmond, Gardner-Webb College and Columbia Theological Seminary. Frank served as Executive in Residence at the University of Richmond Business School.

He was also a trustee and past board chairman of the Charlotte Latin School. Frank had a strong desire to become part of each community in which he lived, he served on the Board of Directors of several corporations including BellSouth Telecommunications and its parent company BellSouth.

He also served on the Board of Nations Bank, The Barclays American Corporation, Interstate /Johnson Lane, Southeast Bank and Shoney’s. Frank Skinner received honorary doctorate degrees from The University of Richmond, Jacksonville University, Morehouse College, and the Interdenominational Theological Center.

He also received awards including the Lifetime Achievement Award of Christians and Jews, the Blanchard Award for Ethical Leadership, The Turknett Leadership Character Lifetime Achievement Award, and the Service Above Self Award given by the Atlanta Rotary. He was named one of the 100 Most Influential Georgians and was admitted to the Hall of Fame of Influential Georgians.

He was past president of the Telephone Pioneers of America, one of the world’s largest volunteer associations of industrial employees. He was a past president of the Rotary Club of Atlanta and also a member of the Orange Bowl Committee and the Florida Council of 100.

Frank Skinner was a man with a deep faith and a love for the church. He was an active member and an Elder at Peachtree Presbyterian Church.

Frank was defined by his unwavering integrity, by his strong work ethic, and by his heart for serving others. He loved words, both spoken and written, and had the gift of using them to inspire, to motivate, to teach and to encourage.

Frank’s excellence in the community and business sector was legendary but it was his role as husband, father, and grandfather that was exceptional.

He showered his family with his immeasurable love, with his abundant wisdom and his unending generosity and with his delightful sense of humor. His blue eyes twinkled with warmth and kindness. He was happiest when “all of the feet were under the dining room table”.

Frank Skinner was predeceased by his wife Ruth Ann and by his daughter Lisa.

He is survived by his daughters Ruthanne Suttles and Christian Kirkland and his son-in-law John Kirkland.

He is also survived by his grandchildren Mackenzie and Molly Suttles and Tyler, John, and McKay Kirkland. Memorial contributions may be made to the Music Ministry of the Peachtree Presbyterian Church in Atlanta.

A memorial service will be held at Peachtree Presbyterian Church on Wednesday, November 21, 2018, at 1:00 p.m. followed by a celebration reception in the Williams Center.

Beverly (Bev) Franklin Dolan – Trustee Emeritus

Beverly (Bev) Franklin Dolan - Trustee EmeritusBeverly (Bev) Franklin Dolan, 90, died on February 21, 2018.

Bev was born in Augusta, Georgia, on November 9, 1927, the son of Mr. and Mrs. William Arthur Dolan.

He attended William Robinson Elementary School and graduated from the Academy of Richmond County. He then served a year in the Merchant Marines.

After graduating from the University of Georgia, he served two years in the United States Army. One year into his military service, he married Ada Alice Parramore from Valdosta, Georgia.

In June 1954, Bev and his brother, William (Billy) Arthur Dolan, Jr., founded the E-Z-Go Golf Car Corporation, which became the leader in the golf car industry. His long and successful association with Textron began when E-Z-Go was acquired in 1960.

During his career, Bev was president of E-Z-Go, Polaris, Homelite, and also became President, CEO and Chairman of Textron. Under his leadership, Textron purchased Excello, Avco, and Cessna, among other acquisitions, increasing Textron’s sales ten-fold in approximately five years.

Bev served on the Board of Directors for First Union Bank (now Wells Fargo), Factory Mutual Insurance Company, New York Stock Exchange, Ruddick Corporation, Polaris Industries and Florida Power and Light.

Family members, in addition to his wife, include children: Beverly Franklin (Frank) Dolan, Jr., (married to Cathy) and William (Will) Cleckley Dolan (married to Nelia). Grandchildren include: Beverly Franklin (Franklin) Dolan, III, William Christian (Christian) Dolan, Ada Alice (Her Majesty) Dolan, William Cleckley (Wilkes) Dolan, Jr., and Ellison Elizabeth Dolan.

Bev loved life and tried to fully enjoy each day. He loved Ada Alice and was quick to give her praise. He loved his sons Frank and William and their wives, Cathy and Nelia. The grandchildren were a delight to him.

He enjoyed his community of friends at Quail Hollow, Charlotte, NC; Lost Tree Club in North Palm Beach, Florida; and Esseola Lodge in Linville, North Carolina.

Bev enjoyed outdoor activities with his friends and family. He was a “people person” and a champion for the underdog. He was a benefactor of Hale House of Augusta as well as for a number of individuals, with little or no fanfare.

Rev. Dan McCall and Rev. Dick Thompson of Lost Tree Village, Florida, will conduct graveside funeral services in Westover Memorial Park, 2601 Wheeler Road, Augusta, Georgia 30904, on Tuesday, February 27, 2018, at 2:00 pm.

The family will receive guests immediately following the service at 808 Milledge Road, Augusta, Georgia 30904.

In lieu of flowers, the family wishes contributions be made to the Hale Foundation at 402 Walker Street, Augusta, Georgia 30901.
Published in Charlotte Observer on Feb. 26, 2018

Lula Bell Houston

Lula Bell HoustonLula Bell Houston, one of the matriarchs of ​the historic ​Smithville​ community​ in Cornelius and a beloved presence for 60 years at Davidson College, passed away in her sleep at ​age ​94​ today​.

Born in 1923, she worked in the laundry at Davidson College where the new student resource center and the building itself is named after her. She’s known as “Mama Lu” to thousands of young people who attended Davidson during the six decades that she worked there.

​She took the $12 a week job at Davidson after her first husband left the 25-year-old single mother of two. ​Some times, when her children were small, they came to work with her. She would later remarry and add two more children to her family, and she continued to work at the laundry​.​

​The new resource center at Davidson College—simply called Lula Bell’s—was dedicated one month ago. Mama Lu had dinner that night in the president’s mansion with her family.

Lula Bell’s provides students with professional and winter clothing, textbooks, food and kitchen supplies. Along with resources for all students, the space will host innovative and informative programming around systemic social issues and life skills, such as financial literacy.

When Mama Lu retired, US Rep. John M. Spratt Jr., a Davidson alum, prepared a congratulatory statement for the Congressional Record. It was read on the floor of the US House of Representatives.

She was also a ​gifted ​vocalist​, and sang with the Gethsame Gospel Singers, ​based at Gethsemane Baptist Church in Davidson​ for many years​. She received the Sojourner Truth Award from the National Association of Negro Business & Professional Womens Club in 2012 and Business Today’s Lifetime Achievement Award in 2015.

​She is survived by her four children, Peggy Rivens, William Edward Miller, Clarence Miller and Loria Houston, as well as grandchildren and great granchildren and nieces and nephews and a host of friends, including a special friend, Bill Williams.

Funeral arrangements are under the care of W.H. Bryant A.E Grier & Sons Funeral Home in Mooresville.

Saturday, December 2, 2017
Musical Tribute – 5:30 p.m.
Gethsemane Baptist Church
565 Jetton St, Davidson, NC 28036
Pastor Ernest E. Jeffries presiding

 

 

 

Copyright:   November 24, 2017

 

Learn more about how Lula Bell’s legacy lives on at Davidson:

RESOURCE, GATHERING PLACE & COMMUNITY INSPIRATION: COLLEGE DEDICATES LULA BELL’S (PUBLISHED OCT. 17, 2017)
https://www.davidson.edu/news/news-stories/171017-college-dedicates-lula-bells

HELPING HAND AND A WARM SMILE: NEW CAMPUS RESOURCE FOR STUDENTS TO BEAR NAME OF 60-YEAR EMPLOYEE LULA BELL HOUSTON (PUBLISHED MAY 18, 2017)
https://www.davidson.edu/news/news-stories/170518-new-campus-resource-for-students-named-for-lula-bell-houston

Richard C. “Dick” Burts, Jr. – Registrar Emeritus and Professor Emeritus of Psychology

Dr. Richard C. Burts, Jr.Dr. Richard C. Burts, Dean of Students, 1961-1970; Registrar, 1970-1985; and Professor of Psychology, 1961-1985

Richard C. “Dick” Burts, Jr., of Greenville, husband of Annamarie Booz Burts, died September 10, 2017, after an extended struggle with dementia.

Born November 11, 1919, in Rock Hill, he was the son of the late Richard C. and Mamie Norris Burts.

Dick graduated from Furman University in 1940 where he was a member of the SAE fraternity and the Quaternion Club. He received both a Master’s Degree and a Doctorate in Educational Administration from Teachers College, Columbia University, where he met and married his wife.

Dick devoted his career to serving as Dean of Students at Denison College in Granville, OH, Mercer University in Macon, GA, and Davidson College in Davidson, NC.

Dick served as a Deacon in the Baptist church and later as an Elder in the Presbyterian church. He was a loyal member of the Lions Club for over 50 years where he served as club president and as District Governor. He was awarded a Lion’s life membership and was named a Melvin Jones Fellow. He and his wife were recipients of the Algernon Sydney Sullivan Award in recognition of their service to Davidson College and the town of Davidson, NC.

A resident of Rolling Green Village for 22 years, he assumed leadership roles as long as he was physically able to do so.

Survivors, in addition to his wife of 73 years, include his daughter Julie Cline of Simpsonville; his son Richard C. Burts, III, (Ann) of Raleigh, NC; four grand children, David M. Cline, Jr. (Chamblee) of Greenville, Wade Cline of Anderson, James R. Burts (Mitake) of Raleigh, NC, and Kathryn Jones (Jonathan) of Raleigh, NC; and eight great grandchildren. He was predeceased by his sister Eleanor Norris Burts of Bronxville, NY.

A Memorial Service will be held at Rolling Green Village on Saturday, September 16, 2017, at 3:00 PM. Dick donated his body to medical research at the Willed Body Program at the Greenville Heath System. Interment will take place at a later date.

The family is especially appreciative of the wonderful care provided by Homewell Senior Care and Lutheran Hospice.

Memorials may be sent to The Richard and Annamarie Burts Scholarship Fund at Davidson College, Davidson College Donor Relations, Box 7195, Davidson, NC 28035; to the Smith/ Smart Residents Support Endowment Fund at Rolling Green Village, Rolling Green Village, 1 Hoke Smith Boulevard, Greenville, SC 29615, ATTN: L ynn Lentz; or to a charity of your choice.

Condolences may be sent to the family at www. thomasmcafee.com.

Thomas McAfee Funeral Home, Southeast Chapel