Sunday, September 28, 2008

Leaving the OLD Homeplace

And I DO mean old! How about 1845!

Jerry Gaudet alerted me to an article in the September 26th Charlotte Observer about our own Betty Shulenberger (CHS class of 54) and her husband Pete Snow.

The author is Nancy Stancill, the Observer's Home and Garden editor.

After 31 years, it's time for Betty and Pete Snow to leave Hennigan Place, an 1845 plantation home they restored to perfection.

They'll say goodbye to 5.4 acres of riding trails, an antique barn with two horse stalls and a two-story carriage house.

Betty, 72, and Pete, 71, are retiring to Pinehurst. The house with its prime south Mecklenburg acreage is listed by Sotheby's for $1.75 million. Their carefully chosen antiques will be sold separately.

They've been mulling this move since Betty's brush with cancer four years ago. When Pete turned 71, they realized they couldn't put it off much longer. They found land in Pinehurst for a small cottage. The Snows are looking forward to their move, but they acknowledge that it's a bittersweet time.

Before they sell the property, the intensely private couple decided to unveil it to the public for the first time. They invited the Observer to visit and photograph the historic landmark.

“We'd like to share it with the citizens of Mecklenburg before it goes into private hands again,” Pete Snow said.

Spotting the house on the hill

Betty and Pete Snow were driving along U.S. 521 in 1970 when she looked up and saw the house on the hill.

“It was in rundown condition, but the lines were exquisite,” she recalls.

They found that the house, built by a prominent farmer named James Hennigan, was slated to be burned by a local fire department as a training exercise. They quickly bought it, moved it across the street, and began looking for a permanent place for it.

In 1973, they disassembled it carefully and moved it to 3503 Tilley Morris Road, where it now sits in a neighborhood near Interstate 485 and Providence Road. At that time, there were six houses along the road. Now there are close to 1,000 in subdivisions that front along Tilley Morris.

The couple had a school-age daughter and they both worked intense jobs, Betty at the county health department and Pete in sales for a national company. (Betty spent five years as the county's health director, retiring in 1994.)

So they restored the house in their spare time, working alongside hired laborers stripping paint, and spending weekends hunting for antiques in the N.C. mountains. The house had never been plumbed or wired.

“You talk about a labor of love,” says Dan Morrill, consulting director of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Historic Landmarks Commission. “The level of authenticity is amazing. Authenticity is their (the Snows') middle name.”

Looking forward to carriage driving

On a hot afternoon recently, the Snows spent two hours showing everything from the antique whip-and-boot rack in the master bedroom to the restored split-rail fence in the pasture. Their furnishings are carefully chosen antiques, mostly from the mid-1800s. Some were inherited from family members.

The Greek Revival-style home has a front porch, a center hall, a formal living room, three bedrooms and 2 1/2 baths. When the Snows had to add something to the home that wasn't original, such as the bathrooms, they kept them simple, with clean lines.

“One of the dangers of restoration is going glitzy with bathrooms,” says Betty Snow.

In back of the house are several squared-off gardens for herbs, vegetables and roses. Creating the formal gardens was a favorite pastime – until she was diagnosed with skin cancer four years ago.

“I slathered myself with SPF 50 (sunscreen), but I neglected to put it on my lips,” she says. Surgery removed a melanoma on her lip, but she was ordered to stay out of the sun between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. Now, if she ventures out, she wears a specially treated fisherman's hat for protection.

Betty was an avid rider and jumper from early adulthood until she turned 60. Then, she said, she stopped because age dims quick reflexes. She and Pete took up carriage driving, a hobby they pursue avidly.

Their zeal for competition led them to become interested in Pinehurst, often the site for carriage-driving activities.

Now, as they prepare to sell the house and furnishings, they are looking forward to taking along Chester and Dasher, their two American Miniature Horses.

They have a new project: teaching the horses to pull a carriage in tandem.

They won't leave until the property sells. They hope it will go to someone who loves it as much as they do.

“It's in the Lord's hands,” says Betty. “We've made the decision, and when we shut the door, we won't come back.”

For a complete look at the home that Betty and Pete built, AND a look at their wonderful collections of antiques go HERE 



Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Search for Classmate Ends Sadly

I suppose it's inevitable that some of our "missing" classmates are no longer with us.
Jerry Gaudet reports:

Thanks to Clay Eubanks for his efforts to locate missing CHS'54 classmates.  Clay made contact with Paul Biles' daughter and, unfortunately, found that he had passed away.

Clay shares this: "I will always value his friendship and know that he was a very good man.  It is interesting that he attained his PhD in psychology and worked in that field, teaching et al, for his career.  His daughter, "Tina", sounds like a chip off the ole block.  A fine young woman."

Paul's daughter, Christina ("Tina") Biles Ayers, tells us..."My Dad, Paul Biles was one of your classmates in high school.  Mr. Clay Eubanks called me this afternoon and we had a wonderful conversation.  He asked that I e-mail you let you know that Dad passed away ten years ago.  He had a very successful and fulfilling life and was the best father anyone could have.  He died of IUP (lung disease).  He was not a smoker and they never figured out what caused it.  He is buried in Lancaster, SC alongside my stepmother Carolyn McManus Biles."


Should you care to make expressions to Paul's daughter, "Tina", her email address is





Thursday, September 18, 2008

55th Sneak Preview

Got this note from Ellouise:


Thought you would like to have this - four classmates,


Jane Thornhill, Jane Hoke,  Ellouise Diggle and Betsy Villas. " My mother's funeral was also a  time and place for a very sweet reunion with dear friends. And a chance to say, "Yes, we will see you May 8, 2009"  I know Carolyn Minogue was hovering near-by."  Ellouise


My Son Just Became a Brigadier General!

Imagine the bumper sticker that Pat and Zara Faulkner could put on their car!!

Take a look at this from two of our CHS graduates:

"Wm Mark Faulkner, the son of Pat Faulkner (Col. USMC, Ret.) and Zara Kelly Faulkner, both Central High School graduates of classes 1954 and 1955 respectively, was recently promoted to the rank of Brigadier General, United States Marine Corps.  General Faulkner is a graduate of Havelock High School, Havelock, NC, a graduate of East Carolina University with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Business Administration, holds a Masters Degree in business from Chaminade University, is a distinguished graduate of the Marine Corps Amphibious Warfare School, Quantico, VA, a distinguished graduate of the Air Force Command and Staff College,  Montgomery, AL, and holds a Master of Science Degree in National Resource Strategy from the Industrial College of the Armed Forces." 

BrigGen Mark Faulkner, USMC, being promoted by MajGen MaryAnn Krusa - Dossin, USMC.

(Mark may be the only male general officer in the Marine Corps to have ever been promoted by a female general officer). 


"Mark entered the world somewhat a Marine as he was born at Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point, North Carolina.  He officially entered the Marine Corps in 1982 and has served his country throughout the world.  His service includes tours of duty in support of Operation Desert Storm (First Iraqi War), duty with United Nations Forces in the former Yugoslavia, duty with US Central Command where he participated in Operations Southern Watch, Desert Fox, and Noble Response, humanitarian operations in Africa and elsewhere. He also served tours at Headquarters Marine Corps and with the Joint Chiefs of Staff in Washington, DC.  In addition to the first Iraqi war his combat experience includes the initial invasion of Afghanistan where he provided offshore logistic support for Marine Operations far inland. The distance was record setting in the annals of Marine Corps amphibious operations.  He recently served another 13 month tour of duty in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom for the liberation of An Bar Province which has now been returned to full Iraqi protection.  Upon his return from Iraq Mark accepted command of the 2nd Marine Logistics Group at Camp Lejeune, NC."


"Mark's personal awards include two awards of the Legion of Merit with Combat "V", the Bronze Star Medal, two awards of the Defense Meritorious Service Medal, the Meritorious Service Medal, Joint Service Commendation Medal, Joint Service Achievement Medal, Navy/Marine Corps Achievement Medal, and  the Combat Action Ribbon.  He is also a recipient of the League of Latin American Citizens "Excellence in Military Services Award" for 2007. His decorations also include many national and service related unit awards. Mark is also a marathon runner with very respectable times in both the Boston and Marine Corps events."   


"Mark is currently assigned by the Commandant of the Marine Corps as the Commanding General of the Third Marine Logistics Group in support of the Third Marine Expeditionary Force in Okinawa, Japan.  He is married to the former Janet Etter, also of Marine heritage (father is a retired Colonel), of New Bern, NC.  Mark and Janet have two children, Amanda Faulkner of Jacksonville, FL, and Kate Faulkner, a Sophomore at East Carolina University, Greenville, NC." 

 "Mark's family and friends are very proud of his achievements."

...and, congratulations to two very proud parents!

Wow!  -Ed


Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Bob Ellis' Brother Passes

With great sadness we learned of the passing of Jim Ellis, brother of our own Bob Ellis.

James F. Ellis
James F. Ellis 
Mr. Ellis, 63, of Huntersville, went to be with the Lord on September 10, 2008. Jimmy was a retired fireman was known and loved by the community as The Christmas Tree Man. 
He is survived by his wife, JoAnn; three sons, Michael, Thomas and Chris, and their wives; seven grandchildren; brother, Bob Ellis and wife of Matthews; and two nieces. 
Funeral services will be held at 3 p.m. Sunday in the chapel of Raymer Funeral Home with burial following at Huntersville Presbyterian Cemetery. Visitation will be from 6 to 9 p.m. Saturday at the funeral home. 
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Hospice of Iredell County, PO BOX 822, Statesville, NC 28677. 
Raymer Funeral Home is serving the family.

A Note from Bob:

Thank you for your kind words. Jim was a brother and my best friend..He was with the Charlotte Fire Dept. for 26 years retiring with the rank of Captain..He had lived in Huntersville the past 30 some years.  He had a Christmas tree farm of about 50 acres just inside the Virginia state line ( small area called Elk Creek ) ..For the past 17 years he also sold trees retail in downtown Huntersville hince "the Chrtistmas Tree Man".. I will miss him GREATLY ....

Monday, September 15, 2008

Good News

I'm happy to report that Don Nance is recovering nicely from his recent "setback" from an operation associated with Chrone's Disease.

I talked with him by phone this morning in his hospital room in Chapel Hill. He said he's feeling almost like his old self for the first time in a long, long time and is so tired of spending so much time in the hospital that he's seriously considering making a break for it.

He didn't exactly SAY that, but he did ask me to send him a cake.....with a file in it.

Yep, Don IS feeling like his old self.......ripping, drilling and filing holes in concrete walls....etc.


Sunday, September 14, 2008

Do you know what time hit is?

If that doesn't instantly make you think of THE BRIARHOPPERS, then you're either too young....or too old.....or, have logged onto this site by accident.

I'm positive that you'll be crazy about this website I found!
For a dose of "instant memories" go there now.
Don't wait "til the sun shines, Nellie." 


Friday, September 12, 2008

Missing Classmates

Here's the list of missing classmates from Jerry Gaudet.  Hopefully we can find some of these folks to let them know about our 55th Reunion coming up this Spring.

We're trying to get the word out about our next class reunion.  Please let me know if you have any contact information for any of the 40 classmates listed below:

Jim Allen 
Sarah Beck Yandle
Paul Biles 
Rebecca May Brogden 
Nancy Brookes Lawing
Ruth Brown Braswell
Agnes Caudell 
Danny Cole 
Donald Cooke 
Alton Craver 
Lois Dempsey 
Anne Finger 
Jean Fort Summers
Sue Griffin Price
Carl Guest 
Janie Gurley 
Fred Howard 
Nancy Karnes 
John Keller 
Kathleen Kesler 
Jeanne King Kumm
Doy Lim 
Ronald Little 
Gary Lutteral 
Sarah McWhirter Martin
Fred Merrill 
Esther Newell 
Bill Powell 
Nelda Price 
Betty Purvis 
Helen Ray Therrell
Rosemary Sessoms 
Micheal Thompson 
Bobby Tribble 
Ed Turner 
Bruce Wallace 
Yvonne Wentz 
Shirley Williams 
Elizabeth Ann Wilson 
Jerry Wood 

If you have knowledge of any of these missing classmates.....let Jerry or me know.



Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Let's all VOTE

No.........not for President (that too).....but for Dr. Widenhouse!

That's right. 

We got a note from Alton and Bonnie Widenhouse telling us about a contest that a Charleston, SC magazine is having to determine who is the BEST doctor in their area. The winner will be chosen by online voting.

" ...Our son, Brian, is in a Charleston magazine contest that he first thought was a lark.  He has now discovered that the competition is taking this very seriously and have major campaigns going to get votes. his parents, we need to help him make a good showing.  Please go to the web site below and vote for Dr. Widenhouse.  Brian and all our family will greatly appreciate any votes you can send his way.

...go to for "Charleston's Hottest Doc".   

Then scroll down to his photo and vote."


Thanks so much!  Best to all,  Al and Bonnie Widenhouse

Well, I don't know how many of us have ever needed a Charleston, but if we ever 
do, I don't believe there's any doubt that we will choose the one named 

So let's all let the people of Charleston know that there's another winner named Widenhouse.....right in their own backyard!!


PS.....I just went to the site to cast my vote.....and just clicking on Dr. Widenhouse's picture doesn't do anything.  You have to go up to the top of the page and click on the banner that says, "CAST YOUR VOTE" on the litte box that opens under his picture.  You'll know you voted when you do that twice.....and you get an alert that you're only allowed to vote ONCE.

Thursday, September 04, 2008


Here Come the Wildcats!

Think our high priced planning committee has all these meetings just for the purpose of drinking coffee (and maybe even an adult beverage or two) telling old war stories, and generally just goofing off?

Of course. But they've also come up with an excuse...uh, plan.....for all of us to get together again.

Here's the official announcement:

The CHS'54 Reunion Committee is planning an event for Spring of 2009!

Since our fiftieth reunion in 2004, there has been considerable interest in holding a reunion on our fifty-fifth anniversary, but not on such a grand scale.
In response to your interest, there is a plan to celebrate the occasion by getting together for one evening in a very casual atmosphere. The date has been set for Friday, May 8, 2009, and we have reserved a wonderful park facility for the evening. This is the same recreation space that successfully hosted the reunions for the classes of 1953 and 1952.

Obviously, there are still many details to work out, but the purpose of this letter is to get everyone to save the date on their calendar.

For those who would be traveling long distances, one question we are dealing with is “Should we plan to have something for Saturday also”? The answer is, “Yes”, but just what it will be will depend on the number of classmates who would like to see it continue through to Saturday evening”.

Finally, since we are very much in the early planning stages, the committee is asking you for any comments or suggestions you might have to help make this a truly meaningful event for YOU.

Jerry Gaudet will collect the information for the committee. Contact him at:, or 2611 Springway Drive, Charlotte, NC 28205.

Please let us hear from you.

Regards / CHS ‘54 Reunion Committee

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Prayers for the Preacher

Got this note from Don Nance's wife Letty:

Dear Friends and Family,

Some of you already know, others don't, so allow me to repeat. Don had surgery on July 10 in Carolina Memorial Hospital in Chapel Hill at which time the most of his colon was removed due to Crohn's Disease. Three weeks later an abscess developed in his lower abdomen and we returned to UNC. A drain tube was inserted, but last week there were problems, and we again made the trip to the UNC hospital. This time they put in a larger tube. We came back home Sunday, but he is very weak and discouraged. As Donnie, our son, said, "He's sick and tired of being sick and tired,"

It seems that every time we have to make the three and half hour trip to Chapel Hill it makes him weaker. The weakness is depressing him (and me).

We are strong believers in the power of prayer and ask you to lift him up at this time.

Much love,

Letty Nance

The Field House

By Ed Myers

Don Nance and I go all the way back to Elizabeth School. He is one of the most positive people I've ever known. Only once in our long friendship have I ever known him to be "depressed." It was in the summer of 1953. We had just finished one of those awful preseason football practices and were in the showers at the luxurious field house next to the track beside the practice field when I heard Don suddenly shout out a couple of his favorite cuss words......."Oh shoot!,"he said. "Darn it to heck," Dern, Dern, Dern!"

What happened was, he had placed his brand new watch on top of the shower wall (which was nothing but those hollow concrete cinderblocks) and the watch had slipped there...probably all the way to the bottom) As you can imagine, the Reverand, Dr. (to be) Don Nance was not a happy camper. I was afraid he would start gnashing his teeth next, but he suddenly returned to his old demeanor.......and said simply, "I'll just have to get it."

I thought to myself, "no way, Jose." The only way to get that watch out was to tear down the wall.

I was about to learn WHY Don was always so positive. Problems were never anything but "opportunities in disguise" to him. (That saying is not original with me, but it sure fits!)

Later that evening, Don came back with his brother, who was very handy with construction tools, and somehow the two of them figured out how far down the watch probably fell.....and they drilled a hole in the wall and, voila! there was the watch!.

Unfortunately I heard recently that the old field house had been torn down. That's too bad. I was going to take a picture of that hole in the back wall and frame it so I can tell the story of the "hole" to my grandchildren when they get discouraged and think nothing can be done.

I'm confident Don will conquer this illness as well.


Ellouise's Mom Passes

We got this note from Ellouise:

Dear Jerry and Ed,

Jerry you may have noticed in the Observer that my mother died Friday August 29 - on the same day my father died 15 years ago.

I have written about it on my blog.

Not sure when the obituary will appear so I thought I would let you know ahead.

The funeral will be held at 10 am at St. Patrick's on this Friday.

Visitation between 7-9 at Hankins Whittington on Thursday.

Its a tough time but we have the comfort of knowing that this is right for her.


A "PS" from Ellouise:

Ironically my story "Daddy's Kites" is posted today on the Elderstorytelling Blog.


I guess next time I tell it I will up-date to add Mama.