Hall of Honor 2006 Inductees
Nancy Thompson Alexander
A native and lifelong resident of Lenoir, Nancy Thompson Alexander graduated from Lenoir High School in 1933. She attended Women's College in Greensboro in 1933-35, returning to Lenoir for an illustrious career in journalism and community service. Mrs. Alexander, an editor for the Lenoir News Topic, recorded much of Caldwell County history through her newspaper columns for the Lenoir News-Topic, where she also served as the society editor. She wrote a weekly historical column about Caldwell County, "The Hilltopper" for The Charlotte Observer and wrote feature articles for The Watauga Democrat, Hickory Daily Record and The State. She founded the Caldwell County Press where she served as editor. Mrs. Alexander received numerous North Carolina Women's Press Association Awards and the 1955, 56, 58 and 78, Award of Merit from the NC Society of County and Local Historians. She authored several books including The World of My Childhood; Here Will I Dwell: The Story of Caldwell County; Tom Dooley; These Eternal Hills; Furnitureland; The Medical History of Caldwell County; The History of the First Presbyterian Church of Lenoir; Remembrances . . . Caldwell County, North Carolina; and Southern Appalachian Folkways. A community leader as well, Mrs. Alexander helped organize the Caldwell Historical Society, Caldwell Heritage Museum, the Lenoir Service League, Caldwell Arts Council, and the restoration of Fort Defiance. She was one of the founders of Caldwell Savings Bank and served on its board of directors until her death. She was a member of the Caldwell County League of Women Voters, the Lenoir Woman's Club, the Brush and Palette Art Club, Daughters of the American Revolution, and the Audubon Society. She served on the Caldwell County Library Board and the board of the Arts Council. Mrs. Alexander received the coveted Louis A. Dysart Citizenship Award in 1981. Nancy Thompson Alexander loved her Caldwell County and spent her life striving to make it a better place, recording its precious history for the future generations.
Richard A. Curtis
A native of Avery County, Richard Curtis graduated from Hudson High School in 1964. He was a student at the N.C. State School of Design for one year before entering the Army where he served in the 82nd Airborne for two years. After his tour of duty, Mr. Curtis returned to the School of Design and graduated in 1972. Beginning a successful career in journalism, Mr. Curtis held top posts on newspapers in Baltimore, Miami and St. Petersburg, Fla. In 1982 Richard Curtis became one of the founding editors of USA TODAY. He is also a founder and Past President of the Society of Newspaper Design. Mr. Curtis is the co-editor of "Portraits of the USA," editor and designer of USA TODAY's "The Weather Book," "The USA TODAY Weather Almanac," and designer and editor of the Freedom Forum's 1994 book, "Death by Cheeseburger: High School Journalism in the 1990s and Beyond." He has served as a visiting professor and lecturer in graphics at many universities and professional associations in the U.S. and abroad. Mr. Curtis is a two-time winner of the American Journalism Review's award for best-designed newspaper, named a distinguished alumnus of the N.C. State College of Design, and was inducted into the N.C. Journalism Hall of Fame in 1997. In 2003, Mr. Curtis received the Anton Majeri Award for Innovation and Leadership in Graphics Journalism and the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Society of News Design. In 2004, he was honored with the N.C. State Design Guild Award. Mr. Curtis serves as chairman of N.C. State University's board of visitors and serves on the board of visitors at the journalism and mass communications school at UNC-Chapel Hill. Mr. Curtis says, "The richness of the grade-school experience and the influences of teachers in Hudson have guided me my entire life. Not only do I carry their lessons with me, but I am eternally grateful for how they opened my eyes to the opportunities of the world."
A native of Granite Falls, North Carolina, Faye Tunmire-Fincannon-Comer was born to John William and Hettie Ella Tunmire in 1924. Mrs. Comer's first school experience was attending the Dry Ponds School, a one room schoolhouse, followed by seven years at Sawmills Elementary School. She entered Hudson High School and graduated in 1941 at Davenport College after a fire destroyed the Hudson High building. Mrs. Comer's dream of missionary work began as an eleven year old girl. She entered Gardner-Webb in 1946, graduating in 1948. Mrs. Comer continued her education at Baylor University, receiving a BA in 1950, and an MRE in 1952 from New Orleans Theological Seminary. Returning to Caldwell County, Mrs. Comer was called as the first Religious Educational Director at her home church, Mt. Zion Baptist in Hudson. After teaching a year at Sawmills Elementary School in 1953, Mrs. Comer returned to New Orleans to work in the Rachel Sims River Front Missions. In 1956, she sailed to the Philippines where she began nineteen years of work in foreign ministries. Traveling around the world, and dedicating her life to the betterment of others, Mrs. Comer has also served on the NC Baptist State Convention WMU Board, served as chair of the NC Task Force, and on the Gardner-Webb University Advisory Board. She has volunteered for the Foreign Mission Partnership Evangelism in Scotland, the Home Mission Evangelism Crusade in Pennsylvania, and served as a Volunteer Coordinator of the American Bible Society from which she received honorary life membership in 1992. Sharing the wisdom of her eighty plus years, Mrs. Comer quotes from Proverbs, "Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding, in all thy ways acknowledge Him and He shall direct thy paths."
Major General Thomas E. Moore
A native of Caldwell County, Major General Thomas E. Moore graduated from Collettesville High School in 1930 and Mars Hill College in 1932. In 1933 he began his military career enlisting in the U.S. Army as a student at the West Point Prep School, Ft. McPherson, GA. He received his pilot training at the Army Air Corps schools in Texas at Randolph and Kelly Fields, graduating in 1934. As a Cadet he was a member of the famous 1st Pursuit Group at Selfridge Field, MI. After a year at Langley Field, VA, he was sent to the Caribbean Air Command where he flew aerial reconnaissance in Panama and Puerto Rico destroying one German submarine. In 1944 he joined the 10th Bomber Command at Biggs Field, TX, deploying in 1944 to India with the 58th Bombardment Wing flying missions over China and Burma. As a B29 Command pilot, he flew 7 missions over Japan and became the deputy chief of staff for operations in the Marianas. Assignments after World War II included a year at Air Command and Staff School at Maxwell Field, AL; Assistant Commandant of Tech Schools, Keesler AFB, MS; Armed Forces Staff College, Norfolk, VA; Deputy Chief of Staff Third Air Force in England; Air Training Command Headquarters at Scott AFB and Randolph AFB; Commander of Sheppard Technical Center, TX; and Director of Personnel Planning and Deputy Chief of Staff Personnel at the Pentagon. In 1966 he became Commander of the Alaskan Air Command, also serving as Vice Commander Alaska North American Defense Command Region. His last Command was Keesler AFB Technical Training Center. Gen. Moore retired in 1970 after 37 years of service and more than 6,100 flying hours. His decorations include the Distinguished Service Medal, Legion of Merit with 2 Oak Leaf Clusters, WWII Victory Medal, Bronze Star, National Defense Service Medal, Air Medal, Meritorious Service Medal, American Defense Service Medal, and Asian Pacific Campaign Medal. He is a life member of the Air Force Association and Order of Dadaelians. Gen. Thomas E. Moore truly exemplifies the dedication of our men in the Armed Forces who uphold our freedom, bravely defending our country and the rights of all people.
Kenneth A. Roberts
A native of Caldwell County, Kenneth A. Roberts attended Whitnel Elementary and graduated from Hudson High School in 1952. He graduated with honors from Western Carolina University receiving a BS in mathematics and science. Mr. Roberts returned to Caldwell County to begin a dedicated education career. He taught at Kings Creek, Whitnel and Collettsville schools. At the age of twenty-five, he was appointed principal of Collettsville School, was promoted to be the first principal of Gamewell-Collettsville High School and was later named as the first principal at Hibriten High School. While at Hibriten, Mr. Roberts collaborated with ASU and began the Admissions Partnership Program (APP) and was a founding member and chairman of the ASU/Public Schools Partnership. He became assistant superintendent of Caldwell County Schools in 1978 and was named superintendent in 1982, serving in this capacity for eleven and one-half years. While superintendent, Caldwell County received state accreditation for the first time. Under his leadership, school system accomplishments included the start of a Communities in School program, the establishment of an Education Foundation, the launching of Kaleidoscope, the first opportunity for National Board Certification for teachers and a Summer Seminars program of professional development for teachers. During his tenure a comprehensive school facilities plan was developed, leading to a ten million dollar grant from the Critical Needs Fund for school construction which replaced four original 1920's school buildings. After retiring, Mr. Roberts helped to reopen Patterson School by volunteering for six months to develop a curriculum and write policies. He then served three more years as volunteer headmaster of the school. He later was named Headmaster Emeritus. Mr. Roberts is a member of the Lenoir Rotary Club, on the board of Friends of Wilson Creek and the Chapel of Rest Preservation Society. Two scholarships have been named in his honor. Throughout his education career and service to community, Kenneth Roberts has been known for his high academic standards and outstanding integrity. He is a role model for leadership and has left a legacy to professional educators across the county