Each year North Carolina Baptist entities honor people who have contributed to the individual organizations in unique ways.
This year’s N.C. Baptist Heritage Awards Banquet, planned for Feb. 24, was cancelled because of winter weather. The Baptist State Convention of N.C. and the N.C. Baptist Foundation co-sponsor the annual event.
• Baptist Children’s Homes of North Carolina: Walter Williams
Early in life Walter Williams adopted a formula that defines who he is: love God, work hard and bless others. Walter and his wife, Marie, have dedicated themselves to using their resources to give hope to others, especially children and young adults. As a rookie teacher, then a businessman, and founder of his own business, Walter believes in investing in people by doing the right thing and giving generously.
As a member of Immanuel Baptist Church in Greenville, Walter has held every major leadership role and invested in its ministry in every way. Walter loves eastern North Carolina, East Carolina University and Baptist Children’s Homes of North Carolina, especially Kennedy Home in Kinston.
Walter and Marie are honorary chairs of BCH’s Eastern North Carolina “Sharing hope … changing lives” capital campaign.
• Baptist State Convention of N.C.: Johnny E. Ross
From an early age, Johnny Ross developed a love of learning that was instilled in him by his parents, and nurtured by his pastor, teachers and coaches. He planned to pursue a career as an educator when he sensed God calling him to vocational ministry.
Instead of teaching in a school, Ross taught in Baptist churches combining his passion for learning, enthusiasm for teaching and love for people throughout his 34-year career with the Baptist State Convention. He regularly met with pastors and congregations to equip and encourage them on topics related to Sunday School and financial planning. From 1999 until his retirement at the end of 2013, Ross served as the state’s GuideStone representative, helping pastors, congregations and convention staff to understand the importance and necessity of adequately planning for their futures. Prior to that, Ross spent 20 years serving as the adult consultant with the state convention’s Bible teaching and reaching team from 1979 to 1999.
A native of Morganton, Ross is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where he earned his bachelor’s degree in education and master’s degree in teaching. He later earned his master of divinity with religious education and doctor of ministry from Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in Wake Forest.
Ross and his wife, Rhea, reside in Apex and are members of Salem Baptist Church in Apex.
• Campbell University: Jim and Daphne Perry
Jim and Daphne Perry have been involved in numerous charitable organizations since Jim’s retirement from Major League Baseball in 1975. Now residents of New London, N.C., the Perrys are members of First Baptist Church in Asheboro.
Born in Williamston, James “Jim” Evan Perry Sr. is the 1970 Major League Baseball Cy Young Award winner and a three-time American League All-Star. A 1959 graduate of Campbell College, where he excelled in both baseball and basketball, Perry is also a member of the Minnesota Twins Hall of Fame. Perry pitched from 1959 to 1975 for the Cleveland Indians, Twins, Detroit Tigers and Oakland Athletics. During his 17-year career, Perry compiled 215 wins and 1,576 strikeouts and pitched for the Twins in the 1965 World Series. He and younger brother and Baseball Hall of Famer Gaylord, who also attended Campbell, are the only brothers in Major League Baseball history to win Cy Young awards. In 2011, he was inducted into the Twins Hall of Fame.
Daphne Snell Perry, a native of Roper, graduated from Campbell College in 1960 with a degree in business education. She received the Outstanding Student Award and the Vivian Dawson Massey Music Award. She was co-captain of the women’s basketball team, the librarian for the Campbell Tour Choir, and a member of the New House Council, Beta Club and May Court.
In 2013, Daphne Perry was named a Distinguished Alumni of Campbell University. That same year, the school dedicated its newly renovated baseball stadium as Jim Perry Stadium, home of the Fighting Camels. The Perrys have three children and seven grandchildren.
• Chowan University: Walter Frank Rose Jr. and Penny A. Rose
Natives of the Elkin/Jonesville area of North Carolina, Penny attended Guilford College and Frank earned the bachelor of science in business administration from Wake Forest University. Settling in Eastern North Carolina, Frank has worked in the family business, Rose Brothers Paving Company his entire life, currently serving as CEO and chairman of the board.
Penny serves her church as hostess committee chairman, works on the worship decorating committee, but most fulfilling, is teaching Sunday School for young adults at First Baptist Church of Ahoskie.
She has just completed a term as chairman of the board of Governors of the Elizabethan Gardens. Frank is a deacon, Sunday School teacher and Eagle Scout.
Service to Chowan University has been a driving force in Frank’s life. He is currently serving his sixth year as chairman of the trustees. The Roses maintain a longstanding devotion to Chowan, generously supporting the scholarship program and capital projects. As a result of their leadership and generosity, the Rose Family Tennis Complex is among the new athletic facilities to open on campus.
Serving family, church, and community is representative of their life. The Roses have three children and six grandchildren.
• Gardner-Webb University: Jack and Ruby Hunt
Born and raised in Lattimore, N.C., the Hunts have demonstrated the importance of service, integrity and generosity. They raised five daughters, ran a successful dental practice, represented their community at the local and state levels, and continue to support a myriad of projects in their home county to improve the quality of life for others.
Jack excelled as a dentist, farmer, entrepreneur and statesman of Cleveland County. A veteran of World War II and the Korean War, Hunt earned the rank of major in the U.S. Army. With the support of his wife and family, he served for more than two decades as an elected representative in the North Carolina General Assembly. He was the longest-running chairman of the House rules committee and also served as Speaker Pro-Tempore. Now in their golden years, the Hunts have financially supported many community projects for local institutions including Cleveland Community College, the Ruby Hunt YMCA, and the Earl Scruggs Center.
In 2014, the Hunts offered a significant donation to Gardner-Webb University, which established both the Hunt School of Nursing and scholarship endowments to educate future nurses. The Hunts understand that their legacy was built through hard work, sustained through faith in Christ, and exhibited through their philanthropic commitment.
• Meredith College: Allen F. Page
Professor, department head, dean, college registrar and vice president for academic programs – Allen F. Page has held many key leadership roles in his 37 years as a highly respected member of the Meredith College community.
He served on the college’s major committees, taught a wide variety of classes in the religion department, oversaw undergraduate instruction, authored numerous academic works, and directed Meredith’s 2010 SACS reaccreditation process. In the community, he also served as a volunteer leader at Pullen Memorial Baptist Church, Method Day Care Center, Bern Bullard Industries, the Rotary Club, the Democratic Party, the N.C. Department of Public Instruction, and many others.
Page earned an associate’s degree at Mars Hill College, a bachelor’s degree from Wake Forest University, a master of divinity degree from Union Theological Seminary, and a doctor of philosophy degree from Duke University. He also attended Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, and served as visiting scholar at Duke University.
Page’s mother, sister, nine of his aunts and several cousins all attended Meredith. His wife, Barbara, is a member of the class of 1954. Allen and Barbara have been very generous to Meredith having made plans to endow a special award for staff members – the Allen and Barbara Page Staff Award.
Retired from the College since 2010, Page continues to generously share his time, talents and resources with his community, his family, his church and with Meredith. He currently serves as a liaison for the college’s capital campaign “Beyond Strong.”
• Mars Hill University: Ron Brown
A preacher by calling, Ron Brown is first and foremost a relationship builder and community servant. For almost two decades he served as a volunteer chaplain with the Asheville Police Department. He is the longest tenured pastor at three Asheville area churches: Enka Baptist Church in Enka, Oteen Baptist Church in Asheville and Cumberland Avenue Baptist Church in Asheville.
Since 1981, Brown has committed himself to bettering the lives of students at Mars Hill University through service on the Board of Trustees. During those many years, he has offered a balanced perspective to presidential search committees, served as a role model to fellow trustees, been recognized as a master fundraiser, and recruited numerous students. He and his wife, Louise, have two children.
• North Carolina Baptist Foundation: Margaret Joyce
Margaret Joyce was not born a person of financial privilege but was raised on a small farm in Wilkes County with a sister and two brothers. Her upbringing instilled in her an appreciation for the simple blessings of life, as well as an ability to dream big.
She received her undergraduate degree from American University in Washington, D.C., a master’s degree in counseling from UNC-Greensboro and studied at the University of Cincinnati Conservatory of Music. She went on to enjoy a teaching career of more than 36 years during which she established the very first guidance-counseling program at Madison/Mayodan High School. Her love for music has led her to serve as organist at her church, Grace Baptist Church in Madison, for more than 40 years.
Margaret married her husband, William, in 1953. After he graduated from UNC-Chapel Hill, he worked 34 years for N.C. Services for the Blind. William, who died in 2000, was blind from birth.
Over the years, Margaret and William established endowments that will support, in perpetuity, church music ministries, college scholarships for needy students, children’s ministries both at home and abroad, as well as scholarships for those preparing for ministry at Fruitland Baptist Bible College. Because of her generosity and fund raising efforts, Caraway Conference Center recently named a building for Margaret.
• N.C. Baptist Men: Jack and Cathy Ollis
Jack and Cathy Ollis have devoted their lives to serving Christ through missions. In the early 1970s both taught college chemistry in Danville, Va. They were very active in their local church and open to God’s call for missions. In the mid ’70s, Jack helped launch N.C. Christian High Adventure, a wilderness backpacking program. Later, he served as the Eastern U.S. Christian High Adventure director.
Jack and Cathy were appointed in 1980 by the International Mission Board (IMB) as missionaries. They have served throughout Southeast Asia. Their first assignment was to serve as teachers in India. Thailand was their next home. They started the Cooperative Outreach of India. In Singapore, Jack and Cathy worked with unreached people groups, including a partnership between North Carolina Baptist Men (NCBM) and Ladakh Medical Projects. Cathy directed the World A Resource Center at Gardner Webb University. Jack also served at the IMB in Richmond as an associate for East Asia. They later returned to and served in Thailand and India.
Jack has served on the board of directors of North Carolina Baptist Men (NCBM) as the state prayer coordinator and is currently the Region 9 director. Cathy presently serves as the state prayer coordinator. Her passion in sharing the importance of prayer is making a difference in all of the 18 NCBM ministries.
First Baptist Church in Black Mountain is their home church where they faithfully serve. They have three children and three grandchildren.
• Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center: Linwood L. Davis
Stand in Davis Memorial Chapel on the campus of Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center and you will see the stained glass above the side door. You will also see the crests of the Shore and Davis families, resting on the words from Jonah 24:15, “As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”
The touch of Linwood L. Davis’ hand can be seen in his thoughtful interest in the chapel’s daily operations, assuring sanctuary for patients, families and staff as they seek solace, wisdom and direction.
A senior partner in the law firm of Womble Carlyle Sandridge & Rice, LLP, Linwood recently completed his sixth term of office as a trustee of North Carolina Baptist Hospital, and is past chair of both the hospital and medical center boards. An active member of First Baptist Church in Winston-Salem, Linwood is a deacon and has served on and chaired multiple congregational committees. Linwood and his wife, Martha, have four children and seven grandchildren.
• Woman’s Missionary Union of North Carolina: Dorothy Barham
Dorothy Barham’s God-given passion for missions and prayer began when she was invited to a Woman’s Missionary Union (WMU) circle meeting. She was a young mother seeking the fellowship of other women, but God opened the world of missions, showing her a lost world needing to know Jesus Christ.
WMU has been the medium through which Dorothy has learned and participated in missions and prayer.
Praying for missions has led her to participate in mission trips that have taken her to 20 countries including the Ukraine, South Africa, Honduras, Canada, Myanmar, Lebanon, China and Armenia and on 19 mission trips within the United States.
Many of her mission trips have included opportunities to prayerwalk and lead prayer conferences and retreats for women, fulfilling her desire to teach women to pray for the lost where they live. “My life has been richer and fuller because of the influence of WMU, and I shall be eternally grateful,” she said. She has served WMU-NC on the executive board as well as leading training conferences and prayer retreats.
Dorothy has served and continues to serve in WMU leadership in Lillington Baptist Church and the Little River Baptist Association. She is the mother of three, grandmother of five and great-grandmother of three.