A1 A1
Salvation Army of High Point reopens part of damaged facility

The Salvation Army of High Point has reopened a portion of its building, closed since Aug. 19 by flash-flood damage, to help families in need of financial and food assistance.

The Center of Hope Family Shelter remains closed as workers replace sheetrock, install new flooring, repair roof damage and paint.

At the 301 W. Green Drive family life center, food assistance is offered from 9 to 11:30 a.m. and 1:30 to 4 p.m. Monday through Thursday. Rent assistance will be offered Nov. 11 and 18, and utility assistance on Nov. 25.

For information on The Salvation Army of High Point’s emergency assistance programs, visit www.tsahighpoint.org or call 336-881-5400. Families seeking shelter assistance should contact Partners Ending Homelessness at 336-553-2715 or call United Way’s 2-1-1 line.

Photos: Salvation Army of High Point helping people again

After 69 years of marriage, Pearl and Eugene McMurray died just four days apart in separate facilities

GREENSBORO — From a room in a rehabilitation facility, she called his name. From a palliative care bed, he called her name.

Distance could not separate Pearl and Eugene McMurray.

Their decades-old marriage ended when the two died just four days apart in separate facilities.

Pearl Lee McCullough McMurray, 86, died on Oct. 30 at Shannon Gray Recovery Center in Jamestown. Her husband, Eugene McMurray Jr., 91, died Nov. 3 at Hospice of the Piedmont in High Point.

“Their love for God drew them closer together. And after 69 years of marriage, you can’t but not have that bond,” said Jean McMurray-Leake, the youngest of four McMurray children.

Pearl and Eugene lived about a block from each other in a neighborhood around Norwalk Street that was sometimes referred to as the Terra Cotta community because it was near the Pomona Terra Cotta Co. southwest of the city.

Eugene worked at the terra cotta plant after dropping out of 11th grade at Dudley High School to help support his family when his mother got sick.

The couple married soon after Pearl graduated from Dudley High School, having to go to South Carolina to do so because she was only 17. (Information has been corrected to fix an error. See correction at end of story. 9:30 a.m./Nov. 5, 2019)

Pearl went on to become a nurse. She later retired from the UNCG health center.

Pearl and Eugene worked hard to raise their kids Kenneth, Chrisanne, Renee and Jean. They rode the bus and caught rides from neighbors in their tight-knit community.

The family didn’t get their first car until the early 1970s. Jean remembers it was a brown 1969 Chevrolet.

“They didn’t have a lot, but they made sure we all got to go to college. They sacrificed a lot for us,” McMurray-Leake said.

At one point, Eugene worked three jobs to pay for college courses for his kids.

“We never knew the shape we were in because we thought we had it all,” McMurray-Leake said.

Eugene valued education, in part, because he didn’t get his own diploma.

But that changed in 2008, when his daughter Chrisanne Shelton wrote a letter to Dudley explaining the circumstances as to why her father had to leave Dudley and asking if the school would award him a degree.

The next year Dudley agreed. While four generations filled the family home on Swift Street, Eugene’s children surprised him with an official honorary degree from Dudley.

“We had a big celebration for him. We even got him a cap and gown,” McMurray-Leake said.

Even on fixed incomes, McMurray-Leake said her parents offered to help their grandkids with their educations.

Seven years ago, Eugene was diagnosed with cancer. Later, he had a risky operation to remove a burst tumor. He survived it all. Pearl was not so fortunate. A stroke in 2015 landed her at Shannon Gray. Eugene drove to the recovery center almost every day, sometimes staying at night. (Information has been corrected to fix an error. See correction at end of story. 9:30 a.m./Nov. 5, 2019)

“He would take her treats and brush her hair. He and my brother would sit there with her,” McMurray-Leake said.

But in May, the visits stopped when Eugene got sick and was hospitalized. He was admitted to Maple Grove Health and Rehabilitation Center. He spent the summer there, but in early October he was moved to Shannon Gray where Pearl was.

The reunion was short. Two weeks after arriving at Shannon Gray, Eugene developed pneumonia and was back in the hospital. The burden of sickness was too much. Eugene was moved to Hospice of the Piedmont in High Point where he died.

McMurray-Leake said her parents’ relationship was more than love.

“They didn’t just love each other, they liked each other,” she said.

The family will receive friends at noon with a service at 1 p.m. today at Trinity A.M.E. Zion Church at 631 E. Florida St.

Hargett Funeral Services is assisting the family.

Correction: Pearl Lee McCullough was a Dudley graduate when she married. She suffered a stroke in 2015. Information was wrong when the story first published at 9 p.m. Nov. 4, 2019.

Must Read

New recycling option: The city of Greensboro has added another glass-recycling drop-off location. A2

Another big grant for UNCG's SERVE Center: $15.6 million over five years will go toward helping schoolchildren in 3 states

GREENSBORO An education research center at UNCG will use a new multi-million-dollar federal grant to help schoolchildren in three southeastern states.

UNCG announced Monday that its SERVE Center was awarded a $15.6 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education to operate a regional education center for the next five years. This center will work with state education agencies, school districts and K-12 schools to improve student academic performance and close achievement gaps.

“We’re pretty excited about that work,” George Hancock, executive director of SERVE Center, said Monday. “This has been the kind of stuff that’s been on the front lines of what we’ve been doing.”

The Education Department is funding 19 regional centers and one national center through 2024. These centers will assist schools and school districts in all 50 states and the District of Columbia as well as U.S. territories and schools run by the Bureau of Indian affairs.

SERVE Center will oversee the Region 6 Comprehensive Center that covers North Carolina, and South Carolina and Georgia.

Hancock said SERVE Center will help coordinate efforts to address four main areas that many elementary and secondary schools are grappling with: low-performing schools; rural education, especially in areas where schools are struggling; the quality of teachers and principals; and school climate — that is, support for students and families.

SERVE Center will use the grant money to hire three state liaisons as well as a regional center co-director to work alongside Hancock. The grant money also will go to organizations that will provide training and other support services to state and local school systems.

The new project dovetails nicely with work that SERVE Center has done for years, Hancock said. SERVE Center has run the National Center for Homeless Education since 1998. It also works on projects aimed at helping children of migrants, youth in foster care and other low-income and disadvantaged students.

Operating a regional center on this scale, Hancock said, “is something we’ve been preparing for for a long time.”

In a statement, UNCG Chancellor Frank Gilliam said the grant will give UNCG a chance to make a significant impact on education in the Southeast.

“Our experience with innovative instruction and community engagement positions us well to shape the future of K-12 education and make positive, lasting change,” Gilliam said.

The federal grant announced Monday is the third in a series awarded to SERVE Center in recent months.

In July, the U.S. Department of Education awarded SERVE Center $5 million to assess the dual-enrollment programs that let North Carolina students earn college credit while they’re still enrolled in high school. The Education Department awarded SERVE Center a $6.2 million grant in September that will keep the National Center for Homeless Education at UNCG for another five years.

Speakers seek formal apology from Greensboro City Council for 1979 Greensboro Massacre

GREENSBORO — A day after the 40th anniversary of the Greensboro Massacre, some members of the Greensboro City Council said they have already apologized for the events that left five protestors dead.

Several speakers at the City Council’s regular monthly meeting for public comments challenged the council Monday night to apologize formally for the killings that some say could have been prevented by the police.

Speaker Marcus Hyde said the Greensboro Police Department was racist in 1979 and that the department is still racist.

He referred to the 2018 death of homeless man Marcus Smith after police hogtied his hands to his feet behind his back while in police custody. He said the police covered up that event and that they covered up their role in the events at Morningside Homes in 1979, when members of the Ku Klux Klan and American Nazi Party killed five anti-Klan marchers and wounded 10 others.

“Until there’s an admittance to what the city did, there is no justice, there is no peace,” Hyde said.

Hyde was one of several speakers who mentioned the Greensboro Massacre and criticized the council for not issuing a formal apology or for making inadequate apologetic comments. He mentioned that the council discussed the massacre in the days following a 2017 event in Charlottesville, Va., that left one protestor dead.

Councilwoman Sharon Hightower responded to Hyde’s charge: “Let me be clear — when I made that apology in 2017 it was sincere. I don’t open my mouth unless I believe what I say. I care about what happened 40 years ago when I was 19.”

Mayor Nancy Vaughan said, “there may be people out there who want to belittle what we said. We said what it meant to us. We gave a heartfelt apology to what those events meant to us and we apologized for the rift in our city.”

The meeting, held at Griffin Recreation Center in Councilwoman Tammi Thurm’s District 5, was one of the council’s rotating meetings designed to give greater access to residents in different parts of the city.

It was the first meeting since Mayor Nancy Vaughan introduced new rules for public speakers that barred them from talking about specific city employees or matters under litigation.

Several speakers pushed the boundaries of her rules, reading the names of police officers involved in the Marcus Smith death or talking about the lawsuit that Smith’s family filed against the city.

In one case, Vaughan attempted to rule a speaker out of order but — without a microphone — her voice was barely heard as the speaker talked through the public address system.

Speaker Billy Belcher said the mayor is trying to silence critics: “You complain to the press about the same issues being raised every month. I would be glad to leave you alone. I hate coming here. I don’t like public speaking.”

After Belcher asked several questions about the Smith case, Vaughan said, “We are not answering because it is in litigation — we are not going to discuss items that are in litigation.”

Aside from a few loud outbursts from members of an audience of about 50 people, no other interruptions were ruled out of order by the mayor and nobody was ejected from the meeting. In recent months a handful of audience members were removed for interrupting other speakers or council members.