FRIENDS OF THE NORTH CAROLINA ROOM BOARD MEMBERS 2017-2018
Nan Chase writes about architecture and design and is the author of Asheville: A History and several other books, including, most recently, Drink the Harvest. She has written for such publications as The New York Times, Washington Post, Southern Living, and Air & Space. Nan serves on the Historic Resources Commission of Asheville and Buncombe County. A long-time resident of western North Carolina, she now lives in central Asheville.
Jon Elliston is an Asheville-based journalist and historian. He’s co-author of North Carolina Curiosities (third and fourth editions) and senior editor of WNC magazine.
Roy Harris, Industrial Engineer, retired from Meritor Inc., is on the Board of Directors of the Y.M.I, and is a storyteller, being also on the Board of Directors and past President of the Asheville Storytelling Circle. Roy is from the eastern part of North Carolina and moved to Asheville in 1984. Green Opportunities (GO) honored Roy in 2016 as Volunteer of the Year, for his work as a regular volunteer and contributor to both Southside Kitchen and the Southside Community Garden. If you do so much as nod at Roy in passing on the street, he will ask you how your day is, and then he will ask you to tell him your story.
Louise Maret has worked as a researcher in primatology, botany, and public health. As a writer, she has been involved in several training and educational projects, most recently as co-author of a college-level humanities webtext. After living in New York, Ohio, Vermont, and Georgia, she moved to Asheville in 1988 and settled in Lakeview Park where she raised two children and a variety of plants and animals. While at Pack Library one day, she was searching for a bathroom and stumbled upon the NC Room—“where I became immediately entranced.”
Marla Hardee Milling is an Asheville native and 7th generation Buncombe County resident who loves writing about her hometown more than any other topic. Her fourth great grandfather, John Weaver, was one of the first settlers to the region. She’s a full-time freelance writer with more than 800 published articles/essays with her work appearing in Blue Ridge Countrymagazine, where she’s a long-time Contributing Editor, Capital at Play, WNC, Smoky Mountain Living, the Asheville Citizen-Times, Charleston, Denver, Luxury Living, NICHE, American Style, Parenting, Health, and many others. She’s also written three books, all published by Arcadia/The History Press: Only in Asheville: An Eclectic History (2015), Legends, Secrets and Mysteries of Asheville (2017) and Wicked Asheville (2018).
She previously spent 10 years as a News Producer at WLOS-TV (ABC affiliate) in Asheville, N.C., and six years as Director of Communications at Mars Hill College (now University) in Mars Hill, N.C. She grew up in the Skyland area of south Buncombe County, where she graduated from T.C. Roberson High School. She went on to receive a Bachelor’s degree in Communications with a minor in Political Science from the University of North Carolina at Asheville. She lives in north Asheville with her two children, Ben and Hannah.
Joe Newman is a retired educator living happily in North Asheville. A native of Decatur, Georgia, he received a B.A. in English Literature from Emory University. After teaching high school English in the Gwinnett County, Georgia, public schools, he did graduate studies at Georgia State University and received a Ph.D. in Educational Foundations with a concentration in the History of American Education. Joe taught for 29 years in the College of Education at the University of South Alabama and stayed busy with teaching, research, and professional associations. In 2006 he and his wife Wanda retired to Asheville, where both took active roles in the Montford Neighborhood Association. Joe served for six years as editor of the Montford Newsletter, a job that has led to collaborating with Zoe Rhine and others on a variety of local history projects. Most recently he worked on the successful campaign to rename the Montford Recreation Center for Tempie Avery, the freed slave who became one of Asheville’s most esteemed nurses and midwives.
Lynne Poirier-Wilson is a retired Museum Curator and Administrator who has worked in museums in eastern PA and western NY. She moved to Asheville in 2000 and took a part-time job as a Curator with the Asheville Art Museum curating exhibitions that explore both art and culture history. Lynne has served on the board of the Swannanoa Valley Museum, and volunteers for the Asheville Art Museum and for the North Carolina Collection. She and her husband Jim live in North Asheville.
Lynne was volunteering in the North Carolina Room for about three years when, while scanning one of many boxes of postcards, she said, “I’ll be dead before I get through these postcards!” That was the seed for her idea to begin a Friends of the North Carolina Room, which would hopefully bring in more volunteers. Lynne royally carried the charge of Board president from the formation of the board in 2014 through March 2018. The NC Room staff and board members are grateful for her guidance and for the creation of such an amazing group of people. Lynne continues to serve on the board but was ready to take a side seat and let someone else do the heavy lifting.
Terry Taylor is as close to a native as one can be without being born in a Buncombe County hospital. His grandparents and parents both hail from the Billy Cove in Candler and the Big Sandy Mush community. He’s lived in the mountains of WNC since 1964 except for a decade in Durham County’s rolling piedmont. After careers in special education and craft book publishing (both authoring and editing), he earned a diploma in Jewelry from the Professional Crafts Program at Haywood Community College. He lives and has a studio just outside of Asheville’s city limits.
Jan came to Asheville in 1991 with her recently acquired Bachelor’s Degree, 1984 Ford Bronco, and fiance. After a few months of decorating Christmas trees for places like the Blake House and some private Biltmore Forest homes, she moved on to the Grove Park Inn as a Front Desk agent. Three months later she was offered a position as an Admission Counselor at WWC. Most recently, she has worked at the Biltmore Estate as a harvest worker and now as a wine server…while enrolled in two graduate programs (the MLIS Program at UNCG and the Museum Studies Program at Harvard-both online of course).
Jan’s love of history didn’t just begin one day with a book or favorite teacher. It’s always been there, and it’s always been a struggle because no one in her family likes talking about the past, theirs or otherwise. This made Jan all the more determined to ask other relatives what they knew. Stories of moonshine and turpentine were prominent on her Dad’s side, but then her Mom’s Aunt Kitty gave her a family tree, and she’s been looking back at that tree, and making new discoveries ever since. Planning a trip to England in 2006, she decided to find some of those ancestors herself, and now she brakes for graveyards and historical markers pretty much wherever she goes. Now a member of the American Association of Professional Genealogists, she began Look Homeward Ancestry in September, and is currently working on the Irish immigrant Ancestors of her first client. A trip to Ireland seems to be the only solution.
Married nearly 23 years. Two daughters at AC Reynolds HS, Abby and Callie. I play golf and I play at gardening. I’m an Aquarius.
Tammy Young is a Buncombe County native. With a matriarchal family line that extends into the 18th century, she has deep roots in western North Carolina. Tammy spent 30+ years as a public school media coordinator (aka librarian) working in Stanly County and Buncombe County, NC middle and high schools. Tammy’s experiences led her to coach and judge History Day competitions at regional, state and national levels. With a BS degree in educational media and a M Ed, her background as an educator and teacher of teachers has been the center of her career. Tammy has served as a Master Teacher while working with the National Endowment for the Humanities summer institute, Power of Place: Lands and Peoples in Appalachia. Tammy lives in Swannanoa and enjoys part-time work as a BCPL substitute and BC Schools substitute.
The first board met December 17, 2013. Meetings are held every other month on the third Wednesday.
Past Board Members of the Friends of the North Carolina Room 2014-2017.
David Dry is a history instructor at Asheville-Buncombe Technical Community College where he teaches American and World History. He has most recently written daily “On this day in Asheville history” articles for the Asheville Citizen-Times and runs the “Asheville History” twitter account @avlhistory. He lives in Weaverville. In May 2018 David resigned from the board to move to Chapel Hill not only to be with his wife, but also to begin studies for a doctorate in Native Americans, looking at the late 19th and 20th century history of the Ottawa Tribe of Oklahoma. David is an enrolled member of the tribe and can vote in tribal elections. David was a “tall” asset to our board of the Friends, especially with his help kicking off our Asheville’s Gay Community project with his history students, and also in planning our programs on Asheville’s Confederate Monuments.
Phyllis Lang is a writer, editor, researcher, and video producer. She moved to Asheville in 1979 and during the 1980s edited “The Arts Journal,” a local magazine that covered visual, literary, and performing arts in North Carolina. In the 1990s she taught in the Mass Communication Department at UNC Asheville and retired in 2000. Her research interests have included the James Patton family, West Asheville, local churches, travel diaries, and family histories—her own as well as other people’s stories. She lives on Butler Mountain with husband Wayne.
Founding Board member, Phyllis regretfully resigned from the board in September 2017.
Peggy Gardner has worked on many photographic, archival and museum collections in WNC, and also at the Prints and Photographs Division of the Library of Congress and the South Caroliniana Library in Columbia. A native of Asheville, she is grateful to have been mentored by two of the Library’s staunchest supporters of local history, Mary Parker and Anthony Lord.
Founding board member, Peggy, hopefully temporarily resigned from the board when her family moved to Columbia, SC.
Michael Reid is a retired Graphic Designer who splits his time between Asheville and a home in Chicago. His career started in a university library and media production center in Wisconsin while in graduate school. Gravitating to advertising and marketing, he operated his own design firm in Chicago for twenty-five years. An inveterate collector, he shares strong interests in 19th century photography, 20th century American painting and architectural history.