Table of Contents June 2013
Patricia Queen stirs potato soup. At the church dinner tonight, tables will sag beneath fried chicken, casseroles, pies and other dishes. After the blessing, members will sit elbow- to-elbow, eating and discussing who’s ailing and who has traded pickup trucks. Most had family in this part of rural Rutherford County when Union Mills Presbyterian Church was founded in 1905. “My husband, Tom, and I are probably the only ones in the congregation not kin to each other,” she says, laughing.
A few years ago, a new minister came to the church. She was a lay pastor, unordained but persuasive. Backlit by rays shining through a crucifixion scene in the stained-glass window behind the pulpit, she wove soulful personal anecdotes into her sermons. Once, she inspired Queen to ride a bicycle 32 miles in a charity fundraiser. “Believe me,” Queen says, “I am not an athlete.”
Trim and smartly dressed, Sharon Decker was a middle-age mother of four, but it wasn’t hard to picture her when she had been Miss Ashbrook High School ’75 or, three years later, Miss Gastonia. “My children are horrified at the thought of me parading in a swimsuit,” she joked to the congregation. She had been a corporate star in Charlotte but, at 41, left for little Rutherfordton, just down the road from Union Mills, to be president of a women’s apparel company and, later, of its parent. But throughout her career, something else kept calling, so the Baptist minister’s daughter finally decided to follow her father’s footsteps.
Late last year, she had nearly completed her master’s in divinity with plans to be a university chaplain. Then, three days after Christmas, a car slowly rolled up the driveway to her house, with its panoramic view of Chimney Rock. Pat McCrory was at the wheel. They’ve known each other more than 30 years, since both were young executives at Duke Power Co. “She’s dynamic, she’s smart, she has extremely good business experience,” he says. “And, last but not least, there are her values.” When he sent word he had a job for her, she declined, so he had driven 70 miles from Charlotte to plead in person.
Feat of clay
It’s the pits: Lee Brick continues to be a major supplier.
Hugh Perry’s consortium wasn’t the first to make brick in Lee County. Both Sanford Brick Corp. and Borden Brick and Tile Co. had laid their foundations by 1951, when Perry and 10 Sanford businessmen got in on the post-World War II housing boom. But while others have exhausted their on-site shale, Lee Brick & Tile Co.’s is holding out fine — it will make about 40 million bricks this year. “Don’t worry,” says Mike Lilly, manufacturing vice president. “There’ll be plenty left when I retire. And I’m in my 50s.”
How the economy turns.
John Hood — Free & Clear
Expirations on regulations.
Scott Mooneyham — Capital Goods
Sweepstakes industry pays to play.