On Saturday, Oct. 5, Faison will celebrate the 10th Annual Market Day. During the opening ceremony at 11 a.m. organizers will recognize “the five Bills” as honorees: Fesperman, Hennessee, Igoe, Lewis, and Williams. Street dance with John Moore will be from 5 until 7 p.m.
Between now and Market Day we want to share “More about Bill”.
In 1964, a young Bill Hennessee came to Faison as temporary manager of Cates Pickle Company, after serving a tour in the United States Air Force. A year later his wife Bobbie and their six children, Noleen, Sharon, Ronnie, Lester, Sandy and David followed Bill to Faison and moved into a newly constructed home. Although the major stockholder Odell Hawkins sent Bill to Faison on a short term assignment, Bill’s success at the pickle plant and his love for the community turned a temporary job into a life time commitment. During his 33-year tenure, Cates Pickles flourished and Bill became a deeply loved and highly respected leader in the community and surrounding area. Along with a demanding business career and family life, Bill found time to be involved in church, community health and all levels of education, using both his talents and financial resources.
When the Duplin County Hospital Foundation was organized to save the financially unsuccessful hospital, Bill Hennessee served on the board that spearheaded the plans and efforts of the group. Their work culminated in a revitalized and financially secure hospital in Duplin County.
For a number of years during an important period, Bill Hennessee served as a member of the Mt. Olive Family Medical Center Board of Directors. It was during this time that the Medical Center moved from being a private institution to being a public one and Bill contributed valued leadership to this transition.
Bill took an active part in the Duplin County Education Foundation, assisting Austin Carter in getting it established and into operation. Even today he and his wife fund four scholarships — one going to a North Duplin Junior Senior High School student, and the other three going to students from the other county high schools.
Another educational pursuit has been serving for 14 years on the board of trustees for Mt. Olive College. Because he believed so strongly in what this college means to students in the area he has worked tirelessly giving his time and financial resources for the schools. In appreciation to Bill and Bobbie, Dr. Burkette Raper, president of the college at the time, named a room, the Hennessee Room in the Lois K. Murphy Regional Center in their honor.
Bill worked diligently in the Faison Presbyterian Church; serving as an elder, clerk of session, chair of committees, and Sunday school teacher. He was chosen by the Presbytery of Coastal Carolina to represent the Presbytery at its week-long General Assembly held 2003 in Denver Colorado.
For many years Bill Lewis was well known as the proprietor of the “Culture Club” by his friends and called the Bill Lewis shop by the general public. Not only has his shop been a great place for friends to visit and solve all the problems of the world, it was a place where Bill could fix most anything and build his famous big black pig cookers. He is also known as the vintner of Marlboro Vineyard and loves to share his wine creations.
Bill grew up in the Faison United Methodist Church, Just as his parents before him, he continues to serve his church as an active member.
Bill likes for everyone to be happy. When someone gets upset his motto is “Everything will be alright.” It is this attitude that has served him well whether it was when he served in the Korean war or taught mechanics at North Duplin High School. His enthusiasm and support of the Faison Lions Club for many years earned him the high honor of receiving the Melvin Jones Fellow Award, the Lions Club International’s award for humanitarian work.
Bill married Anne Moore from Turkey. They are the proud parents of Doug Lewis, John Lewis and Carol Lewis Poortvliet and boost six grandchildren and one great grandchild.
In the town of Faison you will often hear someone tell of Bill’s kindness and generosity which was shown to them, but you will never hear it from Bill. He just goes around quietly helping friends neighbors and total strangers. He is a true example of the poem that says, “Let me live in the house by the side of the road and be a friend to man.”