JONESVILLE — The Jonesville Historical Society recognizes individuals who have made notable contributions to the town’s history and heritage each year, and four were honored at the recent Jonesville Jubilee.
Dr. Evan Ballard, Leon Reece, Dr. Bill Blackley and Dr. Judy Wolfe were honored for their service, contribution and leadership in the town of Jonesville.
Wolfe, Jonesville Historical Society chair, explained how Duke-trained physician Ballard opened the Jonesville Family Medical Center making medicine accessible to thousands over a period of time in the community. After 35 years, Ballard, she said, is still going strong at the medical center and continuously strives to make the center easily accessible.
She said, “The Jonesville Family Medical Center has always taken an active role in the community, providing team physicians for Starmount sports. Dr. Evan Ballard served as a Jonesville town commissioner for two years and has served as chief of staff at Hugh Chatham Memorial Hospital.”
Reece was honored as a man who will long be remembered for his musical talent and community service. Reece was born in Jonesville, the eighth of nine children and the last to be born at the Reece homeplace on Swan Creek Road.
After graduation from Jonesville High in 1956, Reece attended Emmanuel College in Franklin Springs, Georgia. He served in the U.S. Army as a public information officer and later in the Army Reserves as a drill sergeant. He enjoyed a local career in radio broadcasting, as announcer and owner of local radio station WIFM, selling it after 40 years. Wolfe said he is a community leader and is known also for his singing ability in church and the Foothills Summer Theatre. Reece has served on the Jonesville Historical Committee since its inception, as host, emcee, performer and coordinator of the annual Talent Show.
Blackley was honored as another Duke-trained founding partner in the Jonesville Family Medical Center, where he became director of the Elkin Family Practice. In addition to his work in medicine, Blackley was recognized as an accomplished poet. He is the former president of the North Carolina Poetry Association and was called a “fine teller of tales, a chef and a virtuoso on the harmonica.” He is an Eagle Scout and a life member of the Order of the Arrow. His poems have been published in several periodicals, including Southern Accent. Some of poetry was inspired by his two tours of duty in Vietnam, where he received numerous medals, including two for valor, said Wolfe.
Blackley also was honored for his “untiring work and leadership in helping make North Carolina’s Mountain-to-Sea Trail a reality in the Yadkin Valley.”
Finally, Wolfe was recognized for her tireless work in the Jonesville Historical Society, her promotion and advancement of the Jonesville Jubilee. Among many other accomplishments, Wolfe has assembled and put on display the most historical memorabilia collection ever assembled in Jonesville history.
Utilizing a grant written by Wolfe, the Park and Veterans Monument were accented with eight historical markers, each telling a story from Jonesville’s past. She wrote the grant application that produced the million dollars to transform the Jonesville Speedway into the Lila Swaim Memorial Park where the Jonesville Jubilee is held.