Nancy Stroupe Morrison, Dr. Charles Baker Inducted Into Avery Hall of Legends

Published Tuesday, September 15, 2015 at 10:52 am
Several images from the Hall of Legends event recognizing Nancy Stroupe Morrison and Dr. Charles Baker

Several images from the Hall of Legends event recognizing Nancy Stroupe Morrison and Dr. Charles Baker

By Jesse Wood

The 2015 Martha Guy Hall of Legends inductees – Nancy Stroupe Morrison (for stewardship) and Dr. Charles Baker (for medicine) – were celebrated at the Hugh Chapman Center for Families in Avery County over the weekend.

The Hall of Legends celebrates citizens of Avery County that have made a significant impact in the community throughout the years.

The 2015 Hall of Legends Committee consists of Marilyn Ball, David Burleson, Rachel Deal, Brenda Hoss, Babette McAuliffe, Nancy Stroupe Morrison, Trey Oakley and John Phillips.

David Burleson, who is the Avery County Schools superintendent, led off the night with opening remarks and also introduced Morrison, while Carmen Lacey introduced Baker.

Burleson’s opening speech focused on the characteristics of a “genuine leader” – positivity, enthusiasm, and a commitment to others and working together – not just when it is convenient.

See Morrison’s and Burleson’s remarks below:

Burleson’s Opening Speech

I. Introduction

  1. I want to thank you for coming out today and helping to celebrate two of Avery County’s outstanding citizens.

III.  Characteristics of a “GENUINE” Legend – In our society where most everything is synthetic (butter that has never seen a cow, honey that has never seen a bee, and eggs that have never seen a chicken), it is refreshing to know that we have people who are GENUINE.

Have a positive attitude.

  1. Can be your greatest weakness and your most serious liability. Positive people are positive because they choose to be.

“Your attitude determines your action. Your action determines your accomplishment.” – John Maxwell

Our lives are not determined by what happens to us but by how we react to what happens, not by what life brings to us, but by the attitude we bring to life.” –Anonymous

Individuals with Character

  1. Model those positive traits we want to see in our young people.

People we want our children to grow up and model themselves after

“We make a living by what we get, we make a life by what we give.” — Winston Churchill

Individuals who Are Committed to Others

  1. Don’t do anything half heatedly.
  2. Have a habit of focusing on the vital activities.
  3. Never give up and finish each task you start. “Winners never quit and quitters never win.

“You give but little when you give of your possessions. It is when you give of yourself that you truly give.” (Lebanese poet Kahlil Gibran)

Individuals who understand that we must work together and support each other

  1. Be willing to help others, even when it is not convenient


FACT: As each bird flaps its wings, it creates an “uplift” for the bird immediately following.  By flying in a “V” formation, the whole flock has at least 71% greater flying range than if each bird flew on it’s own. When a goose flies out of formation, it suddenly feels the drag and resistance of trying to go it alone.  It quickly gets back into formation to take advantage of the lifting power of the bird in front of it.

When the lead goose gets tired, it rotates back into the formation, and another goose flies to the point position. The geese flying in formation honk from behind to encourage those up front to keep up their speed. When a goose gets sick, wounded, or shot down, two other geese will drop out of formation with that goose and follow it down to lend help and protection.  They stay with the fallen goose until it dies or is able to fly again.  Then, they launch out on their own, or with another formation to catch up with their flock.


Enthusiastic people encourage everyone around them.

Nothing great was every achieved without enthusiasm. — Ralph Waldo Emerson

Enthusiasm is contagious

One Last Thought

“Successful is the person who has lived well, laughed often and loved much, who has gained the respect of children, who leaves the world better than they found it, who has never lacked appreciation for the earth’s beauty, who never fails to look for the best in others or give the best of themselves.”

Thank you for what you do and may God bless you.

Burleson’s Remarks About Morrison

  • Introduction
    1. Little Girl and Picture of God
    2. Three names I was normally in big trouble.
    3. Renaissance Woman
  • Proud Linage
    1. Daughter of the late Odes and Nancy Stroupe of Crossnore, NC. Her mother was a longtime English and Latin teacher in Avery County. Her father was Nationwide Insurance Company’s first field underwriter in the nation.
    2. Nancy graduated from Newland High School in 1962, where she was valedictorian of her class and also head cheerleader for three of her four years of high school cheerleading.
    3. Starting her editorial career early, she was both editor-in-chief and business manager of her high school yearbook during her senior year.
    4. She also worked on both her high school and college newspapers.
    5. Nancy has a background in social work and psychology, graduating from St. Andrews College in Laurinburg, NC with a degree in psychology and sociology.
    6. She did her graduate work at the University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill.
  • Productive Life
    1. She worked as a social worker with child welfare and general cases with the Department of Social Services in Scotland County, as a counselor at the Robeson County Mental Health Center in Lumberton, NC and then was senior therapist at the Alcoholic Rehabilitation Center in Butner, NC.
    2. Nancy was director of therapeutic services and later director of the long-term unit at the Charlotte Detoxification Center where she designed the program, obtained the grant, and won a number of state and local awards for the innovative program.
    3. After being held at knifepoint overnight by a patient the police had not frisked sufficiently, Nancy decided her job was getting a bit dangerous, so she opened an entertainment and events booking agency in Charlotte and, together with her husband, bandleader Jerry Goodman, arranged events all over the east coast for 25 years.
    4. She was on a committee that helped bring the Hornets to Charlotte and also helped establish the Charlotte Business Journal.
    5. During that period, she designed a quilt square that became part of the celebrated “Sea to Shining Sea” Quilt Banner for the Statue of Liberty Bicentennial Celebration and now resides in the National Museum of Folk Art in New York City.
    6. Nancy and Jerry’s daughter, Danica Goodman, was born in 1982.
    7. In 1992, Nancy’s mother died from heart catheterization complications. Her father cried for a week and then suffered a major stroke that paralyzed him on one side. Nancy cared for him in Charlotte until he begged her to take him back to his beloved Avery County. They moved back in 1994.
    8. After helping a friend, Jack Kiker, at the Nationwide Agency in Newland, Nancy saw an advertisement for a general manager for the Avery Mountain Times, applied, and started on a new career path.
    9. Nancy was associated with newspapers in the High Country for more than 10 years, heading the Avery Mountain Times for several years and then becoming publisher/editor of the Avery Journal in 2002.
    10. In 2003, the Avery Journal and the Avery Mountain Times were merged into the Avery Journal-Times with Nancy as the publisher/editor.
    11. She added All About Women to her responsibilities when she became publisher of that magazine in 2008.
    12. When Nancy retired as publisher of the Avery Journal-Times in 2010, she decided to concentrate on a career in a field she has always enjoyed: ART!
    13. She is building a reputation with her work now in galleries and homes from coast to coast.
    14. She is also an excellent writer, potter, and jewelry craftsperson.
    15. Since she is on so many boards and committees, she is constantly being asked to do articles for various publications, so she keeps her writing skills finely tuned.
    16. She is presently working on a self-help book and a couple of novels.
    17. She enjoys public speaking and emcees many local events.
    18. She is occasionally asked to speak on conservative topics at local political functions by groups who enjoyed her weekly newspaper columns.
    19. Recently, an independent candidate running for President asked her to be his campaign manager for North and South Carolina!
    20. Nancy is married to Bruce Morrison, who owns and publishes Running Journal, a running magazine that covers the southeast.
    21. Bruce is a stockholder and serves on the board of directors of Jones Media, a newspaper conglomerate based in Greeneville, TN, that owns the Avery Journal-Times, the Watauga Democrat, and the various Mountain Times
    22. He is also a huge Detroit Tigers fan!
    23. Nancy’s daughter, Danica Goodman, is a graphic designer and digital restorationist who created the last two Avery County Chamber directories.
    24. She compiled a video history for the town of Crossnore with over 80 hours of taped interviews of the longtime residents, which is a wonderful legacy for the future.
    25. She is a strong advocate for the health benefits of a plant-based diet.
    26. Danica and Avery County Sheriff Kevin Frye recently won the Dancing With The Stars fundraiser competition sponsored by the Williams YMCA.
    27. Nancy now divides her time between her home in her beloved Avery County and Greeneville where her husband has his base of operations.
    28. She is an animal lover and has a number of cats and dogs, including her special silver Persians, Jaspurr and Purrsy.
    29. Never is there a dull moment in Nancy’s busy life.
    30. Although her favorite times are those when she is working toward achieving goals alongside her dear friends, or spending time with her family, perhaps no other time is quite as rewarding as are the moments when she is able to let her imagination roam freely.
  • Perpetual Legacy
    1. Nancy was the primary person involved in raising $26,000 to purchase two K-9 units for the Avery County Sheriff’s Office, which included training for dogs and handlers, equipment for K-9 patrol cars, food, and medical services for the dogs.
    2. She won the NC Press Association’s Community Service Award for her six-month newspaper campaign to raise money.
    3. She used her newspaper as a force to keep groups in Avery County in compliance with the “sunshine laws,” the NC state public records and open meeting laws, thereby changing the way some groups conducted their business.
    4. Nancy was the primary test case for the NC Journalist’s Shield Law, which allows journalists to conceal their sources. The lawyer for the NC Press Association worked with Nancy’s Watauga and Avery lawyers to use this law as a defense to keep from revealing confidential sources in a high profile corruption case.
    5. She received the NC Press Association’s Investigative Reporting Award for her investigating and reporting of corruption in government in Avery County.
    6. NC State Senator Stan Bingham, District 33, had withdrawn his NC Constitutional Amendment that would prevent convicted felons from running for sheriff. Nancy called him and spent most of two days talking him into reintroducing the bill. He did so and the “No Felons For Sheriff” bill was put on the state ballot and passed. Bingham called Nancy and told her she was responsible for the bill’s passage because he had given up on it before she called him.
    7. She designed the current woolly worm used in the Avery Chamber and the Woolly Worm Festival Committee’s promotions. She also designed the logos for the High Country Tolley Wine Tour, the Avery County Beer and Wine Festival, and the Hall of Legends.
    8. She spearheaded efforts to form a citizens’ committee to promote a drug court and a liaison between residents and law enforcement officials to alleviate the drug problem in Avery County. As a result, the Drug Abuse Resolution Team was formed and, eventually, both Avery and Watauga counties got Drug Treatment Courts. She still serves as chairman of D.A.R.T.
    9. She received the Distinguished Service Award for her service to the people of Avery County from the Mayland Community College Board of Trustees.
    10. She was the Avery County Chamber of Commerce’s Woman of the Year in 2013. In 2010, the Avery Chamber gave her the Outstanding Service Award.
    11. Nancy has also received Best Column awards and others from the NC Press Association.
    12. She and her husband Bruce are advisors to the Grandfather Mountain Highland Games. Nancy has worked hard to promote these local games. For many years, she personally provided 500 ten-page children’s passbook coloring books for the Games.

Local Boards and Civic Organizations

  • Avery County Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors (currently president)
  • Woolly Worm Festival Committee
  • MAY (Mitchell, Avery, Yancey) Coalition Board of Directors (currently president)
  • Drug Abuse Resolution Team (D.A.R.T.) (founding executive chairman and current chairman)
  • Newland High School Alumni Association (founding and past president)
  • Newland Business Association (past president)
  • Avery County Arts Council Board of Directors
  • Avery County Community Foundation Board of Directors
  • Williams YMCA of Avery County Board of Directors
  • Grandfather Mountain Highland Games –Advisor
  • Banner Elk Kiwanis
  • AMY (Avery County) Library Board of Directors
  • AMY Regional Library Board of Directors
  • Crossnore Community Enhancement Committee
  • Newland Centennial Committee
  • Avery County Centennial Committee
  • Martha Guy Hall of Legends of Avery County
  • Avery County Humane Society Board of Directors
  1. Closing – (Be like Rachel) Sooner or later I’m going to die, but I’m not going to retire.” –Margaret Mead, American cultural anthropologist

Lacey’s Remarks About Baker

It is such an honor to be asked to present this award to Charlie Baker.   I have known Charlie for over 30 years now – as a physician, as a co-worker and as a friend.

So let me tell you a little bit about this amazing man.

Charlie grew up in Charlotte and went to Myers Park High School. He graduated from Davidson College, then went to Chapel Hill to medical school – and apparently spent his spare time there writing poetry in the creative writing department.

He and Ann, the love of his life, were married in 1972 in Edinburgh, Scotland, where they were both in school. This past week they celebrated their 43rd anniversary. He and Ann recently went back to Edinburgh, as well as to Ireland, where he proposed!

After medical school, Charlie spent 2 years in the Indian Health Service on the Pine Ridge Sioux Reservation in South Dakota.   There is where he grew to love family medicine and taking care of whatever walked in the door next – trauma, obstetrics, pediatrics, geriatrics, and everything in between!

Charlie and Ann had always planned to settle in the North Carolina Mountains to raise their family. After living and training in Vermont, Charlotte and Pittsburg, Charlie visited Crossnore and Sloop Memorial Hospital. He fell in love with the community and the kindred spirit of the hospital. Charlie and Ann raised their 3 children, Daniel, Alice and Kate in the Crossnore community.

Charlie is board certified in both Family Practice and Pediatrics and brought this expertise to our community in 1979.  He has delivered over 2000 babies and helped establish the first “birthing rooms” in western NC at Sloop Memorial.   News of these family centered birthing rooms spread and women from the surrounding counties came to Sloop Memorial to experience, what was then, considered an alternative style of delivery. Charlie has been the only board certified pediatrician in the state who has delivered his own pediatric patients! Charlie indicates that it has been a privilege to be involved in family health care from birth until death. Knowing all of the family – from infants/children health, to struggling adults balancing it all, to aging grandparents is a rare a valued experience. He says, “It’s like the front office is scheduling my friends to visit with me all day long”.

Charlie has always been physically active. For many years, he was a runner – until foot surgery slowed him down. When than happened, he became a cyclist and on any given Thursday, you might see him out on a long ride somewhere in the county. He indicates that exercise has been the key to both his physical and mental health. I can attest that when he does not get in his dose of endorphins, he is a little less pleasant to be around.

When Charlie moved to the area, he found a group of kindred spirits at the Outward Bound School at Table Rock. As a result, he has been their medical director, advisor and “doc on call” for the past 3 ½ decades.

So what has Charlie done for healthcare in Avery County? I guess the better question would be “what hasn’t he done?”.  He has served on the board of directors for Sloop Memorial Hospital, Cannon Memorial Hospital and Appalachian Regional Healthcare System. This assures us that our community has a voice in healthcare decisions that impact us. He was instrumental in seeing that the YMCA was established in our County and continues to sit on the Y Board of Directors. He is the physician advisor for the Avery County School Health Nurses and sits on the School Health Advisory Committee. He is the medical director for the Avery County Health Department. For the past 30 years, he has been on the Avery County Child Protection Team reviewing all child abuse cases. Charlie saw the growing need for primary care physicians in the county – hence the Baker Center for Primary Care, which now has 4 physicians, 3 nurse practitioners, and 1 nurse midwife.

Charlie has been a huge part of medical education for UNC’s medical school. His office has been one of 5 full time family practice teaching sites for the school. His office is popular with students and his students have consistently given their educational experiences with him high ratings.

The University has twice honored him when students have voted him “best preceptor.” Charlie enjoys having students with him – he loves teaching them how to listen, touch, diagnose and treat a myriad of health issues.

So let me tell you what I know about him personally.

He is an advocate. He not only advocates for his patients, but for the staff too. He and I were with a laboring mother. He had just finished examining her and had given me a verbal order to get her something for her pain. I was finishing up cleaning up after the exam and the mother screamed something not so nice to me because she wanted her medication immediately. He got down in her face and said “listen, you can talk to me any way that you want. But, you will not disrespect the nursing staff in that manner. Do you understand?”.   Now let me tell you, talking down a laboring mother is not easy, but once you’re caught in the

He loves this community – he genuinely cares about the health of our community.   This is evidenced by all the work that he has done to improve it! He will be the first to tell you that he was not a big proponent of technological advances like “cell phones” and electronic medical records. I remember looking at the window at Sloop memorial and seeing that telephone antennae on the top of Charlie’s champagne (pink) truck for the first time. My goodness – Charlie Baker with a portable phone – the world must be spinning off its axis.   But he saw that it could make him more accessible for his patients, so he bit the bullet and moved with the times.

He is strong.   Physical strength aside, he has a great emotional strength. Change in healthcare is a given. However the ACA is changing the landscape of healthcare as we know it. Charlie recognizes this and is positioning the Baker Center to meet this change.

He is smart. Ann says that he spends his time at home reading up on current medical information.   His vacations often coincide with some continuing medical education offering. I can’t ever remember having ask a question that he didn’t provide a well read response to!

He is loved – by his friends, by his co-workers and by the community.

Charlie could have settled anywhere and had great success.   I for one am grateful that he chose to settle here and provide us with the highest standard of healthcare.

Mother Teresa said: “I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the waters to create many ripples.”

Charlie has cast the stone.  I am grateful, and I believe that future generations will be grateful, that he did. We as a community are responsible for ensuring that the ripples he started continue to have an impact into the future.

I present to you 2015 Hall of Legends Inductee, Charlie Baker. 


Ann and Charles Baker


Nancy and Bruce Morrison


Nancy Morrison makes some remarks after her recognition.


Charlie Baker makes some remarks after his recognition.


Baker memories.


Nancy Stroupe Morrison is quite the artist.


Stroupe family memories.


A list of all the inductees into the Marth Guy Hall of Legends.


Avery County Schools Supt. David Burleson gave opening remarks and also introduced Nancy Morrison to the audience.



Privacy Policy | Rights & Permissions | Discussion Guidelines

Website Management by Outer Banks Media