By BRENDA BARGER
Jane Ellithorpe was honored Wednesday morning with the G. Jackson Burney Community Service Award as the town recognized her lifetime of contributions to the town.
The 9 a.m. program held at the Davidson Town Hall began with music by the North Mecklenburg Moravian Band followed by a welcome from Mayor John Woods. Next Jerry Hancock spoke of the previous winners (Bernice Houston, W. B. Mayhew, Evelyn Carr, Baxter and John Fisher, Annie Mildred Lowery, Scotty Nicholls and John and Paula Kelton) before handing the microphone to Sam Maloney who talked about Jack Burney’s impact on the town. Sam also provided the background of the Burney award which was begun in 2004 by the WIMPS (We’re Intent on Making Progress Slowly) following Jack’s death. The Burney award has four goals: to honor Jack, to recognize the meritorious service of others, to unite our town in a positive way and to benefit local charities.
Speaking about Jane Ellithorpe’s life and devotion to art was Mayor Pro Tem Margo Williams. Jane and her husband, Chuck, moved to Davidson in 1975 and purchased “Hurricane Hill,” the former Concord Road home of Chalmers and Alice Davidson. Their children, Jennifer and Andy, grew up in our town but now have jobs they keep them in Charlotte and Atlanta respectively.
Jane began drawing at age five when rheumatic fever confined her to her house for a year. Her talent grew over the years and once in Davidson she decided to pursue watercolor painting only, because it dried fast and had no chemicals – a perfect combination with her then toddlers underfoot. Jane’s enthusiasm for nature and art has influenced many through Parks & Rec classes and volunteer instruction at area schools.
“Giving and sharing to spread joy” describes Jane perfectly. And to that end, Jane gave the monetary award (that comes with the Burney recognition) to Scott Misenheimer of the Davidson Police Department for the Police Christmas Fund. Sgt. Misenheimer has distributed gifts to needy families in our area for the past 10 years and expects this year’s list of recipients to top 50 – far ahead of last year’s 36 families. Jane also received a gift from another local artist: a beautiful wood turned bowl from Mike Goode (she’s holding the bowl in the photo at the top of this story).
The morning’s program ended with a Thanksgiving prayer of dismissal by the Rev. Darrell Van Pelt, of Davidson Presbyterian Church. Then it was time for the many friends of Jane as well as members of the late Jack Burney’s family to offer congratulations and enjoy refreshments in the Town Hall’s rotunda.
Indeed, this morning’s gathering to celebrate Jane and remember Jack Burney gave each of us one more reason to be thankful we live in Davidson.