Ralph Ketner, philanthropist and long-time LGBT supporter died on May 29. Photo Credit: Diedre Laird, The Charlotte Observer

Community mourns Ketner

SALISBURY, N.C. — Philanthropist and long-time LGBT supporter Ralph Ketner, 95, died on May 29.

A former owner and founder of Food Lion, Ketner had a “profound and lasting impact” on the grocery industry,” The Charlotte Observer reported.

“He has left a tremendous legacy not only at Food Lion, but through his philanthropy and kindness in the Salisbury community as a whole…,” Food Lion shared in a statement. “Our associates adored and respected him, and we will miss him dearly.”

“In December 1957, Ketner, his brother Brown Ketner and Wilson Smith started Food Town in Salisbury [which was renamed Food Lion]. He once said he and his co-founders tracked down their first 125 investors in the Salisbury phone book,” the Observer added.

Ketner came up with a way to cut prices on groceries and revolutionized an industry, gambling on increased sale volume to nullify “razor-thin profit margins.”

His “lowest food prices in North Carolina” or “LFPINC” made a company that began with investments of less than $100, rising to a value in the millions and then over a 25-year period hit $7.2 billion.

Upon his retirement, Ketner served at the Ketner School of Business at Catawba College as an adjunct professor. He was also a philanthropist who contributed 35 percent of net worth to various charities over the years, the Observer reported. He was the recipient of a number of awards and was the subject of several magazine articles.

A funeral was held on June 5 at Catawba College with private burial afterward.

He is survived by a daughter, Linda Ketner, of Charleston, S.C.; a son, Robert (Leslie) Ketner of Greensboro, N.C.; grandchildren Robert (Rebecca) Ketner Jr. of Winston-Salem, N.C., Andrew Ketner of New York, N.Y., Margaux Ketner of Philadelphia, Pa., and Madeline Ketner of Greensboro; sisters Virginia Petty of Greensboro, N.C., and Dorothy Swing of Salisbury, N.C.; former wives, Ruth Hope (mother of his children) of Georgetown, S.C. and Anne Ketner of Salisbury, N.C.; multiple nieces and nephews; and in-laws Wayne and Claudette Jones, and, Gary and Cathy Boggs all of Faith, N.C.

[Ed. Note: Daughter Linda Ketner founded Alliance for Full Acceptance in Charleston, S.C., and was a former Democratic nominee for Congress, among other civic and professional contributions. After struggling for over 30 years with her sexuality, she came out and became an advocate for the LGBT community. Her father was supportive of her and was a large contributor toward Salisbury Pride’s annual festival.]

info: charlotte.com.

ASO seeks funds, support

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Different Roads Home, 2320 N. Davidson St., has launched its Good Road Society in an effort to raise needed funds to sustain their work.

The three-year-old organization says it has made a significant impact in the local community for those affected by HIV/AIDS and the chronically ill. It has been able to provide services to thousands of individuals since it began.

Funds will be used for client needs, including prevention and testing, housing support and group therapy.

Different Roads Home hopes to secure several contributors who are willing to provide financial support on a monthly basis.

Contact Troy Shellito via email at tshellito@differentroadshome.org to discuss options. More information is available online as well.

In other news, the organization will begin to print and mail its “The Good Road Bulletin” newsletter on an ongoing basis. Email Shellito with name and full address to be placed on the distribution list.

In upcoming months, Different Roads Home will hold a number of events which will be detailed in qnotes in the future. They are: “An Intimate Evening with Jennifer Holliday” on Aug. 20; Del Shores’ “Sordid Lives” starring Ann Walker from Oct. 13-15; and its “7th Annual Evening of Hope and Inspiration” with Christian musical group Jason and deMarco, “The Real Housewives of New Jersey” cast member Teresa Guidice and special guest country music star Louise Mandrell. Check the website for ticket pre-sale opportunities.

info: differentroadshome.org.

Youth org awards scholarships

Tonda Taylor LGBTQ Youth Scholarship was awarded to Gabby Hubert, a Parkwood High School senior, and Makalia Garcia, a recent graduate of Rowan-Cabarrus Community College.
Tonda Taylor LGBTQ Youth Scholarship was awarded to Gabby Hubert, a Parkwood High School senior, and Makalia Garcia, a recent graduate of Rowan-Cabarrus Community College.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — On May 20, the Tonda Taylor LGBTQ Youth Scholarship was awarded to Gabby Hubert, a Parkwood High School senior who will begin her college education at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill as an English honors program major, and Makalia Garcia, a recent graduate of Rowan-Cabarrus Community College who will be attending the University of North Carolina at Greensboro as a biology and pre-medicine major.

Each student received $2,500 in scholarship awards to use in their pursuit of higher educational learning.

Hubert has spent the last four years campaigning for a safe and inclusive school climate for all students by establishing an annual Day of Silence to fight anti-LGBT bullying, fundraising for LGBT non-profits, challenging non-inclusive school and county policy and founding the school’s first Gay-Straight Alliance. She has also been involved as the president of the National Honor Society, vice president of the International Thespian Society and student director of the Rebel Clef a cappella group. She was recently honored with the Charlotte Pride Young Catalyst award and is currently working on establishing a youth planning committee for Pride. Hubert hopes to eventually ensure positive LGBT representation in literature through a career in publishing.

Garcia’s first degree, an associate’s in arts, was obtained at the age of 17. She served as the 2015-2016 academic senator at Rowan-Cabarrus Community College and as a member of its Gay-Straight Alliance club, PRISM, during her attendance at the school. She dedicated over 300 community service hours to various agencies in the Charlotte, Concord and Kannapolis area. Additionally, Garcia served as a mentor to many teenagers that identify with the LGBT community, as a positive role model who strongly believes in self-reflection and growth. She has called Time Out Youth her family and support alongside her family.

The Tonda Taylor LGBTQ Youth Scholarship is named in honor of the founder of Time Out Youth who saw the need to provide support and advocacy for LGBT youth in 1991. Scholarships are awarded annually and are available to all youth who identify as LGBT and live in the Carolinas.

info: timeoutyouth.org.

Musical artist, activist launches anti-HB2 video

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Si Kahn, a musician/singer/songwriter and the founder and former director of Grassroots Leadership, launched a video on May 20 entitled “No 2 HB2 Video EP Suite.”

Kahn is using this effort to convince North Carolina’s Gov. Pat McCrory and legislative members that HB2 has “deeply damaged” the states economy and reputation, thus saying “it’s time to repeal HB2 in full.”

The video suite includes five songs, such as jazzy tunes like “The Bad Old Hymn of the Republicans,” “Who’s in the Bathroom With Me?” and “Oy Vey!” Rounding out the compilation are “The Alphabet of Justice” and “HB2-U.” A bonus track, “What Do People Really Think About HB2?” is also available on YouTube.

“As a North Carolinian for 40 years,” Kahn says, “I’m proud of my state’s traditions, from being a long-time leader in higher education to creating opportunities for all. It breaks my heart to see North Carolina become a laughingstock because of HB2.” Kahn is both a long-time civil rights, labor and community organizer and an internationally respected writer of songs for bluegrass, musical theater, folk and children’s music.

In 2015, Kahn was inducted into the Blue Ridge Music Hall of Fame, joining such legendary artists as Doc Watson, Etta Baker, Ralph and Carter Stanley, Emmylou Harris, Dolly Parton, Earl Scruggs and Lester Flatt.

Kahn received the Winthrop University 2015 Medal of Honor in the Arts and the Charlotte Folk Society 2011 Folk Heritage Award.

info: bit.ly/25S8a1M. facebook.com/no2hb2.

Allison defies law

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — CBS affiliate WBTV reported on June 3 that Janice Covington Allison took a photo of herself inside a women’s bathroom in defiance of HB2’s bathroom principles.

The transgender woman has been vocal about her displeasure with HB2, speaking out at Charlotte City Council meetings among other venues.

Allison posted a photo of herself in the bathroom on Facebook. “I wanted to show [Gov. Pat McCrory] that I’m not going to comply [with HB2],” the station shared.

Since her youth, Allison has always known that she identified as a female.

She said that she had sent a letter to McCrory to secure a sit-down with him, but McCrory’s office had not located the letter and “would reserve comment until they had seen it.” The governor continues to push the “privacy risk” agenda, even though studies and research say that transgender individual’s use of bathrooms that match with their perceived sexual preference did not create issues in lavatories.

Allison is standing by her convictions and not giving in to pressure from the law. In fact, she says that law enforcement officers would have to arrest her while she was in a women’s bathroom. She refuses to use the men’s room.

| WBTV Charlotte

info: wbtv.com.

Have news or other information? Send your press releases and updates for inclusion in our News Notes: editor@goqnotes-launch2.newspackstaging.com.

Share your news with us
Does your organization or special interest group have events or great information to share with our readers? If so, be sure to send in your information to specialassignments@goqnotes-launch2.newspackstaging.com. In the upcoming months, we’ll feature one of you in our news notes section in each issue. Are you a part of a Meetup, Yahoo or Google group and do you do something that’s really newsworthy? Do you provide a service for the community or hold fundraisers for worthy causes? Do you educate the public about LGBT issues or concerns? Of course, this is only a sampling of things we are interested in. It’s the aim of these pieces to inform, enlighten and educate our readers about what we’re doing here in the Carolinas to champion LGBT rights, as well as offer resources for those who may be interested in what your group is doing.

Lainey Millen

Lainey Millen was formerly QNotes' associate editor, special assignments writer, N.C. and U.S./World News Notes columnist and production director from 2001-2019 when she retired.