It’s been said that Abe Elmore maintains a low profile while working at a high-profile pace. He is a natural leader who is described as a “go-to person” and one “who gets things done.” He is willing to stand out front but is more than likely seen in the background turning dreams into reality –– for his family, in his community, and with Baptist Children’s Homes (BCH).
Born on October 8, 1932 in rural Sampson County, only-child Elmore and his parents moved to the nearby town of Dunn when he was young. He remembers walking to First Baptist Church on Sundays after a children’s Bible class teacher visited in his home and encouraged him to attend. After high school, Elmore enrolled at Wake Forest College to study business. The entrepreneurial student became the first recipient of an athletic scholarship to be the equipment manager for the college’s five men’s sports –– football, basketball, baseball, golf and tennis. His natural ability to garner acquaintances turned college buddies into longtime friends. Elmore graduated from Wake Forest in May 1955.
He married the woman of his dreams on December 25, 1953. Today, he and wife Jackie are better known as “The Dynamic Duo.” For 64 years, the couple have stood beside each other, and for 48 of those years, they have been BCH friends and supporters.
Jackie was at Elmore’s side when the couple dined with Governor Jim Martin and greeted the President of the United States. She is the anchor in their homelife and has worked side-by-side with Elmore in business. Today at Elmore’s Furniture on Clinton Avenue in Dunn, it is more than likely you are greeted at the door by Jackie.
But the couple’s crowning achievement is their family. They proudly boast four children, 10 grandchildren and 20 great grands. Holidays are chaotic, but joyful times, when all squeeze into the home they have owned since their children were small.
“Everything that means anything to Jackie and me begins with family,” 86-year-old Elmore says.
Elmore was introduced to BCH in 1971. His business prowess and keen ability to raise monies came to the attention of Superintendent W.R. Wagoner who invited Elmore and Jackie to join a small group for a statewide, five-day tour of BCH facilities. The last place they visited was Odum Home in Pembroke, only 66 miles from Dunn.
“When Jackie saw the needs at Odum Home,” Elmore recalls, “she immediately wanted to help.”
The couple was impressed with all they saw on the tour but believed they could best impact children closer to their home.
“I just wanted to get started,” Jackie says. “I was head over heels committed.”In 1973, the couple took on the challenge to raising $200,000 for the former Indian Orphanage. In 18 weeks, they had reached $191,000 and significant capitol improvements began at Odum Home.
The first invitation to join BCH’s Board of Trustees came in 1976. Almost always, he and Jackie traveled together to the two annual meetings. This year, Elmore is completeing his ninth four-year term and serving as Chair.
“Abe is the only Trustee today that was on the Board when I first came in 1983,” BCH president/CEO Michael C. Blackwell said. “He and Jackie are dear personal friends.”
Elmore remembers meeting Dr. Blackwell for the first time. “I didn’t know much about him despite the fact that he came highly recommended. But it didn’t take long to be impressed. You knew almost immediately that he had both a good mind and a good heart.”
Elmore has held state appointments and city and county elected offices. He has been at the forefront of growing businesses in Dunn and Harnett County for decades. But he says that of all the things he has done in his lifetime, being a part of BCH remains at the top –– “There is nothing that compares to serving with Baptist Children’s Homes.”
Abe and Jackie Elmore love each other, their family and BCH’s children.