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A Dad Remembered and Deserving Students Assisted with New Scholarship

July 31, 2008

Category: Academics, Alumni, Gifts


The late Daniel H. Elkins, Jr. never attended Catawba College, but his two sons did, both graduating from the institution. Daniel Elkins, however, was a great   advocate for the institution. According to son Gary Elkins '75 of Winston-Salem, Daniel Elkins believed Catawba College embodied everything a college should be – a beautiful campus, gracious and friendly people, and graduates who made fine employees.

Daniel Elkins, originally from Locust Grove, Ga., enjoyed a career which spanned more than 40 years as an executive for McLean Trucking Company. He often visited the Catawba College campus to recruit for his company. "He recruited at Catawba," his son, Gary, explained, "and he was treated well there and he got some good prospects. Through his visits to Catawba, he sort of visualized the institution as the perfect place to go to college.

"He was the tightest person you'd ever meet, but one thing he would spend his money on was education. Because he didn't have a college education, he knew how much it meant."

To pay tribute to his father, Gary established the Daniel H. Elkins, Jr. Memorial Scholarship which will assist deserving students with financial need.

"This scholarship was established to honor Dad and I wanted to do something for Catawba," Gary said. "My brother (Ken Elkins '79 of Temecula, Calif.) and I made a good choice and have pleasant memories of our time at Catawba — we had nothing but good experiences there. If it hadn't been for my dad, we may have ended up somewhere else."

Gary, who serves on Catawba's Board of Visitors, is employed by Amarr Company of Winston-Salem, one of the country's leading manufacturers of garage doors. He worked for 19 years as treasurer and controller of the company; for the last three years, he has been charged with establishing the company's first process improvement department. He is married to his wife of 33 years, Trudy, who runs her own consulting business as a dietician for long-term care facilities. The couple has two children, daughter Stacy Broughman of Bethune, S.C., and son Brendan Elkins of Kernersville, and a grandson Levi, Stacy's son, who is 20 months old.

"I would say that my Dad's philosophy was that actions speak louder than words. It's not what you say but what you do, and he kind of lived that philosophy whether he articulated it or not, Gary recalled. "The adjective I would apply to him more than anything else was 'gentleman,' a southern gentleman. My dad traveled a lot and I didn't get to spend as much time with him growing up as I would have wanted to but he certainly set a good example. He was careful with what he said, kind to everyone, and a gentle man."

Daniel Elkins died in 1998. He is survived by his wife, Annette Klements Elkins, of Winston-Salem, and his two sons.

Gary noted that his Catawba family connections are extensive. Both of his in-laws, Athaleta Harren Hendrix of Winston-Salem and the late Omer Hendrix, were 1950 Catawba graduates.

Gary, who majored in business at Catawba, said that the late Drs. Bruce Griffith and King West were "two professors I really enjoyed. They really were experts in their respective fields and their classes were always interesting. They both taught you to think, which I believe is really the ultimate objective."

Now, over 30 years after his graduation, returning to Catawba's campus is a pleasure for Gary. "I just love coming to campus and walking around. It still feels very similar to what it did when I was a student. I come into campus from Mocksville on 601, and what you see now is what you saw then. From Innes Street, it looks exactly like it looked 35 years ago, then, when you get back into the interior of campus, there's a new football stadium and new dorms. It's just gorgeous. I would challenge anyone to go anywhere and find a prettier campus. I think all the changes and things that have been done on campus are great."


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