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Family, Community, Education and Hard Work: Honoring Rose and Eddie Post

January 31, 2008

Category: Academics

Raise a Glass and Add a Hoorah; We're Celebrating Rose and Eddie Post!

If you think you hear the faint clinking of champagne glasses, it's likely not your imagination. It's Rose and Eddie Post' five children raising their glasses in a toast to their parents — to their dedication to family, to community, to education and to hard work.

Post FamilyThat faint cheering you hear in the background, it's those children and their children lifting their voices in a "L'Chaim!! — To Life!!" to "Mac and Zeddie," (their nicknames) — to their 60 years of love for each other, to lives well-lived, to a journey well-made, to cherished memories and the promise of more waiting to occur.

How to pay tribute to a full life, to a good life?   That must have been the question that those Post children pondered. It came down to creating a sort of legacy that could endure, affect other lives and have a deep meaning. They conjured the Rose and Eddie Post Endowed Scholarship and established it at Catawba College, located in the small city where Rose and Eddie made their mark.

Salisbury was Rose Zimmerman Post' hometown, but it became the place where she met her late husband Eddie, and where the two of them settled and raised their children, David, Phyllis, Sam, Jon and Susie. It was the place where Rose Post' father, Sam Zimmerman, an immigrant from Podiatz, Poland (a village later obliterated by the Nazis), had settled his family in 1939. Sam Zimmerman's dream had been to give up his peddler's cart for a permanent storefront. He realized that dream with his first store in Morganton, where Rose Zimmerman Post was born, and then later, with stores in Valdese and Marion, Va. When he moved to Salisbury, it was to open his fourth store at 110 North Main Street, a perfect location because of the family living space located above it.

"We wanted to do something to honor our parents in Salisbury," David Post explained, "and my mom's entire life has been devoted to education. She covered education for "The Salisbury Post" for 20 years and I think she recognizes how critically important Catawba is to Salisbury and what great things Catawba has done in many ways.

"My mom is and dad was friends with several Catawba graduates, including Phil Kirk '67 and Ned Cline '64, both of whom mom worked with at "The Salisbury Post."   My dad used to always try to hire students for the store out of the local high schools and from Catawba including Bob and Dick Moffitt and Eddie Pring (a 1964 graduate who lives in Greensboro) who are still close family friends. Plus a scholarship is self-perpetuating — it will perpetuate their memories," David said.

David and Jon, brothers, paint a wonderful portrait of their parents. Although they feel the void left by their father's death several years ago, they remember him with laughter and gladness and continue to rejoice in family gatherings with their mother.

Post FamilyJon and David weave the story of how their parents met. Rose was 20 and Eddie, who came to Mocksville from Mt. Vernon, N.Y., to work at his aunt's furniture factory, was 26 when the two met. There was no place to live and no movie theaters in Mocksville, so Eddie Post chose to live in Salisbury, rather than Winston-Salem, renting a room from George Rusher   Walking through downtown Salisbury, he met Sam Zimmerman who recognized in Eddie Post "a fish out of water — a northern Jewish boy," David said. Soon, Eddie met Sam Zimmerman's daughter, then a junior at Greensboro Women's College. Eddie and Rose hit it off, but her parents did not want the couple to marry; because they were afraid she would not finish college.

When Eddie took Rose north to meet his family, his parents expressed concern about him marrying a southern girl. Rose and Eddie solved their parents' mutual concerns by stopping in Lexington, N.C., on their way back to Salisbury where they were married by a justice of the peace on July 8, 1947.

"They didn't have witnesses for the ceremony," David said, "so they got two guys off the street wearing Hawaiian shirts to serve as witnesses. My mom still laughs uncontrollably when she remembers this. And, that is all that she remembers about her wedding ceremony."      

Rose and Eddie moved to Greensboro after their marriage where Eddie sold insurance for a year while Rose finished college at Women's College, now UNC-G. They moved back to New York after she graduated and there in 1949, son David was born. The couple's residency in New York lasted only two years, before the fledgling family returned to Salisbury in 1950 where Eddie joined Rose's father at Zimmerman's Department Store. After he graduated from UNC Chapel Hill and completed a tour of duty in the Army, Rose's brother, Leon Zimmerman, also returned home where he and Eddie ran the store as "partners" for 35 years.

The couple's second child Phyllis was born in 1950, followed by Sam in 1956, Jon in 1958 and Susie in 1962. In 1951, Rose accepted a job at "The Salisbury Post," David explained, and her career there spanned 56 years, until her retirement in 2007.

Eddie Post, in the meantime, enjoyed a successful career in retail, helping to expand Zimmermans' flagship business in downtown Salisbury to six other locations. He worked in the business until it closed in 1988. Thereafter, he worked with son Jon in Jon's computer business, Procomp, and later worked with sons Jon and David in MedExpress Pharmacy, a business David acquired and moved to Salisbury.

Despite busy careers, both Rose and Eddie Post seemed to focus on their family. "My parents were completely involved and engaged in every aspect of our lives, whether it was our participation in extracurricular activities or our school work," David recalled. "We were their lives. The gift they gave us was teaching us how to raise a family by the way they raised their family.

"It's fair to say with regard to all five of their children that all of us have put family before everything else in our own personal lives. I'd also say that all of us have also had more than our fair share of accomplishments in life, and despite that, regardless of what any of us have done, our families never get lost in the shuffle," David said.

"I don't know how they did this, but somehow they found a way to get involved in the major decisions of our lives," David said, "like where to go to college, who to marry and what to major in. Maybe they taught us to listen, maybe it was a sign of the times, but all of us have a social consciousness, we have a sense that we have to be part of our community and have an obligation to give back. That's what our parents did; they led by example.

"My mom volunteered us," David continued. "She was never shy about volunteering us for anything or telling somebody we would do something for them. She was involved in RCCM, now Rowan Helping Ministries, and she'd drag us into that, but the point is that we got involved in it."

Of his parents, Jon said, "She was a woman of so many words, and he was a man of so few; they fit together because of that. Dad had a way of cutting to the chase, and he was hilarious. He was also an incredible writer. When we were in college, the best thing that could happen to us was to receive a letter from Dad. There was never any money in it, but always something to make us laugh and pick us up."  

The Post family gathers at least three times a year, but always for Thanksgiving, for New Year's Day and for a week together at the beach. On New Year's, they continue a tradition begun 36 years ago, the presentation of the Dodo of the Year Award, and the sharing of their New Year's Revelations where family members self-reveal something about themselves unknown to others. They have Rose and Eddie Post to thank for these traditions, for their closeness, and for each other.

The Post' eldest son David divides his time between Washington, D.C. and Salisbury. He is a lawyer and a C.P.A. in North Carolina and a professor in the McDonnough School of Business at Georgetown University. Second child Phyllis makes her home in Salisbury and is a professor of counseling at UNC Charlotte. Son Sam spent 24 years in the Salisbury-Rowan School System, is a playwright, and owns "Coffee News."   Son Jon of Salisbury, a 1981 alumnus of Catawba College, is a partner in the business he owns with brother David, MedExpress; MedExpress consists of a brother-sister company, MedExpress Pharmacy and Salisbury Pharmacy. Last-born daughter Susie lives in Durham and is a nationally recognized photographer with her work published in "National Geographic" and "Life."   She now teaches as an adjunct professor at the Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University.

Rose Post and her late husband Eddie, honored, cherished, and remembered — educators about how to live a good life and how to both hit and make a lasting mark.

Friends of Rose and Eddie Post may contribute to the scholarship fund established in their honor at Catawba. Contact the Catawba College Development Office at (704) 637-4394 for more details.