Beverly Corelle: Giving Back to Catawba to Open Doors for Others
May 4, 2021
Beverly Lynn Corelle left Salisbury shortly after her graduation from Catawba College in 1963, but her heart was always with her hometown and the college that opened doors for her throughout her long life.
The friendships that she developed in Salisbury and Catawba College as a young girl remained a constant throughout her life.
J.C. Ludwig, who lives in Salisbury and spent his entire career as an educator with the Mooresville school system, was her friend for 60 years. He, and others, are not surprised that Beverly’s estate went to Catawba College and will help young people achieve their college educations. The Beverly Corelle Endowed Scholarship will provide students the same opportunities she had. Her legacy gift will be over a $1 million.
She died Feb. 6, 2021, at the age of 79 at her home in Dewey Beach, DE.
“She told me 20 to 30 years ago that she was going to give Catawba a large portion of her estate because her Catawba academic scholarship was the key to her future,” J.C. says. “She paid her dues.”
“We shared poverty” growing up, J.C. says. He, Beverly, and friend Pat Wright were day students at Catawba because that was what they could afford. After graduating from Boyden High School (now Salisbury High), Beverly had a full academic scholarship to Catawba, as well as acceptance and some scholarship money to Duke University. “She couldn’t afford Duke,” J.C. says.
He and Beverly worked at the S.H. Kress Five & Dime department store on South Main Street, and he gave her rides to Catawba almost every day. Her starting pay at the Kress store was 50 cents an hour.
“She never complained about being poor,” says J.C. She grew up on Fairmont Avenue as an only child in a small house that backed up to a dirt street, he says. Later, her parents, the late Ralph and Louise (Dunn) Corelle, moved to Faith.
She also told long-time friend Pat Wright, now of Asheville, of her decision to become part of Catawba’s Planned Giving Program. They were students at Boyden High at the same time and became closer friends at Catawba, where Pat was also a day student on scholarship. “Catawba gave us the opportunity to get a good education,” Pat says. “We talked about that a lot. We felt that we got a better education, a well-rounded education, at a small school. She told me about the Catawba Planned Giving Program eight or 10 years ago. She felt that Catawba gave her so much and helped her develop as a person … from what she was exposed to at Catawba.”
Beverly received a BA in Chemistry and Mathematics at Catawba and earned the Whitener Award, the highest honor given at graduation. She was a member of the Tower Society at Catawba, established in 1997 to recognize and honor the generosity of alumni and friends who have made a planned giving agreement with the college or who have provided for Catawba in their estate plans. She went on to earn a BS in Chemistry from the University of Tennessee at Knoxville and an MA in Education Administration from Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore.
She taught in public school systems and at Old Dominion University in Norfolk, VA, and Virginia Wesleyan College in Virginia Beach. She was president of both the Maryland State Teachers’ Association and Delaware State Teachers’ Association, after she moved to Delaware.
Michael Butera, former Executive Director of the Maryland Association, wrote of her: “She was bright and thoughtful and devoted to improving public education for students, teachers, and support professionals. She had a personal touch in her activism and a strong spirit.”
Friend Pat Wright agrees. “She fought for teachers, for bettering life as best she could,” says Pat.
Tom Childress, previously Senior Vice President at Catawba in charge of Development and Communications, recalls good visits with Beverly at her home during alumni trips to eastern Pennsylvania and Delaware.
“She was one of our loyal supporters,” he says. On one of those visits, he mentioned Catawba’s Planned Giving Program and told her that she might be interested in learning more about it. As he was leaving, Beverly returned to that subject but with a surprise twist: “That was a good spiel that you gave me, but I had already decided to do it,” she told him. “She had thought about it a long time and she had it laid out,” he says. “Planned Giving is something that you never see, but from your own experience, you know how important it is.”
He recalls Beverly as outgoing and very confident. Pat, also Class of ’63, was a Biology major and she and Beverly worked in labs together. She says that Beverly was very self-assured, generous, and extremely, extremely intelligent. J.C. describes her as calm, logical, and goal driven.
As a volunteer with the IRS, she helped others with tax returns and was extremely knowledgeable on governmental issues. She and J.C. met in Washington, DC, at the National Building Museum to research the collection of memorabilia and blueprints of S.H. Kress stores for the 2005 restoration of Salisbury’s Kress building. S.H. Kress always wanted his stores to be the finest buildings in a town, J.C. says.
Both J.C. and Pat recall get-togethers during Beverly’s frequent weekend visits to Salisbury, especially when her dad was in declining health and before he moved to Beverly’s home. She even named one of her cats Rowan. “She was fascinating,” J.C. says. “Every day, it seems my wife and I come across something we want to chat with Beverly about.”
Beverly loved gardening, birdwatching, politics, nature, walking on the beach, and caring for animals.
Pat, who earned an MS in Entomology from Clemson University and worked for the South Carolina Health Department in insect control, shares Beverly’s sentiments for Catawba. “I would not trade my four years at Catawba for anything. At Catawba, you had to take everything. I could talk about things besides bugs,” says Pat. J.C. says that without Catawba, he would not have had a college education.
Looking back at those years at Catawba, her friends see clearly. They were three day students on scholarships, smart and ambitious, interested in science and math and in bettering their own lives and the lives of others. Catawba helped them on their way to beautiful, well-meaning lives of service.
Planned Giving at Catawba can be done either directly or through a gift model that can provide tax benefits and even income. For information on Planned Giving and an Estate Planning Guide, visit catawba.giftlegacy.com.