Harnett County

Everyone has a story

Harnett County


 @ the library April 9, 2006, 2:00 p.m.

| HCPL Home Page | Harnett County Authors


 Biographies of authors who participated in the event


Becky Adams

The part I played in the Coats Heritage Book was research and converting text into a publishing program.


Lee James Best, Jr.

Lee James Best, Jr. was born in Dunn, N.C. in 1930, attended Dunn High School, and graduated from Duke University in 1952 with an A.B. Degree. He took postgraduate courses at Union Theological Seminary, New York City, and Education courses at American University, Washington, D.C.

Mr. Best has had a broad range of experience in the fields of education and religion, having worked in various educational and religious institutions over a period of years; and his experience includes work in churches, public schools, a  sheltered workshop, cannery, printing companies, traveling and selling, in the real estate field as a manager, appraiser, and broker for over thirty years, freelance writing, and other occupations.

Since college days, Mr. Best has had an ongoing interest in the puzzles surrounding religion, philosophy, and science in their relation to the theory of biological evolution; and he deals with this subject in this unique critique, God and Fallacy in the Theory of Evolution after many hours of reading, researching, and intensive thinking.


Lynda Butler

Graduate Coats High School and Campbell University (Master of Education degree) School counselor with Coats-Erwin Middle School, Coats Centennial Committee - Secretary, 2005. Co-Chair of the Coats Museum - Heritage Committee and Co-Editor of the Heritage Book of Coats, NC, with Gayle Johnson Sorrell.  In this capacity, she helped research and write portions of family, local folklore, and church histories.  She helped Becky Adams, compositor, enter the material into PageMaker, a publishing computer program. Ms. Butler earned her National Board Certification while working on the Heritage Book of Coats. It was a very busy three years the committee spent researching and compiling the two volume set.


1973-1983 Employed as manager of nine lingerie outlet stores

1983-1993 Employed as Girl Scout Field Director, Harnett County

1993-present Employed as a School Counselor at Coats-Erwin Middle School

Charter member of United Way of Harnett County

First female president of the Kiwanis Club of Dunn, current member of Kiwanis Club of Coats; Church Clerk for Coats Baptist Church

She is married to Robie Butler and they have three grown children, Stockton who is married to Jen, Marshall, and Ginger.


Joanne Byrd

Joanne Byrd is retired from teaching science at Pine Forest Senior High School in Cumberland County.  She is a native of western North Carolina and now lives in Bunnlevel in the house in which her husband was born.  In addition to writing poetry, she enjoys needlepoint, crossword puzzles, the beach, and traveling. She is currently enrolled in a creative writing class with UNC-Chapel Hill, where she hopes to enhance her ability to write prose.


Theresa Cocolin

Theresa Cocolin was born near Pinehurst and moved to the western Harnett area when she was 14. Mount Olive College press will publish "Today I Say Yes," a book of poetry she has written, sometime in the future.  She has just completed an on-line creative class from UNC-Chapel Hill.  She completed two books that she hopes to have published someday.  She enjoys good music and good books.


Dr. Ronnie W. Faulkner

Dr. Faulkner  is Director of Library Services and Associate Professor of History at Campbell Univ. (1996-present). He has a Ph.D. in History from the Univ. of South Carolina, a MSLS from Univ. of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, a MA in History from East Carolina Univ., and a BS in History from Campbell Univ.. Dr. Faulkner has written over 30 articles and book chapters. He has written articles for The Historian, North Carolina Historical Review, Tennessee Historical Quarterly, Polity, Teaching Political Science, Library Hi Tech News, Library Software Review, Library Acquisitions, Tennessee Librarian, West Virginia Libraries, Southeastern Librarian, the Raleigh News & Observer, and Confederate Veteran. He also wrote entries for the Dictionary of North Carolina Biography (UNC Press, 1994-1996), American Mass-Market Magazines (Greenwood Press, 1990), The Smaller Academic Library: A Management Handbook (Greenwood Press, 1988), and The Heritage of Harnett County (Delmar Printing, 1993). He recently completed the “Local Color” section in The Heritage of Coats (Coats Centennial Committee, 2005) and currently writing online articles for the John Locke Foundation’s North Carolina History Project, as well as entries for the forthcoming Encyclopedia of North Carolina History (UNC Press). He authored a book entitled Jesse Helms and the Legacy of Nathaniel Macon (Helms Center, 1998). Dr. Faulkner has been a successful grant writer for libraries, having written some $400,000 in funded grants since 1993.


Dr. William H. Freeman

Native of N.C., degrees from Wake Forest Univ. (history & English), Duke Univ. (history and education) & Univ. of Oregon (physical education). Professor & Chairman of Exercise Science, Campbell University.

BOOKS: 5 primary in 14 original and revised editions

Coaching Track and Field. Co-author (with Bill Bowerman, Head U.S. Olympic Coach and co-founder of Nike). Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1974. Later updated and revised as High-Performance Training for Track and Field. Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics, 1991.   

Physical Education in a Changing Society. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1977. Continuously in print and adopted by universities through the current Sixth Edition (2001). Editions published by Burgess (2nd), Macmillan (3rd and 4th) and Allyn & Bacon (5th and 6th).

The Competitive Runner's Training Book. Co-author (with Bill Dellinger, U.S. Olympic Distance Running Coach). New York: Collier-Runner's World, 1984. Has gone through six printings.

Peak When It Counts: Periodization for American Track and Field. Los Altos, CA: Tafnews, 1989. Currently in Fourth Edition (2001). Required textbook for higher levels of coach certification by USA Track and Field.

Compiler and editor, Faith for Our Time: A Year of Daily Devotionals, by Tom M. Freeman. Chapel Hill, NC: Professional, 2001. Includes 366 of TMF's columns from the Dunn Dispatch and The Daily Record.

Also numerous articles in areas of physical education, sport history and track and field coaching.

Presentations in those areas, plus sport entrepreneurship at professional conferences in the U.S., Canada, Great Britain, Finland, Germany, Austria, France, Spain and Australia.


Joey Powell

Joey Powell is a native of Erwin and lifelong resident of Harnett County. He received his B.S. in History from Campbell University and his M.A. in History from East Carolina University. Mr. Powell has taught North Carolina history in the public schools for 20 years and has served as adjunct professor of history at Methodist College, Central Texas College, and Central Carolina and Johnston Community Colleges. He has also served on the Board of Directors of the Harnett County Historical Society and the Averasboro Battlefield Commission. He is the co-owner of the Averasboro Press in Erwin, which specializes in publishing state and local history. Joey has written scripts and served as historical consultant for several historical documentary videos including “Lighthouses of the Cape Fear Coast,” “Flora McDonald in History,” and “Origins of Campbell University.” He has won numerous awards from the North Carolina Society of Historians for articles on local history. He is the author of Images of America: Cumberland County and is co-author of Images of America: Gold Mines in North Carolina, Images of America: Ghost Towns on the Upper Cape Fear, and Images of America: Lighthouses of the Cape Fear Coast, all with John Hairr. Joey is married to Joella Powell, an artist.


Paul J. Raisig, Jr.

Retired Colonel Paul J. Raisig, Jr., now a practicing lawyer in North Carolina, is a former business executive and United States Army officer. Raisig’s military career spanned 26 years as a Field Artilleryman and included two combat tours in Vietnam, assignments in Europe, the Pentagon, and airborne units including the 82nd Airborne Division, 101st Airborne Division, and the 173rd Airborne Brigade (Sep).

Raisig’s military decorations include the Legion of Merit with two Oak Leaf Clusters, the Meritorious Service Medal, three Bronze Stars, two Purple Hearts, three Army Commendation Medals, seven Air Medals, and the Combat Infantryman’s Badge (CIB). In his book, Letters from a Distant War: Vietnam from a Soldier’s Perspective, Raisig describes two combat tours of duty served during the Vietnam War.


Michael R. Smith

Michael Ray Smith is an award-winning writer, photojournalist, academic and conference speaker. FeatureWriting.Net is his fourth book. University Press of America published The Jesus Newspaper, his third book, in 2002. Smith’s other books examined local history. His academic journal articles explored people with disabilities and mass media, the early American press, editorial cartoons, C.S. Lewis and G.K. Chesterton, international mass communications and other communication topics. In 1988 Michael began his teaching career at a state school in the South. Since then, he has taught journalism at a private college in Pennsylvania, directed a journalism program at a liberal-arts college in Indiana and served as chair of a graduate journalism program in Virginia. In 2003, he was named chairman of Campbell University’s Department of Mass Communication in central North Carolina. As a journalist, Michael spent a decade in newsrooms as a reporter and editor and penned more than 3,000 articles for publications such as The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, The Baltimore Sun, and The Philadelphia Inquirer. In 2001-2002, his students recognized him as Favorite Professor of the Year for the college, recognition that he considers his highest honor. His work in professional organizations such as the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication resulted in the establishment of an interest group. He is a member of Who’s Who Among American Teachers and Who’s Who in Communication.

Michael and Barbara Smith have two daughters, Shannon and Taylor.


Gayle Johnson Sorrell

Gayle J. Sorrell was born in northeastern Harnett County, attended Coats High School, UNC Chapel Hill, and Campbell University. She taught US History, NC History, Junior and Senior English, and specialized reading over a period of 25 years in the Coats School. She was a charter member and officer in the professional honorary sorority, Gamma Pi Alpha Delta Kappa. She is also a charter member of the Kiwanis Club of Coats in which Gayle is a George F. Hixson Fellow, A Kiwanian of the Year, A Distinguished Kiwanian and the recipient of the President’s Appreciation Award, and the Service Award. Gayle has been recognized as the Coats Woman’s Club Woman of the Year, as the Coats Chamber of Commerce Woman of the Year and the James Thomas Coats Humanitarian of the Year. She serves as Chairman of the Coats Museum Heritage Committee. She co-chaired the Coats Centennial Heritage Committee that was instrumental in publishing the Coats, NC Heritage Book. Gayle wrote “There and Back on a Paper Canoe” which is a chronicle of the Coats Grove area but included from page to page information about the surrounding towns, counties, states, nation and world. Gayle is married to H.L. Sorrell, Jr., a past Chairman of the Harnett County Board of Commissioners. She is mother to Lenee S. Smith, a senior account manager for Sykes in Cary, and to Dr. Bryan Sorrell, a veterinarian at the General Booth Animal Hospital in Virginia Beach, VA and is grandmother to four year-old Ethan Sorrell and three year-old Blair Smith.


Shelby Stephenson

Shelby Stephenson grew up on a small farm near Benson, in the Coastal Plain of North Carolina. “Most of my poems come out of that background,” he says, “where memory and imagination play on one another. I have written many poems about the mules we worked until I was in the seventh grade and after that–the tractor. My early teachers were the thirty-five foxhounds my father hunted. The trees and streams, fields, the world of my childhood–all that folklore–those are my subjects.”

After leaving the farm for college, he graduated from the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill (B.A. 1960) where he also studied law, University of Pittsburgh (M.A. 1967), University of Wisconsin-Madison (Ph.D. 1974), and worked as a radio and television announcer, salesman, right-of-way agent, and farmer. He is now professor of English at the University of North Carolina-Pembroke where he has edited Pembroke Magazine since 1979. The state of North Carolina presented him with the 2001 North Carolina Award in Literature. And he has received the Zoe Kincaid Brockman Memorial Award and the Playwright's Fund of North Carolina Chapbook Prize.

In addition to a poetic documentary: Plankhouse (with photographs by Roger Manley), he has published Middle Creek Poems, Carolina Shout!, Finch’s Mash, The Persimmon Tree Carol, Poor People, Greatest Hits, and Fiddledeedee. With his wife Linda he has also made the CD and cassette: Hank Williams Tribute. They live on the farm where he was born.

He taught at Campbell University from 1974 to 1978 and since 1978 he has been Professor of English at the University of North Carolina-Pembroke.  His latest book of poems:  POSSUM.


Joshua D. Taylor

Mr. Joshua D. Taylor is a graduate of both Duke University (1993) and Campbell University graduate school (1996).  He is a former elementary school guidance counselor and an avid chess player.  He is also an aspiring young writer who participates regularly in the Wise Readers' Writing Group with whom he has contributed an assortment of poetry covering a panorama of material and/or spiritual interests.  He is currently collecting his memoirs and continues residing in Buies Creek where he has lived for more than thirty-odd years with his immediate family who are also well read and, relatively, well-written.  He remains unmarried and doesn't recognize any children.


William P. Tuck

Was born 26 July 1933 in Abbeville, SC; grew up in VA; received BA and MA degrees at Duke; did further graduate work at UNC-CH; started teaching history at Campbell in Feb. 1958; was married to the late Leonore Doromal Tuck from 1959-1997; have one son, a veterinarian in Walkersville. MD; have a granddaughter and three grandsons the oldest of whom is currently finishing up his senior year as editor of The Daily Tar Heel at UNC-CH; compiled, edited, and wrote A Mosaic of Memories of Campbell University, 1887-1987 and A Mosaic of Memories of Leslie Hartwell Campbell, 1891-1970; in 2000, I, with special help from Anne Moore, wrote For the Love of Learning: Twenty-Five Years of Phi Kappa Phi at Campbell University, 1975-2000; retired in May 1999 but continue to teach two classes; will soon leave for my tenth spring-summer trip to Europe.


Jennifer Vaughn

I have written all of my life.  I used to write poetry in high school but, after an English assignment, my passion has become writing the short story and I am currently working on a novel geared toward the young adult audience.  Aside from writing, I also enjoy acting.  I am a part of HRT  and so I enjoy another way to express my creativity.  Teacher turned homemaker, I live in Lillington with my husband, Derek; two daughters, Emma and Ellie; and our three cats.  On the side, I enjoy reading, listening to music (especially that of the 80s!), and curling up on the couch in the evenings to a good movie.


Bonnie Clark Weatherford

North Carolina native Bonnie Weatherford was born October 25, 1960 in Dunn and raised in Lillington and Coats, graduating from Coats Union School in 1979. She has spent the last 11 years living in Fuquay (the Harnett County side) but has, within the last month, moved to Clayton with her twin sons, Justin and Michael. She started writing romance stories about three years ago and her first manuscript, Lucian’s Angel, was immediately accepted by PublishAmerica, a company out of Maryland. Writing romance comes naturally to her as she inherited the love of reading it from her mother at an early age. Her second book, Cherokee Lightning, is currently in production with the publisher and she is busily at work on several other titles.


Eileen Williford

Eileen Williford has enjoyed reading, writing, and (sometimes) arithmetic for as long as she can remember.  A speech pathology major from the University of Iowa, she has adapted well to Southern culture.  Her husband, Dr. John Williford, was a busy physician in Lillington for fifty-five years before his retirement.  They have four children and six grandchildren.  Eileen is now writing poetry and memoirs.