Family donates portrait of Dail House patriarch

Unveiling a portrait of the man who built the Dail house, home of ECU chancellors since 1965, left to right, Alex B. Dail, Nancy Dail Hall, Anne Dail Ashe and Chancellor Steve Ballard. (Photos by Cliff Hollis)

Unveiling a portrait of the man who built the Dail house, home of ECU chancellors since 1965, are left to right, Alex B. Dail, Nancy Dail Hall, Anne Dail Ashe and Chancellor Steve Ballard. (Photos by Cliff Hollis)

By Steve Tuttle
ECU News Services

Three grandchildren of the man who built Dail House, the official residence of East Carolina chancellors for the past 65 years, have donated a portrait of him that now hangs in the Fifth Street home.

Chancellor Steve Ballard and Nancy Ballard greeted Alex B. Dail, Anne Dail Ashe and Nancy Dail Hall for the Feb. 28 unveiling.

The portrait of the late William Haywood Dail Jr. was created in 1923 when he was 45. For many years Dail owned Greenville’s only brick making company. Four of East Carolina’s original buildings were mostly constructed with Dail bricks, as was Dail House.

The university acquired the 5,100-square-foot Italianate home in 1949. John Messick was the first chancellor to live there.

The grandchildren, who all live in Virginia, return to Greenville every December to lay wreaths at the family plot in Cherry Hill Cemetery. Before their most recent visit, Nancy Ballard invited them to the residence for a tour.

In a letter accompanying their gift of the portrait, the Dail grandchildren said, “We cannot think of a better place for this portrait to hang.”

Haywood Dail Jr. was an avid supporter of a local bond referendum to attract the fledgling East Carolina Teacher Training School to Greenville. By his own admission given during the college’s 50th anniversary, he chewed up and swallowed some “no” paper ballots during the vote counting.

He died in 1959 at the age of 81.

Nancy Ballard, wife of ECU chancellor Steve Ballards, straightens the newly hanged portrait of William Haywood Dail Jr.

Nancy Ballard, wife of ECU chancellor Steve Ballard, straightens the newly hung portrait of William Haywood Dail Jr. during a ceremony Feb. 28.

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ECU community mourns loss of instructor

By Kathryn Kennedy and Jeannine Manning Hutson
ECU News Services

Co-workers and students of East Carolina University teaching instructor Debbie O’Neal are grieving this week following her death March 31.

She and her husband – both rated pilots – were killed when their fixed-wing Lancair LC-42 aircraft crashed in a Winston-Salem residential neighborhood after experiencing engine trouble, a National Traffic Safety Board official told media on Monday.

Funeral services are scheduled for 1 p.m. Wednesday, April 3 at Rock Springs Center, 4025 N.C. Highway 43 N, Greenville.

An additional memorial service was held Tuesday, April 2 at the Washington Eye Center, where her husband, Dennis, worked.

O’Neal came to ECU in 2004, and this semester she was teaching three sections of English composition in the classroom and two distance-education sections of English grammar.

Department of English Chair Jeffrey Johnson spent Tuesday meeting with students in O’Neal’s classes, accompanied by staff from the ECU counseling center. He said the students were “taking it hard,” and many asked if they could reach out to her family.

“Her students know how invested she was in them,” Johnson said. “She was really outgoing, full of energy and ideas, generous with her time. All these qualities of hers…make (the loss) even harder.”

O’Neal was very involved in the ECU Language Academy, which provides intensive English-language instruction to international students and professionals. She also worked with the College of Education by developing ways to integrate English as a second language (ESL) teacher education into existing curriculum.

Marjorie Ringler, associate professor in the College of Education’s Department of Educational Leadership, said she and O’Neal worked closely for years. “We were inseparable at work and as friends as well,” Ringler said Tuesday.

O’Neal was a linguist and Ringler works on partnerships with principals and school districts; together they were a great team, Ringler said. The pair recently attended an international conference in Dallas, presenting their success in teaching English as a second language in a rural eastern North Carolina school.

O’Neal engaged her classroom students as well, Ringler said, and held them to high standards.

“In the Department of English, she saw her students as her kids,” Ringler continued. “She was a mother to them because (she taught) the freshman composition class.”

She added that O’Neal kept in touch with many students and would get Facebook and email messages about how she had changed their lives. “She made sure everybody knew that she cared,” Ringler said.

“She lived life to the fullest. She was a pilot, made her own jewelry, and was always in touch with her three kids. She skied as well. What did she not do? And she tackled everything head on.”

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OAAS seeks nominations for excellence awards

The Organization of African American Staff seeks nominations for the ECU African-American Awards of Excellence.

The OAAS seeks to achieve a visible commitment of the inclusion and valuing of African -American staff, faculty and students at East Carolina University through the promotion of cultural and professional development, wellness, networking, mentorship, leadership, community outreach, scholarship and economic prosperity.

The inaugural ECU African-American Awards of Excellence recognizes outstanding contributions by ECU African-Americans. Nominees for the awards may include current and past ECU African American faculty, staff, students and administrators.

Nominations may also be made for outstanding ECU alumni who serve as community leaders.

Send the nomination letter to Dr. Lathan E. Turner and the OAAS Awards Committee, by Monday, Feb. 4that 5 p.m.  Email nomination letters to turnerla@ecu.edu  or mail to East Carolina University, C/O OAAS Award Selection Committee, Ledonia Wright Cultural Center, Mail Stop 426, Greenville, NC 27858.

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Red Carpet Affair to feature banquet, awards

OAAS 2013 Red Carpet Flyer_2013

 

The ECU Organization of African American staff presents A Red Carpet Affair dinner banquet and awards celebration. WITN-TV news anchor Lynnette Taylor will keynote the event, which will include a two-hour program honoring achievements of African-Americans in the ECU community.

At the conclusion of the event, participants may enjoy the Motown Concert at Wright Auditorium on the ECU Campus.

Tickets for both events are $35 general admission, $23 for students.

For the Red Carpet Affair only, tickets are $25 general admission, $15 for students.

To purchase tickets contact 1-800-ECU ARTS, 252-328-4788 or www.ecuarts.com.

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