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Interview with Howard Loving, November 30 , 2006 | UNCW Archives and Special Collections Online Database

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Interview with Howard Loving, November 30 , 2006
November 30 , 2006
Capt. USN retired Howard Loving and his wife relocated from Washington, D.C. to Wilmington in 1993. Howard was asked to become a part of United Way and served for 9 years as a director and the lead fundraiser. Since that time, he has been instrumental in the preservation of Bellamy Mansion and the enlargement of the Children's Museum, has served on the Board of Coastal Horizons and the Board of Cameron Museum, has raised money for DSS, and has advised groups in both Brunswick and Pender Counties. At the time of this interview, he is involved in raising funds for a Concert Hall to be used in conjunction with a new Convention Center.
Phys. Desc:

Interviewee: Loving, Howard Interviewer: Jones, Carroll Date of Interview: 11/11/2006 Series: SENC Notables Length 63 minutes

[audio begins abruptly]

Jones: -- November 11th in the year 2006, and I am Carroll Jones with Jennifer Dail, for the Randall Library's Special Collections Oral History Program. Our interview today is our guest Howard Loving, a retired Navy captain, who with his wife Elizabeth moved to Wilmington in about 1994, Howard?

Howard Loving: Mmhm, that's correct.

Jones: They had no family or friends in the area, but did have an introduction to some people and some prominent citizens who obviously saw in Howard the personality and character accomplish, and he's a can-do person. Howard has been involved in the community ever since. Good morning, Howard.

Howard Loving: Good morning, Carroll. Thank you for asking me to come.

Jones: We're delighted to have you. Why don't we start today about your telling us your beginnings in Wilmington. I think it was brave to come here not knowing really anybody. What brought you here? And how you were introduced into the needs of the community.

Howard Loving: Well, we, you are correct, we did move here about twelve-and-a-half years ago. And believe it or not, we did not know a soul. And our friends in Washington thought this was kind of a dramatic shift. In fact, one of them said, "How would you ever exist without going out in the morning and picking up the Washington Post?" And we thought, somehow we'll make this work. This is not essential to have the Washington Post. And we were very fortunate to meet some people that were very valuable and remained good friends. One of them was the Cameron family, Dan and Betty Cameron. We met them early on through a program at the First Presbyterian Church, and had dinner in their home, and then we shared dinners together. And I think Dan was a bit instrumental in encouraging me to get involved in things. And I was very fortunate when I retired from the Navy, I went right into a job, I was director of a foundation in Washington, and had to prepare a résumé. So I'd never, I'd never thought much about that, so I came here and I just started on my own to meet folks, and here again I was fortunate I met Bob Warwick early on and --

Jones: Could you tell us who -- I know who Bob Warwick is, but some of the others don't.

Howard Loving: Well, I think Bob is kind of the recognized community leader, in a very quiet mode. And I called him up one day and -- and this is one of the good things about Wilmington, and we'd heard about this but not experienced it firsthand. And I called him up and I said I had just moved here, we hadn't even finished unpacking the boxes in our house, and I was interested in getting involved in something in the community. And he didn't know me, and I didn't really have a résumé prepared. And he said, "Well, why don't you come over and we'll chat for 20 minutes." Well, the 20 minutes at Bob's office was really -- at McGladwe [ph?] when he was downtown -- the 20 minutes was really an hour and 20 minutes. So, and he was so kind, he suggested things. He said, "Well, why don't you talk to this person?" and "Why don't you talk to that person?" And those kinds of things kind of led to meeting other people and I went to a rotary meeting as a guest and Connie Majure-Rhett who moved to town the same, almost the same week --

Jones: Did she really?

Howard Loving: -- we did. We didn't know each other in Washington, but she had come from Washington.

Jones: Right.

Howard Loving: And she was a big fan of the Navy Memorial, where I worked on Pennsylvania Avenue.

Jones: Oh, you did?

Howard Loving: I was executive director of the Navy Memorial --

Jones: Interesting.

Howard Loving: -- on Pennsylvania Avenue. And she, I was weeding in the backyard and she appeared at our backdoor one day and said, "Would you like to come work at Chamber?" and she kind of stitched together a job for me, which was a little bit everything, and -- but mainly working with elected officials and the business leaders, to kind of coordinate Chamber programs and get their feedback. And she just was, you know, very gracious, and let me construct my own job. And --

Jones: Weren't you lucky? Now, did you have any preparation for this type of thing when you were in the Navy? I'm thinking back to -- were you not attached to the White House, for example, at one point? Or to any of the social --

Howard Loving: Oh, no, nothing quite that exotic. (laughs) I was, in many ways, I was your typical Naval officer, I spent most of my time at sea.

Jones: Mmhm.

Howard Loving: I had only one really full-time tour of the Pentagon in 30 years.

Jones: Oh my, how did you escape that? (laughs)

Howard Loving: I was -- that guy had never been in, I'd never been in the Chamber building, but it just appealed to me to work with the community leaders and --

Jones: Good.

Howard Loving: I did it for seven years and I just, I liked it very much. It was a great job.

Jones: That's terrific. So, Connie Majure-Rhett, and she was Connie Majure at the time.

Howard Loving: She was.

Jones: Yes. Kind of, the two of you, as you said, you sketched together, put together a job description, which put you out in the forefront, and I guess you saw other needs of what needed to be done around you. What kind of thing were you doing with the Chamber?

Howard Loving: Well, I think the first thing, after joining the Chamber, I had, as it turned out, my last job in the Navy was Commander of the Naval Imaging Command. Very fortunate to have that job, it was the Navy's primary photographic facility. And it was in Anacostia, Maryland, which is a very, very poor section.

Jones: A beauty spot, no doubt. (laughs)

Howard Loving: Just at the edge of Washington. A very tough section, and we asked the folks in Washington who ran the Combined Federal Campaign, which is the federal counterpart to United Way, if we could adopt a home for recovering substance abusers, and kind of concentrate on that as our United Way contribution. And we thought, "Oh, there's probably too much paperwork involved, it'll never work." But they agreed. And the sailors really came through. And so I moved to Wilmington with that in the back of my mind, a very positive experience of, through United Way. So, I just literally went down to United Way Headquarters, and said, "You know, I'm here to help if you'd like some help in your campaign." And that led years later to being the campaign chairman, and then the Chairman of the Board of Directors, but -- and about a nine year involvement with the United Way, which meant a lot to me. I really enjoyed it.

Jones: What was one of your accomplishments, or United Way accomplishments, while you were there? What do you feel they were?

Howard Loving: Well --

Jones: Now, don't be shy.

Howard Loving: It's a good question. I think a couple of things. First of all, we, I believe we have the highest increase of any United Way in the southeast, during when we had our campaign. But it's the Cape Fear area at United Way, and it includes Pender and Brunswick County. And we really did not pay too much attention to Brunswick and Pender County. So, it was one of my goals to kind of reach out to them and make sure that they understood that we thought of their agencies and when it came time to allocate the contributions that they were considered. So, we started holding meetings in the counties. We would rotate our meetings. We'd have breakfast and luncheon meetings and have --

Jones: They had never done that before.

Howard Loving: I don't think they had, to any great extent.

Jones: Yeah, they did not.

Howard Loving: And I had a great supporter in the president of Dosher Hospital, who was just kind of waiting for us to come to Brunswick County and be involved in that way. So, I felt good about that, that we were able to convince them that they were as much a part of our thinking as New Hanover County. And I think we were successful in that.

Jones: Probably were. So what happened from then on? And after nine years, well, can you name some other things that you were heavily involved in with United Way? What did some of the other accomplishments -- or was this mainly your scope? Bringing in the other counties and trying to incorporate all into one?

Howard Loving: Well, we did that, and we added some agencies. United Way now is, has a little bit different focus. But then we concentrated on the agencies. And it was kind of my goal to make sure that when we added agencies and programs within the agencies, that we considered the other counties. A real success story is communities and schools in Brunswick County.

Jones: Tell us about that.

Howard Loving: That has special programs for children with special needs. And in Brunswick County, it has the right people on the board.

Jones: Good.

Howard Loving: All of the right people. And we added them as kind of a premier agency in Brunswick County, and by doing that, we got the president of the hospital, we got the leadership of Brunswick electorate, we got the elected officials, we got members of the school board from Brunswick County, involved in United Way. So, that was very important, and they just, they helped us broaden the focus in Brunswick County. And we did the same thing in Pender County, with associations, with Pender Adult Services, for instance. So, we were able to show them that we really were, the Cape Fear area United Way, and not just focused on New Hanover County.

Jones: Did any of this have to do with, did you have to work with, I should say, DSS or through, for example, the No Child Left Behind Program, or was this strictly something that you saw a need for that was particular to these two counties? And then with the help of people who were involved in the counties, go ahead and take care of it?

Howard Loving: Well, there wasn't, in some cases, a direct connection with those state programs, but we --but there was kind of a loose connection. I mean, some of the housing areas had programs for after school for troubled youths. And we were involved in those, and actually in all three of the counties. So there was a connection. But we decided ourselves which programs to support amongst the agencies.

Jones: Did you have a board of directors, per se, that would --

Howard Loving: We did.

Jones: -- all the time, money and efforts?

Howard Loving: We did, but we also had special groups who would go out and visit the agencies, and kind of assess our progress, and at the same time assess their needs. And some of them were very needy. I mean, they performed a valuable service in the community. But weren't terribly skilled and getting a board of directors with --

Jones: They just had, didn't have the know-how.

Howard Loving: They didn't. With you know, regional bank vice presidents, and leaders from business, they were solely focused on their mission, the executive directors, and depended a great deal on United Way for their funding.

Jones: Where did United Way's funding basically come from? When you acted, my understanding is that you have to act in many respects, as a fundraiser for United Way, in order to take care of these different outlets. Is that correct?

Howard Loving: We did.

Jones: Alright. With all the things that go on, and this, let's take our three counties here, although we always refer to the SENC as the five county network, and there are so many needy things. We're in hurricane alley, we've got this and that and the other thing, with huge growth that's come with other problems. And there's always some need, and somebody fundraising for something. What approach did you take -- of course United Way is a known entity, they're nationally known -- but how did, where did you get your money from? Did you have to go our and beg? Or did you have corporations that would readily contribute? Or was it just an ongoing, really working effort?

Howard Loving: (laughs). Well, I'm not sure that there is any place quite like Wilmington. There are so many needs.

Jones: I agree with you there.

Howard Loving: And as you know, I've been involved in other things, in the fundraising, besides United Way, or after United Way. The answer is, did we beg? I suppose in a sense we did. But it was our job to articulate the need. And I just thought, I do a lot of that, I would make those calls, and I would tell people --

Jones: You must be Jeff Skinner.

Howard Loving: A bit.

Jones: Oh, a bit. (laughs)

Howard Loving: I would try to tell them, you know, that in a little tiny building off 17th Street, is the Literacy Council.

Jones: Yes. Is that United Way funded?

Howard Loving: It's a United Way funded agency. And we would try to tell them, "You may not realize its value, but it is valuable because of these reasons." Or, domestic violence, or Coastal Horizons, which then had, not as expansive as it is today, it had the methadone treatment center. So, it was our job to tell them that the success of all of these adds to the fabric of the community. And did we beg? Maybe that's a way to put it? But we tried to articulate the need. And it's difficult here, because it's unlike major cities in North Carolina like Greensboro, which has dozens of big industries. We don't.

Jones: Mmhm, no we don't.

Howard Loving: So, we had to reach out to the smaller companies and work hard to make sure we touched all the bases.

Jones: Which is harder -- which is easier? To raise money for, let's say something like the Bellamy Mansion, or Latimer House, or some historic preservation building downtown, or a larger group, such as United Way? Or are people who live here, are they more apt to give money to something they can see, on a street corner? Or that might give them a tea party? Or is it for something that's underneath a veil of --

Howard Loving: Well, I understand.

Jones: -- need and the thing __________?

Howard Loving: Yeah, I understand. I think as, I think as far as businesses are concerned, and here again, we considered a large business anybody that had more than 50 employees, believe it or not, because that's the structure of Wilmington. I mean, in Greensboro you would not --

Jones: No.

Howard Loving: -- you would think the opposite. I think businesses, if it's explained correctly, understand the need for these agencies and programs within the agencies, and how they add to the community. I think individuals, it's easier to explain to individuals why, you know, an exciting and dynamic and new Children's Museum --

Jones: Oh, we want to talk about that, too.

Howard Loving: -- adds to the community. That's easier for individuals, in some respects. But when I was involved with the Children's Museum, of course I went back to the same people I went to for United Way. (laughs)

Jones: (laughs)

Howard Loving: But I think, I think that may be the difference. Families and individuals make a stronger connection to something like, either the Bellamy or the Children's Museum.

Jones: Someone said one time, that bringing the North Carolina here, was done from the children collecting nickels and pennies.

Howard Loving: Mmhm.

Jones: And of course I know Hugh Morton's instigated that thought. And I remember as a young lady, trying to figure out how to allot my allowance when I was a kid and that I was told, "Save the pennies, because the dollars will come." Well, you don't tell a 16 year old that, you know. But I thought about these two things, since we've been here, because there are so many cases where money is needed to preserve or to present or to instigate. And there's only so many wells to go to.

Howard Loving: Oh, you're absolutely right.

Jones: So, tell me, tell us, about we get on from United Way was your big baptism in what you did here, so obviously you got to know a lot of people, and they probably pegged you as "Uh...huh...we want him to help, we need some money, we want him." What did you go on to do? And I know of several things, but I want you to talk about it?

Howard Loving: Well, some of them did not involve fundraising. I was chairman of the Wilmington Executives Club, for which it is a not very, a very taxing job, and I was president of the Navy League Council for three years. And then I was on the Bellamy Board, and the Cameron Board. I was vice chairman of the Bellamy Board. But just --

Jones: What did you do? 'Cause they were really in dire need of funding, too. The place had gone __________

Howard Loving: Well, some of that, some of that, and we established a marketing committee, to try to bring kind of a thematic focus, so that when we went out to the community, to ask for funds, or promoted the programs that were in Bellamy. You know, they, people would see a theme to this, not just we've decided to do this today, and next week something else. And I was involved in the early stages of setting up the program for the slaves' quarters.

Jones: Right.

Howard Loving: An endowment program. Which I think is doing quite well now. But the reason I had to kind of step back for, well I took the Cameron Museum through it's first ever long range planning process.

Jones: From when they opened the doors?

Howard Loving: They had, they had, believe it or not, never gone through a long range planning.

Jones: I believe it.

Howard Loving: In fact, I went to my first meeting, a lady that I greatly admire, Becky Leyman [ph?] and the agenda was on the table, and I'm not, I didn't even know a lot of the people at the table, in the board of directors. And I saw my name down there, it said "Long Range Planning, Howard Loving," and I thought, "Well, this must be a mistake, because this is my first meeting." And she went around the table for committee reports.

Jones: Oh! (laughs) What a surprise.

Howard Loving: And she came (laughs) she came to me and I said, "Well, Becky, it's the first time I've seen this, I'll do my best." (laughs) You know? But it was valuable, the board was very engaged, and we had four sessions, three hours each, and came up with a long range plan; hopefully they're utilizing that. But I had to step back from those at that time, because I was very involved in the Children's Museum, which --

Jones: How did you get involved in that? You started when it was on Market Street? Or -- ?

Howard Loving: I did, I did, I did.

Jones: And what drew you to the Children's Museum?

Howard Loving: Well, I'm not sure I can really remember who asked me to -- to be a board member. But I joined with a really strong group of folks that year.

Jones: Mebane Boyd?

Howard Loving: Ellen, Judge Ellen Cobb, and Lee Williams, and I joined together. And it was a strong group of new board members. And Mebane was not the director then. We hired Mebane. And I think the budget was -- it, you know, it was like $50,000, I mean, it was just the same folks that were the board members, after the board meeting ended, would put on their aprons, and they'd be the volunteers.

Jones: They had to also scrub-scrub, or like that.

Howard Loving: You know, exactly.

Jones: Yeah.

Howard Loving: Working in the art class and the science room and just little by little, we grew it to where the budget I'm sure now is well over a million dollars, and --

Jones: It's been a success.

Howard Loving: It's been a tremendous success. We knew we had to move. The Rupes [ph?] were very gracious in letting us use that building, but it was tiny, and didn't suit our needs. But we made sure -- and I was board chairman for a couple of years before I was capital campaign chairman -- that we never ended in the red. And very few museums can say that.

Jones: That's huge.

Howard Loving: Very few not-for-profits can say that. So that, when we commenced the capital campaign, and we made presentations to the banks and the major businesses, we could say that we know how to do things well. We've never ended in the red, and we just grew incrementally. As we could afford a full time science educator, we did. And then eight months later we added an art educator, and then a part time office manager. We just grew as we could afford it. And most of the folks that, you know, kind of followed us downtown to deal with St. John's Museum.

Jones: Right, mmhm. That was an amazing event, I think, moving from that small area, down to St. John's where you had everything on various levels. Which was probably good for the Children's Museum, because it could become -- you could grow as you accomplished things, and become compartmentalized. So --

Howard Loving: And that's essentially the way we did it.

Jones: So Howard, tell me this, since you've been in Wilmington, you have seen a lot of changes, you've been a part of many of them. Two things: what are you the proudest of? And you're not finished yet, that I know, what are you involved in now? Where do you see Wilmington going? Or what do you think needs to be the next step, to handle our huge influx of growth? All these things, that convention center, flooring bridge, the port at Southport, so many changes, it keeps our heads spinning. Some are welcome, some we hope will happen without incident.

Howard Loving: Well --

Jones: Where are we going and you sitting in your position, involved in as many things as you've been, and knowing the people you know, tell us what you feel.

Howard Loving: I think each one of those things on its own is very beneficial. There's a lot of positive things that are going to happen downtown. I wish there was a bit more coordination amongst the not-for-profits. I heard a figure the other day, and it was staggering, I heard there were over 1500. That may be correct.

Jones: Here in this area?

Howard Loving: Here in this area. And for instance, United Way has 50 programs that they support, and it will be less, because they are restructuring a bit. I wish there -- I don't denigrate the need, I know there's the need there for everybody, but I wish there was a little bit tighter coordination, so that when you appear at a major contributor's desk, and articulate what your requirements are, that somebody doesn't just come, you know, immediately thereafter or before, with equally important requirements. I wish we could coordinate that a bit more.

Jones: What are the most important requirements do you feel that are needed now and will be needed? Take into consideration the average age of the people who are moving here, and the people who are living here.

Howard Loving: Well, I think some of them are requirements that are kind of not as dramatic as building a new museum or enhancing a museum. And I'm just learning about this. I am the vice chairman of Coastal Horizons.

Jones: It's very outstanding.

Howard Loving: Which includes the Rape Crisis Center and main focus is substance abuse, and mental health counseling. And folks don't believe that those needs are pervasive throughout the community. They're not just amongst the homeless, but people who have good jobs, and work for major corporations, may suffer from some of these problems. I think some of the, those are some of the things that we need to address, to improve the total community fabric, and by its successful addressing, improves the quality of life. Now that's not as easy to visualize or as immediately, you know, recognizable or flamboyant as a new museum. Or that's just an example, but I think those things need to be taken care of. And I've just become aware of that, you know, in the last year. And we're working with the general assembly, we have a program --

Jones: Good.

Howard Loving: -- to try and get relief for that. In fact, we're trying to be the catalyst. This is a systemic problem throughout the state, it's not just Wilmington. So we're trying to work on that. That's one need. And I think the need for coordination is important, too. I think, I don't think there's, I don't see that any of the individual programs are not valuable, or not needed. It's just a matter of doing a better job of, you know, talking with each other so that you don't step on other folks' toes when you start a capital campaign and -- I am involved in something that is really important to the region, I think. I'm on the special counsel of five, which probably will be tasked with raising $40 million for the performance hall, which we've been --

Jones: Here on campus? Or not?

Howard Loving: It --

Jones: We're trying to track this down.

Howard Loving: It may be on campus. Right now it's planned to be on campus, and I think it would be terribly beneficial if it was on campus.

Jones: You just opened up some, a new thought that -- it's not a new thought to me today, a new type of thinking. And I don't know why we haven't heard more about this. I want to get your take on it. Somebody who's been around here for a long time, very involved in a number of activities, quietly, has said "We have so many programs to try to help teenagers, to help children, to help addictions, to help the homeless, etc.; educational programs, the magnet school programs. But in order to fund all of these programs, and bring people here, even for a weekend or a week, no one is talking about the importance of a concert hall, or a theater, or a __________ hall, a convention center. Those things that would bring people here; a museum, even the Havelock [ph?] Theater. And what it can be. And those, how do you feel about that? Is that right thinking? That bringing people here as a destination place, to have their meetings, to spend a weekend, to drop some dollars, in other words, is just as beneficial as going out and saying, "I need another hundred thousand dollars for this sad case."

Howard Loving: Oh, I think it is. I think it is. And I think it will happen in time. You know, I think there was so much growth, so quickly, and as we all know, the convention center is not a new idea.

Jones: No. (laughs) No.

Howard Loving: And it's perfectly placed. I think there's a misconception that we're going to have mega-conventions, and it will just overwhelm the city. It won't. It's been well thought out.

Jones: Isn't that going to be, or supposed to be, an all-purpose type place?

Howard Loving: It --

Jones: It would be for your concert hall __________

Howard Loving: It is, it is. If you wanted -- if you wanted to hold the high school graduation in the convention center, of course you would do it.

Jones: Sure.

Howard Loving: And this performance hall, if it's as we've seen, and we have just selected the architect, it's just amazing. This'll be the centerpiece for the southeast. And all of these things will help. And it just, it just makes, you know, Wilmington so unique. And it's, frankly it's why we see the growth and folks desiring to move to Wilmington.

Jones: I heard stories about people, I often say to people, "Why did you move to Wilmington?" And I have heard this particular story a couple of times: "Well, we had neighbors go down, they were looking, and they looked all up and down the east coast, and they ruled out certain areas. Didn't want to go to Florida, etc. And they stopped in Wilmington, they'd take a look at some housing division or something, and brought back the plans. And we all moved, the whole neighborhood moved." Now, this is like Long Island, New Jersey, Philly.

Howard Loving: Mmhm.

Jones: You know. So, others have said, "We had certain parameters, and Wilmington was the only place that fit." "Had you been here before?" "No. But we drove down and thought, 'This is a place we can live with.'" And these are all retirement people. But I'm sure that, and so many of them are enjoying living here, but they can afford to live here. Some of them have gotten involved, and some not, but getting back to the hands on working here, I should think that drawing from a pool of retired people who are active, to, for no money, but doing something, would be absolutely a bonanza if you knew how to go about getting them to do it.

Howard Loving: Well, I think you're right, and I think one of the reasons --

Jones: Cheap labor.

Howard Loving: And I want to come back to something you said about retired people, but I think you're right. Wilmington is, I think, a bit unique among southern cities. I haven't -- we've lived in Charleston, for instance. And in Wilmington, if you have some professional skills, and some leadership skills, and you want to get involved, you hold you hand up and they are, they are anxious, they are anxious to have you be involved. They don't say, "Well, all you newcomers are running this and that." I mean, I've heard very little of that. But it's not just the retired people that -- in fact, I saw something recently. It's the 32 to 46 year olds, I mean, that's the major growth dynamic in Wilmington.

Jones: Are these are the ones that are working out of their homes and make a trip up to Charlotte or Greensboro once a week or --

Howard Loving: Could be some of those. Could be some of those who have a special shift at, say like, PPD, or have some unique thing that they can work out of their homes. And you know, and bring young children, or youngish children to the school system. I think for a while, it was predominately of interest to retired folks, who may have, you know, been in the Hampstead area, or near the golf communities, but -- I was quite surprised, when we worked on one of the education bonds, it was our perception that we needed to convince the retired folks that education was important for, to have a totally vibrant community. And when we did some analysis, the largest segment was not those that were just retiring.

Jones: Mmhm.

Howard Loving: Which was interesting.

Jones: That is interesting. That is interesting. I recently saw some data on enrollment in Hanover County schools, which surprisingly is down; whereas Brunswick County, not surprisingly, is going up. So, the deduction has been that, rightly or wrongly, I don't know, I haven't seen any stats on this, that the cost of living in Hanover County, is higher, people are moving across the river where it's a little bit lower still, those who are raising children still school age.

Howard Loving: Mmhm.

Jones: Do you have any comment about that? Or do you know anything about that? Or does it sound reasonable?

Howard Loving: I think it sounds reasonable. I'm, you know, maybe not quite so current as I was when I was at the Chamber, but it's certainly startling to drive across the bridge --

Jones: Yes, it is.

Howard Loving: And see, you know, many shopping centers grow up in three and four months.

Jones: Thank you.

Howard Loving: But those folks are going to shop there, but they're also going to cross the bridge.

Jones: They're going to go to Mayfaire, yeah.

Howard Loving: Exactly.

Jones: Yeah.

Howard Loving: Exactly.

Jones: That's true. Which brings up another thing: Where do you see Wilmington, or how do you see them, or southeastern North Carolina, handling a toll bridge?

Howard Loving: Well, I happen to think that's a good idea. And I just was told yesterday why it's an excellent idea. (laughs) I had breakfast with Laura Wilson who really convinced me that it's a great idea. She's on the State Ports Board, and I learned some things that I hadn't known about. As I read about it, it's-- the price is a little bit staggering, so we'll have to figure out how to do that. But I think to places where we've lived, for instance, in Washington, D.C., if you wanted to leave the beltway, and you wanted to get to Dulles Airport, you got off on a kind of a private road, and you paid a minimum toll and you were instantly at Dulles Airport.

Jones: That's right, that's right.

Howard Loving: And I think it's a matter of education and us getting used to that that's a good idea to have that toll bridge. I mean, it will bring so much. It's not something we're accustomed to using now, so I think --

Jones: I think that's it. One of the professors here stated, not long ago, that when the time comes, and it will be sooner than later, when you'll have people who, let's say live in Jacksonville, or not live in Jacksonville, they live in, somewhere in Brunswick County, work in Jacksonville, that it will not longer be a problem, because we're going to be a megalopolis, much as Baltimore to Washington, Philadelphia-New York, Boston to whatever it is -- that you don't have to work and live in the same, preferably small community. At the same time, it's worth the price to have a job that pays well, but to get there.

Howard Loving: Oh, I agree with you. I think it's just a matter of getting used to it, and first of all, if it's done as projected, it's going to be very tasteful. It's going to just disrupt only a few businesses and residences. I think it's just an excellent idea.

Jones: What would you like to do that you haven't done?

Howard Loving: Oh, gosh. I don't know. (laughs)

Jones: Now, I repeat this only -- I don't want to (laughs) hear about your travels. I want to hear about you as Howard Loving, community activist, involved with, as you have been, for the betterment of -- and I have to say, too, that you've got a delightful wife who's obviously behind you 110 percent. And living with somebody who's proactive, I don't know how she does it. (laughs) Except she must be very fond of you, and just give up. (laughs)

Howard Loving: Well, personally, we would like to travel a bit more. When you're in the military, the Navy for 30 years, you get exposed to places, and you think to yourself, "Oh, I'd like to go back."

Jones: Yeah, oh yeah.

Howard Loving: So we'd like to do some of that. That's, you know, on a personal level. Immediately, and this is kind of important to me, I would like to see this initiative we've started with Coastal Horizons, and if it's successful we would be the catalyst to get major funding for the general assembly for mental health and substance abuse. And that's not an easy thing to do.

Jones: No.

Howard Loving: And the reason it isn't, and I know because I worked with the general assembly when I was at the Chamber for seven years. It's much easier to sell the river deepening [ph?], and film tax credits to make movies in Carolina. It's a little bit --

Jones: Dirty little secrets they don't want to talk about.

Howard Loving: It's a little bit different to get the general assembly to focus to say that there's systemic problems. And I'm not just talking about cities. Coastal Horizons has opened a very tiny facility in Burgaw, because the folks out in the country don't, sometimes don't have access to mental health and substance abuse assistance. I guess that's an immediate thing. I haven't really thought much longer range than that.

Jones: Anything else down the, within the future, for -- that you would like to become a part of or involved in? That's an essential thing, what you've just talked about, I'm going to, we're going to investigate more on Coastal Horizons. I'm amazed at how it's grown to, and I'm glad to see there's a lot of people turning to you and saying "I'm going to volunteer." Whether they have or not, I don't know, but I'm glad to see it growing. It's necessary.

Howard Loving: Well, I really honestly haven't thought much about that. I was asked to join a board the other day. I applaud the need, and -- it's Phoenix Employment Services.

Jones: Hm.

Howard Loving: And it's a group, it's a relatively new group, it's started by Don Skinner. And we've known each other, we're members of the local eagle scout council here. And what he does, is he takes folks sort of off the street, or they're close to it, and teach them how to dress, how to write a résumé, how to appear across the desk from a potential employer, and teaches them how to get started in life. And I think that's, that's just a terribly interesting thing to me, and he's asked me to be involved, and I'm a little bit concerned about saying yes, because I think I've done, you know, too much fundraising. So, if that's expected, I don't know if I can, but the idea certainly is --

Jones: It is.

Howard Loving: -- interesting.

Jones: Yeah.

Howard Loving: And he started this himself. A one man shop, and he's grown it and -- I think he's to be commended for that.

Jones: You ever going to retire?

Howard Loving: Oh, I -- I don't know. I pro-- (laughs)

Jones: Could you?

Howard Loving: That's the th--

Jones: That's the next question: Could you retire?

Howard Loving: That's the question Elizabeth asks, but I (laughs). I suppose not. Scaling back [tape experienced blank spots] I mean I just -- got asked the other day -- be on the, my church's long range planning committee. And I told the fellow who asked me, I said, "I've done this twice before." You know. When can I say, you know, I don't know if I have any fresh ideas. But anyway, I said, "Yeah, I'll do it, but -- " sure, you know, there'll come a time when -- you know, I will, I'll do some of that. I'm going to a YWCA luncheon after this, because I've helped them with a little fundraising advice, but -- And I only do these things because, you know, I get something out of them, and maybe I can make a contribution. But sure there'll be a time when I'm, say, you know, I think enough's enough.

Jones: (laughs). I doubt it.

Howard Loving: (laughs)

Jones: I doubt it. Well, Howard, is there any one thing you'd like to see happen around here? Whether it's next year, five years from now, ten years from now? Whether you're involved in it or not, do you think, just, this area's headed in the right direction with people like yourself, there are lots of them here. And I think that -- there are a lot of issues to face, from kids to social service issues, to the Phoenix Employment, which is an entirely different concept, and god knows needed, too. To the hurricane relief, to you name it, there's so many of them. Preservation advice [ph?] to our buildings. What do you, where do you see us going, down the road?

Howard Loving: Well, I think they're all important, I just think, and it's kind of what I mentioned before, if there was some clearinghouse, some way to coordinate a bit better, and collaborate a little bit better.

Jones: Do you think our elected officials have any control over this, or can, kind of work together a little better? Or you know, they take the brunt of everybody's anger, if something doesn't happen, it's because so-and-so. Maybe that's right, maybe it's wrong, but do you think that, for example, the city commissioner's, the county commissioner, the city council and so forth, could, we go back to, we go back to, that collaboration again, which I've been hearing about ever since I've lived here -- that they could help in any way, or is it out of their hands, that they have enough other things to do.

Howard Loving: Well, I'm not sure that it's their responsibility, but I think -- to do it directly, but it may be their responsibility to charter a group to think about it. Now, I don't know whether it's through the auspices of the university, which might be an excellent place to place that, within some, one of the departments. I'm not sure, but to at least think about it. I think that's the one thing that's needed, because with the growth, comes all of the relative problems that you have in the larger city. I mention this very positive experience we had with this halfway house, when I was in the Navy in Washington. And when we moved here, and I held up my hand, and I said, "I will help with United Way." I was astounded, I truly was, that all the things that Washington had, Washington D.C., they were here on a smaller scale.

Jones: Mmhm, yeah.

Howard Loving: And of course, they've, you know, those requirements have only grown. And there's got to be a better way to identify the needs and maybe there's duplication of services, and to coordinate major campaigns, somehow bring that all together.

Jones: Now, I have to warn you about something, you just set yourself up so that when we show this video -- (laughs)

Howard Loving: (laughs)

Jones: I can think of a number of retired professors who are still very, very active, and involved in a number of efforts, and it might be something to investigate. God knows we need it. You know. And the university would certainly back them, I'm sure. But I appreciate your spending the time with us. I could ask you lots more questions, maybe we'll have another session down the road. And it's been interesting. I can't see you retiring. In a way, I don't want people like you to retire, because --

Howard Loving: Well, you live with --

Jones: -- how can we do without --

Howard Loving: -- you live with somebody at home that goes through this, so -- (laughs)

Jones: That's different. (laughs) That's different, that's different. Will you come back sometime?

Howard Loving: Oh, I sure will.

Jones: That would be wonderful.

Howard Loving: But it's very kind of you to ask me to come today. I've enjoyed it, I've enjoyed it.

Jones: No, it's going to, this is a special interview, and I know that when Sherman Hayes -- have you met our university librarian, Sherman Hayes?

Howard Loving: I did, years ago, and I think it was in a United Way context.

Jones: That's possible. He's the one who actually spearheaded this. He and I talked and he said, "Go with it, this is what I want." And so we talked about it again yesterday, and I said, "Well, Will tomorrow, and I got a couple next week," and I said, "This is what you're going to see." So, he's very pleased, and we'll all get together some time and kind of go over some things.

Howard Loving: Well, I think it's a good idea, while things are fresh in folks' minds, and they're still interested in the-- it's a good -

[audio ends abruptly]

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