Published 3:39 pm Friday, October 30, 2015
By Mandy Haggerson
Elizabeth Seymour knows what it means to have roots in this area.
“I’m really, really local,” she smiles. Both her mother and fathers families have lived in the area since the late 1800’s. “My mother’s family were Moravians,” she reveals. “My grandmother, Florence Miller, was born in Old Salem. When archeologists did some work near the St. Phillips Moravian Church, they contacted her because of her vast knowledge of that particular area.”
Elizabeth also enjoyed hearing stories from her grandfather, a jack-of-all-trades. “We couldn’t drive downtown in Winston-Salem without seeing some place he had blasted sand. He was a sandman. He was also a warden during World War II.” German U-boats sank United States ships off the Tar Heel coast just six weeks after Pearl Harbor was bombed. “There was a war camp up there on Cherry Street,” remembers Elizabeth from her grandfather’s stories. Given her family’s history, it’s no surprise that Elizabeth attended Salem Academy. Elizabeth will be attending her 40th reunion next spring. “I was what they call a 4-year girl – you board half the time and attend school the other half,” Elizabeth recollects. “Girls came from different places; so I didn’t feel like I went into it knowing a lot of my classmates well. However, I’ve attended a lot of reunions, and it’s remarkable how close we have all become.
Time is just a great equalizer.” Elizabeth really appreciated one teacher in particular, David Bailey. “He was a relatively young English teacher, probably 30 years old, although to a teenager he seemed much older. He really encouraged me to think about why it’s important to consider opportunities and how they were applicable in my future. Because of him, I pursued a volunteer reporter position in the Twin-City Sentinel, similar to the Titan Tattlers in the Clemmons Courier.
I really enjoyed it,” reminisces Elizabeth. As a result of her experience writing for the local paper, Elizabeth chose to pursue journalism and English for her major at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC-CH). Many of her older cousins had also attended the university. It was in college that Elizabeth said she became very aware of, “How the world really works.”
She enjoyed her time at UNC-CH, and to say she is a huge fan of her alma mater is an understatement. Her basement pays homage to many of the university’s athletic accomplishments, including two seats from the Dean Dome. When Elizabeth graduated in 1980, she was burned out from her major course work. She had been encouraged to pursue business classes back home at Wake Forest University and Forsyth Tech. She did so, and fast tracked to becoming a certified public accountant. Once she completed the necessary requirements, Elizabeth embarked on a career as a trust officer at Wachovia (now Wells Fargo). She has spent her career dedicated to the company. She jokes that she found out that there might be something going on indicating a merger when she was picking up some of her jewelry at a shop in downtown Winston-Salem. She had half-listened to the background noise of the television while picking up her items.
“I realized that something was going to happen, although, I couldn’t quite figure out what it was.” Elizabeth weathered the merger, and actually recollects that it went as well as possible. As someone who prides herself on being a creature of habit, Elizabeth still recognizes that change is a good thing. While Elizabeth was enjoying a good career path, she was also an active member of First Presbyterian Church in Winston-Salem, where a minister invited her to his home for a singles event. At the age of 32, she didn’t really want to attend the event, but rationalized to herself, “If I just go and behave myself, I won’t have to do this again.”
She attended and at the end of the event, she was talking to the minister about a program and why she had concern with it. Her insights and charm caught another attendee, Al Seymour. During that time, Elizabeth was knee deep during tax season, and when Al had contacted her at work, she wasn’t quick to accept his invitation for a date. Al had gone to great lengths to find out how to get in touch with Elizabeth. He had called people with Salem connections and even her mother’s minister.
When Elizabeth returned Al’s call, she left him a message explaining where she was in her life, “Look, it’s tax season and my sister is in town from California. After she leaves and tax season is over, we can get together.” Al was initially shocked at her message. However, he called her back and they went on a date (during tax season). Elizabeth said she always had a mental checklist of what she had wanted in a husband and that Al exceeded it. “I tell Al that I didn’t pick him. Our meeting was divined,” Elizabeth acknowledges. They have been married for 24 years. In Elizabeth’s spare time, she and Al can be found cheering on UNC-CH.
They are season ticket holders for football and enjoy visiting their favorite spots before and after the games. They also enjoy visiting Cancun, Mexico, when it’s not tax season. “We’ve gone over 15 times and really enjoy it. Al is really good about researching where we might enjoy going and doing while we’re there,” admires Elizabeth. Elizabeth and Al chose to settle in Clemmons because of what it had to offer. “I was touring places to live in Winston-Salem with our realtor. I told her what we were looking for, and she immediately told me that I needed to stop my search in Winston-Salem and move to Clemmons,” chuckles Elizabeth. “We have really loved it here.”
She and Al also really enjoy being members of River Oaks Community Church. Elizabeth and Al’s sense of community is also reflected in their work with High Point University, Al’s alma mater. They have recently chosen to establish a scholarship for students who are unable to meet their financial obligations while attending the university one day when they pass. Our neighbor has embodied Ernest Hemingway’s sentiments, “It’s good to have an end to journey toward; but it is the journey that matters, in the end.”