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| 5 HOUNTATN
Vol. 115 No. 37
Thursday, September 11, 2003
oR] LOTERC 925
By GARY STEWART
Editor of The Herald |
Kings Mountain this week is mourning
thé death of one of its outstanding commu-
nity and business leaders.
Hazel Lee Gill, 81, owner of J.W. Gill %
Sons Funeral Home, died Thursday at his
Along with his brother-in-law, Raleigh
Brown, Gill was the first Black funeral
home owner in Kings Mountain.
He was a hard worker and friend to
everyone he met.
As a youngster growing up on the farm
Hazel Lee Gill
in Kings Creek, SC, he learned the value of
hard work. Throughout his life he main-
tained his love for gardening, working a
six-acre field and giving away most of the
vegetables he raised.
He began his professional career working
in a hardware store. He saved his money
and purchased a couple of dump trucks.
He was employed by Kerns Trucking for
awhile and started Hazel Lee Gill Trucking
Six years later he bought a 1936 Packard
and he and Brown started Gill & Brown
Funeral Home. In 1969 he founded J.W. Gill
See Gill, 3A
HAZEL LEE GILL
Dixon, 81, has no
plans to quit working
"BY ANDIE L. BRYMER
Sidney Dixon, 81, tried to retire 20 years
ago. It didn’t work.
“The walls closed in on me,” he said. “I
feel more comfortable working than loafing.
I love to work.”
Dixon, a barber, works two days each
week in his Bethlehem Road shop,
The Kings Mountain native first picked up
the clippers at age 14. Both his parents cut
hair and he followed their example.
While serving in the Navy from 1942 to
1948, Dixon took a break from hair, sort of.
The barbershop was only a parttime duty
while he was enlisted.
Once out of the Navy, he entered Durham
Barber College on the GI Bill. The govern-
ment cancelled the program two weeks
before he graduated but that didn’t stop
He finished school and has cut hair ever
since. From the late 1950s to the early 1970s,
he styled women’s hair. Along with that
work comes the requisite hair shows. After
years of being away from home on week-
ends, Dixon returned to barbering.
The 1970s ushered in long hair for men.
While many barbers refused to trim the long
locks and lost business, Dixon kept an open
See Sidney, 3A
ANDIE BRYMER / HERALD
Sidney Dixon cuts Steve Sanders hair. Dixon, 81, opens his shop two days each week.
Center serves, and hires, seniors
ANDIE BRYMER / HERALD
Ginger Gower answers the phone, one of her duties at
the Patrick Senior Center.
> FIRST NATIONAL BANK
Celebrating 129 Years
BY ANDIE L. BRYMER
At the Patrick Senior Center,
Virgie Farris, 84, rings up sales in
the building in shape and Ginger
Gower, 57, answers the phones.
The center is staying true to its
a few. The three are employed
through the Title V Older
ipant’s salaries while they get on
ing is to help older workers find
unsubsidized employment. The
items. This job comes after a life-
300 W. Mountain St.
the gift shop. Bill Adams, 79, keeps
mission of serving seniors by hiring
Americans Employment Program.
This federal program pays partic-
the job training. The goal after train-
program serves people age 55 and
Farris runs the center’s gift shop
where seniors sell their handmade
time of working in the textile indus-
try. After she retired from that job,
Farris took care of her grandchil-
dren. Initially she was reluctant to
“I told them I couldn’t do that. I
had no experience. They talked me
into it,” she said.
Today, Farris is confident in her
position behind the sales counter.
The best parts are meeting cus-
tomers and having good coworkers.
Farris says the senior center staff
are always patient, not getting
angry over any mistakes.
“They're good people to work for.
Monty, Sharon and the whole staff,
they're always nice to me. That
means so much,” Farris said.
Bill Adams says his job as center
handyman keeps him healthy.
“If we just sit down and give it
up, we wouldn't last long,” he said.
Like Farris, he enjoys the on the
“I like to be amongst the people.”
See Center, 3A
529 New Hope Road 106 S Lafayette St.
BY ANDIE L. BRYMER
Tube Industries is expanding'and expects
to add four to five employees in late
September and more if the operation is suc-
The plant, located on Industrial Drive, has
moved much of its Pelham, Tenn. work to
Kings Mountain. Three Tennessee employ-
ees made the move with the company and
two local workers were hired. While the
company plans to hire a handful more in
September, if the market cooperates that
number could climb.
“We're at the mercy of the retail cycle,”
said human resource director Tracy Baker.
Like most U.S. companies, Tube has been
hurt by imports. According to plant manag-
er John Stockman, the loss is at 20 percent.
To keep that number from getting any big-
ger, Tube is holding merchandise for clients
and has moved into fabricating for use in
wheelchairs, antenna, conveyors and high
It has also added what Stockman
describes as an innovative paint curing
process using radiation. Tube is in the
process of patenting the procedure which
uses radiation similar to x-rays to cure paint
“Nobody in the industry is doing that,”
he said. “For people familiar with our
industry, this is radical.”
Most of Tube’s new employees are
secured through Workforce Staffing, a move
that Baker calls a “moral struggle.”
Baker says the company prefers to have
employees be fully part of the company, x
receiving the same employment package as
“These folks work so hard for us,” Baker
said. “The only way I can engage it (tempo-
rary status) is to put pressure on sales.”
As sales rise, temps will be made perma-
nent, she said.
Baker and Stockman say the company
culture is different from what many workers
are accustomed to. Criticism is accepted and
even encouraged. Stockman says these folks
are often the most innovative. Workers in
the plant are kept up to date on sales fig-
ures. Regular meetings are held to encour-
age suggestions from workers.
Members of a venture team use their own
time to brainstorm and to visit retail outlets
looking for products that their company can
Worker participation is rewarded with
gift certificates and a sense of having been
“They (workers) have a lot to say in what
we do,” Baker said.
Tube is a division of Commonwealth
Aluminum, the third largest industry of its
kind in North America.
ANDIE BRYMER / HERALD
Adrien Dyer unloads products at Tube
Industries’ Kings Mountain plant.
225 Gastonia Hwy.