Bell, Souweine Honored by Community Foundation
The Moore County Community Foundation announces that it will honor Jean Souweine and Peggy Kirk Bell as Man and Woman of the Year.
The two will be feted at a dinner set for Thursday, Oct. 23, at the Country Club of North Carolina. A social hour begins at 6 p.m., with dinner following at 7 p.m.
Jean Souweine, who moved to the United States from Brussels, Belgium, and his wife, Mary Jane, have been involved in many philanthropic efforts in the Sandhills.
The couple fund a scholarship at Sandhills Community College, where Mary Jan Souweine has served ion the board. Jean Souweine has been a leader for the Foundation of FirstHealth's "In Love and Service" capital campaign. He co-chaired the Hospice Challenge, is a past chairman of the Foundation's board of trustees and is currently co-chairman of the Foundation's Legacy Circle.
Souweine arrived in New York City in 1951. He met Mary Jane while they were students at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. They married a month after graduation, and he was drafted into the Belgium Army. After living in Europe for 18 months, the couple returned to High Point, and Souweine went to work in his father-in-law's supermarket business. (Mary Jane's father, George Hutchens, was founder of Big Bear Stores and Food World.) They raised their four daughters in High Point.
In 1984, Food World was purchased by Ruddick Corporation and merged with Harris Teeter. Three years later Jean Souweine retired, and he and Mary Jane, who died in June of this year, moved to the vacation home they had built at the Country Club of North Carolina.
The couple created an endowment that supports the "Promise of Hope" lecture series at FirstHealth. This free ongoing education program for local medical professionals and community members focuses on prevention, diagnosis, and new treatment options for life-threatening diseases, and the importance of hope and a positive mental attitude.
Jean Souweine also led the charge to start the Hospice Challenge, an effort to increase that endowment to $10 million. He co-chaired that committee with Helen Simpson.
Peggy Kirk Bell, a native of Findlay, Ohio, moved to Southern Pines in 1953, when she and her late husband, Warren "Bullet" Bell, purchased Pine Needles in 1953. Warren Bell ran the business side while Peggy taught her "Golfari" schools. Warren Bell died in 1984, but Peggy, with the help of family members, including children Kirk, Bonnie, and Peggy Ann, has expanded the business to include Mid Pines Resort.
Daughter Bonnie is married to Pat McGowan, a former PGA touring pro and current Champions Tour Player, who serves as director of instruction at Pine Needles. Daughter Peggy Ann is married to Kelly Miller, who serves a president and CEO of both Pine Needles and Mid Pines.
Bell has been involved with several civic and charitable organizations, including Sandhills Community College, which named its new culinary hall in her honor. She has also supported The O'Neal School, the American Cancer Society (both locally and nationally), the United Way of Moore County, the Sandhills/Moore Coalition of Human Care, Moore Habitat for Humanity, and the Fellowship of Christian Athletes.
Bell attended Boston University's Sargent College of Physical Education, Boston, Mass., from 1939-41, and graduated with a degree in education from Rollins College, Winter Park, Fla., in 1943. She holds honorary doctorates from the University of Findlay (Ohio), Methodist College, and Sandhills Community College.
As an amateur in the 1940s, Bell was one of the nation's best players. She won the Ohio Women's Amateur three times and also captured the famed North and South Amateur in Pinehurst, one of the game's most prestigious events. Other major wins were the Eastern Amateurs and the August Titleholders.
Bell is a charter member of the LPGA. In 1947, as an amateur, she teamed with Babe Zaharias to capture the International Four Ball Championship and was a member of the USGA Curtis Cup Team in 1950. She became a professional in the fall of 1950 and played as a professional for Spalding Sporting Goods in January 1951. She also played on the first professional Weathervane Team in 1952.
Throughout her career as a player and resort owner, Bell has been a tireless contributor to the game of golf. For her many contributions, she has been the recipient of numerous major awards, including the USGA's Bob Jones Award, The Golf Writers Association's William Richardson Award, the LPGA's Ellen Griffin Rolex Award, the National Golf Foundation's Joe Graffis Award, and the National Golf Course Owners Order of Merit. She is in seven Halls of Fame, a master professional and active in a number of civic, charitable and sports organizations, including the Fellowship of Christian Athletes.
Author of "A Woman's Way to Better Golf" and "The Gift of Golf," Bell has participated in two instructional video tapes: "How to Play Your Best Golf," and "Women's Golf" and is a frequent contributor to such golf publications as Golf Digest, Golf Magazine, Golf World, Par Magazine and Golf for Women Magazine.
To date, the USGA has awarded Pine Needles Lodge & Golf Club the 1996, 2001 and 2007 U.S. Women's Opens where Bell served as honorary chairman.
The Moore County Community Foundation is an affiliate of the N.C. Community Foundation (NCCF).
It was established to help support local charitable needs through annual grants.
For information about attending the banquet, call (910) 692-6222.
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