Ethel L. McLendon

Ethel L. McLendon entered into eternal rest Friday, August 1 at Azalea Health and Rehabilitation.

Ethel was the daughter of George and Louise Richard and step-mom Millie Richard. She was born in Craven County (New Bern) North Carolina.

Ethel graduated form Williston High School and received her B.S. degree from North Carolina Central University, where she graduated with honors. She furthered her education at Tennessee A&I State university with a master’s degree and did further studies at Peabody College and Columbia University.

She leaves to cherish her memory, brother Adolph Richard and a devoted and faithful niece, Carol Hall (Tyrone). Preceding her in death were her sister and brothers Edna Norman, William Richard, Billy Richard and step-children Coretta and John McLendon III.

She was a devoted member of First Baptist Church, Wilmington, NC.

She was Assistant Professor Emeritus and former faculty representative on the Board of Regents at Kentucky State University in Frankfort, Ky. She joined the Kentucky State faculty in 1963 when her spouse, John B. McLendon, Jr. assumed the position of head basketball coach and professor of health and physical education.

Ethel was an active and dedicated member of the Frankfort Alumnae chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. for the duration of her time in Frankfort. She held numerous offices (including chapter president) and she was  also chairperson of many committees. She affiliated with the Wilmington Alumnae Chapter when she returned to North Carolina.

She was a member of the sociology department faculty who taught upper level courses in social disorganization, juvenile delinquency, urban sociology and marriage.

During her tenure at Kentucky State Ethel actively served as a member of the Athletic Committee, chairperson of the Athletic Committee, and faculty representative to the NCAA. In addition, she periodically filled-in as acting athletic director when called upon by the university. She was also appointed to and served on the NCAA Student Academic Affairs Committee for many years, where she was instrumental in obtaining recognition of non-major college athletes for their academic achievements. In addition, Ethel served on the initial Tenure and Promotion Committee at KSU. She also served as the chairperson of the Panhellenic Council of KSU.

In her early years at Kentucky State, Ethel assisted the students with float construction and parade line-up at homecoming; and served as sponsor of and coordinated the completion of several year books. She retired from Kentucky State in 1986; however, her interest in the university and its students and athletes remained steadfast.

She also was appointed to the Frankfort Housing Commission on July 26, 1976. She was reappointed on January 22, 1979 and December 28, 1982 with continued service until she resigned in November 1986. After only a year and a half on the board, she was elected chairperson and continued in that position until she left the board in 1986. Under her leadership, the housing authority began a rebirth, receiving millions of dollars in grants to upgrade the existing public housing units and adding to the number of Section 8 units which meant more affordable, decent and safe housing for hundreds of Frankfort and Franklin County families. During her tenure, the authority built a state of the arts office and maintenance facility along with converting a Frankfort landmark, the old Southern Hotel which had been gutted by fire in 1980 into a modern housing facility for the elderly. Her leadership and guidance brought about stability, compassion and fairness for all those families that lived in and would apply for housing assistance in Frankfort and Franklin County. In honor of her service and dedication to the authority, they named a newly constructed multipurpose gym facility after her in 1986.

Adkins-Drain Funeral home, located at 515 South 8th Street, Wilmington, N.C. (phone: 910-763-7117) is in charge of arrangements. Visitation will be held at the funeral home on Wednesday, August 6 from 5-7 p.m. Services will be held on Thursday, August 7 at noon at First Baptist Church, located at 5th and Campbell in Wilmington.

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