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Archive for Orville D. Coward

Highway Dedication Ceremony in Honor of Orville & Kent Coward

The Jackson County Board of Commissioners along with the North Carolina Board of Transportation are honoring two life long residents of Jackson County by naming a section of North Carolina Highway 107 in their honor. The section of the highway that goes from Walter Middleton Bridge in Tuckasegee to the three lane portion at Shoal Creek Crossing will be renamed the “Orville D. Coward and James Kent Coward Highway”. In their resolution that passed unanimously on June 17th, the County Commissioner said of Orville and Kent Coward; “The brothers have been life long valuable citizens of North Carolina acting as citizen lawyers and advocates, both served in the political arena and were instrumental in obtaining the re-building of North Carolina Highway 107 through Catamount Gap to Cullowhee and the southern part of Jackson County”. Also in the resolution the Commissioner honors Orville Coward for his 61 years of practicing law in Sylva, during which time he was responsible for seeking funds and planning the construction of the Bardo Performing Arts Center at Western Carolina University, he also served on the WCU Board of Trustees for three terms and the University of North Carolina Board of Governors for one term. Orville was even called upon by governor Jim Martin to resurrect the Murphy branch of the Southern Railway which later became the Great Smoky Mountain Railway. The resolution went on to honor Kent Coward who began his law practice in 1957 and continued until his death in 1989 during which he served on the board of the North Carolina Economic Development and aided in the acquisition of numerous industries for Jackson County. Much like his brother, Kent Coward also helped develop the Great Smoky Mountain Railway and helped found the Southwestern Technical Institute which is now known as Southwestern Community College, where he served as the Chairman of the Board of Trustees. For all of these services to the county, a highway dedication ceremony for Orville and Kent Coward will be held this Saturday at 2 pm at First Baptist Church Sylva.