Spring 2012

Matthew Bacoate Jr.Matthew Bacoate Jr.

Matthew Bacoate Jr. was a founder, manager, and eventual owner of the largest African American owned business in Asheville history, originally known as AFRAM Inc., then ACE, and finally M.B. Disposables. A Board volunteer for Mountain Housing Opportunities, Bacoate is also a Korean War Veteran, community activist, and a builder of economic development projects and of interracial relationships in Asheville and across the state.

He is a talking textbook of Asheville’s history, and over the years he has been featured in an ABC news documentary, received awards from the City of Asheville and the State of North Carolina, and served as a volunteer and resource for governors and presidents. His leadership and community service throughout his life have improved the quality of life for all residents.


Sarah Hill

Sarah Hill

Sara Hill is a retired social worker, a teacher, mentor, community servant, avid reader, tradition bearer, and quilter extraordinaire. Sara spent her career in the Midwest, working as a social worker and serving as chief director of the children’s division at the internationally renowned Menninger Clinic in Kansas.

Born in Fayetteville, she and her family had ties to Montreat, and when she retired she moved to Asheville, where she continued to work part-time as a social worker and family therapist at Trend Mental Health. Here she also began to apply her passion for quilting to community service. As a member and past president of the Asheville Quilt Guild she has spearheaded efforts to assist individuals and organizations with donations of Community Quilts.

As a teacher Sara Hill engages children, adults and the elderly within her outreach, acting as a mentor of quilting instruction in a variety of venues. Sara is also a teacher at A-B Tech Community College and in 2006 was recognized as the A-B Tech College Forum’s first Continuing Education Instructor of the Year. She now resides in the Highland Farms community in Black Mountain and can often be found assisting her neighbors.

Sara Hill is a tradition-bearer giving strength to our community and cultural heritage. The vitality of North Carolina quilt-making will be in good hands for the future, for it has been threaded by the stitches of Sara Hill’s passion and devoted service to others.

Dr. John WilsonDr. John Wilson

Dr. John Wilson has served not only Buncombe County but the international community as well, as a physician, pediatrician, medical missionary, WWII soldier and veteran, educator, humanitarian, volunteer, master gardener, and woodworker. He was born in Kwangju, Korea, where his parents served as Presbyterian missionaries. That service linked his family to the Montreat area, where he would eventually meet his wife, Nancy.

After graduation from the Pyengyang Foreign School in Korea, he returned to the U.S. for further education at Davidson College and Jefferson Medical School in Philadelphia. His residency was interrupted by WWII, when he was called back to Korea for service in the Army. General Mac Arthur had commissioned John’s father to take charge of all the leprosy hospitals in Korea, and John’s orders took him back to serve in Korea under his father’s command.

Dr. Wilson began his medical career in Greensboro, and after practicing in other states and in Korea, he returned to Black Mountain, NC. He has been a public servant in the field of medicine and donated his service to humanitarian efforts at refugee camps around the world. With a lifelong passion for gardening, Dr. Wilson cultivated an idea for a community garden for the Town of Black Mountain in the 1980s. With his vision, guidance and hard work, the idea became a reality, and in the Town of Black Mountain officially renamed the garden in honor of Dr. Wilson’s enormous contributions for the benefit of individuals, families, the community, food pantries and area agencies.

John will be celebrating his 96th birthday this May. He still has a passion for life, sharing his wonderful stories and imparting his wisdom to others. His life has been a bountiful garden, sowing seeds of knowledge, nurturing people of the world while cultivating a legacy of service to others.