Ministerial association will honor Ralph Ketner Tuesday

Published 12:00 am Saturday, May 7, 2016

By Mark Wineka

SALISBURY — The Salisbury Rowan Ministerial Association will honor Ralph W. Ketner — “The Lion King of Food Lion” — at an event Tuesday on the Catawba College campus.

More than 300 invitations have gone out for the noon event, which will be held in the atrium lobby of Ketner Hall, the business school named for Ketner, a co-founder of Food Lion.

Food Lion started in Salisbury as one Food Town grocery store in 1957.

While the day honoring Ketner is free, donations of $5 or more will be accepted for several charities.

The “Day of Celebration” includes a boxed lunch and a ceremony, including a proclamation from the city and county honoring Ketner, a look at Food Lion from a historical perspective and a short documentary of Food Lion’s founding.

Joining Ketner at the event will be his daughter, Linda; son, Robert; and sister, Dot Swing.

A special city-county proclamation, signifying May 10 as “Ralph W. Ketner Day,” says in part, “Dr. Ralph W. Ketner has become a legend, quietly serving and supporting charitable causes, mentoring entrepreneurship, teaching by example and showing stamina against all odds and doing so for 95 years thus over nine decades.

“Dr. Ketner is a man of quiet exemplary faith. The ministers, clergy and community leaders, hereby recognize his efforts.”

Special guests will include Bill Stanback and Susan Kluttz, secretary of  N.C. cultural and natural resources. Organizations such as Novant Health Rowan Medical Center, the Catawba Foundation and Salisbury Post will be represented.

The Rev. Dr. Fleming Otey will be the master of ceremony, and Ministerial Association President Bishop W. Ronald Hash will give the welcome.

Nashville recording artist Marie Norway will provide an opening song.

The Salisbury Rowan Ministerial Association first met and organized during the beginning of World War II. It strives to bring together the clergy of many faiths and religious traditions to provide community enrichment and collegiality.

It often sponsors diverse cultural and spiritual programs.

Contact Mark Wineka at 704-797-4263.