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Cooperative Christian Ministry receives the Fran Black Holland house

By Susan Shinn Turner

For the Salisbury Post

KANNAPOLIS — You’d be hard-pressed to find a mother-daughter duo more devoted to one another than Fran Black Holland and Janet Ward Black.

Holland died on July 2, 2017, spending her last two weeks in Tucker Hospice House. During this period, Black went to see Ed Hosack, executive director of Cooperative Christian Ministry, one of several local charities her mother supported.

“Mother loved Ed like nobody’s business,” says Black, owner of Ward Black Law in Greensboro. “They have an incredible infrastructure. Each year, they award a scholarship in her name.”

Holland had never given any indication of what she wanted to do with her house, and Black thought Hosack might have a suggestion. He hesitated before he answered, “Our lease is up in February.”

“Immediately, I knew that was the answer,” Black says.

With only five staff members, CCM provides no services at its administrative offices, most recently housed at Second Presbyterian Church. Its offices were on the second floor, with no handicapped access and no space for board meetings.

Black and Hosack thought their idea was a good one and continued their conversations. Black set up a corporation to lease the house to the agency at no cost, a 10-year lease with an option for a 10-year extension.

After all the permits were in place, work began on the house on Jan. 15, six weeks before the March 6 dedication. A handicapped restroom was installed in place of Holland’s music room, and a pad for a handicapped-accessible van was poured just outside the door. The wood floors were restored, and the whole place was given a fresh coat of paint.

After Holland’s passing, two of her beloved caregivers, Millie Fink and Bea Hinson, gave her things away to friends, putting a lot of thought into the gift bags they made.

“They made a lot of people cry,” Black says.

At the dedication service, Black told the small gathering that the house renovations were everything she had hoped. She praised Andy Measmer, project manager, and the staff of Ike’s Construction, as well as the staff and board of CCM, along with Millie and Bea. Then it was time for refreshments.

“Mother always said that the way you have a party is with butter mints, chocolate meringue pie, punch and salted pecans,” Black says. “That’s what we had.”

In her remarks, Black also shared a passage from Isaiah 61, which refers to the oaks of righteousness.

“The people that CCM serve become the oaks of righteousness,” she says. “I always assumed the oaks were me, but it’s who we build up.”

In the backyard are three trees, which Black planted with her father when she was 5.

They are oaks.

Inside the home, Hosack will use the wood-paneled office, in which Holland “held court” whenever he visited, according to Black.

“I’m so excited for Cooperative Christian Ministry,” she says. “This location will let them do what they do better.”

In addition to Hosack, administrative office staff includes Kevin Charles, director of finance and social enterprise; Amelia Phipps, executive assistant; Chris Shoemaker, corporate and community engagement; and Mike Elam, director of maintenance initiatives.

“The donation of the home was a wonderful surprise,” Hosack says. “We have an outstanding profile on Cannon Boulevard and this beautiful legacy home is special to the community. It’s a personal blessing to me.”

Hosack says that his mother and Holland were friends, and that Holland was a support to his mother during her illness. “After my mother died, I think she tried to pick up where my mother left off.”

“The new administrative office space located in the Fran Black Holland home is absolutely beautiful and far more functional than any office space our administrative team has experienced. The extravagant generosity of her daughter, Janet Ward Black, has made use of this gorgeous home to support the administrative work of Cooperative Christian Ministry, and to be a blessing and an asset to the city of Kannapolis.

“The meeting space has already allowed us to host partners and other agencies in planning and innovative conversations that will strengthen the overall programs of Cooperative Christian Ministry serving the vulnerable populations in our community.”

An open house for the new Cooperative Christian Ministry administrative offices is set for 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. May 23 at 258 N. Cannon Blvd., Kannapolis.

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