The daughter of the late Harold McEachern said her fathers proudest moment was the day in 1977 when he was sworn in as Concords mayor.His parents were at his side, as were his two children and his wife, Reba. That day was really important to him, said McEacherns daughter, Teena Boone. I dont know anyone that loved this city more than him.He also thought it was an incredible honor for the city to name its first greenway in his honor.It was so touching to him that he had a map of it framed in his house, Boone said.McEachern, a Cabarrus County native, died of congestive heart failure Feb. 26. He was 84. His health had started to decline when he lost his wife of 62 years in May 2011.When she died, he lost his soulmate, Boone said. McEachern was a member of the Concord Board of Aldermen (now the City Council) from 1965 until 1977. He served as Concords 16th mayor from 1977 until 1981.A flood of supportAs word about McEacherns death spread last week, the community began to express condolences and share memories through social media. Boone said her father probably underestimated his legacy. Its been a long time since hes been mayor, but people still havent forgotten about him, said Boone. Ive just never known a man that truly loved people more than him, and the comments of love and respect have just amazed me. ...He knew he was respected and people appreciated his years of service, but I dont know if he would have thought after all these years that there would be such an outpouring.The former Marine served in the Korean War but never perfected domestic skills such as cooking, cleaning and washing clothes.He didnt even want to learn, said Boone. He was part of a different generation.But he was very industrious. At the peak of his career, he owned and operated five electronics stores throughout the Carolinas.Boone said her dad loved to share stories about his civic and personal life. She also remembers that hed leave the house for work before she woke up and would attend Board of Aldermen meetings or other official functions at night. McEacherns efforts helped bring Philip Morris USAs cigarette manufacturing plant to Concord in the early 1980s. He also was awarded the Order of the Long Leaf Pine, North Carolinas highest civilian award.He was a good guy, and he had a good heart, said Boone. We werent ready to let him go, and I still feel like hes going to shuffle in here with his walker and ask me for Heineken, because thats what he loved to do when he visited me.The industrial ageJohn Kennedy, the former publisher of the Concord Tribune who worked with the paper for 47 years, knew McEachern as a reporter and, eventually, as a friend.He was a really good American citizen, said Kennedy. He believed in fairness and practiced it all his life.Kennedy worked with McEachern to form a group that publically pushed for the development of the Phillip Morris plant. He said McEachern started the industrial revolution in Cabarrus County.It was a great industry for the community as textiles were moving overseas, and Harold latched on to the idea that we needed to make some changes, and we needed to make some new industry. And that was the first big change in the industrial base of this community.Fair-goer turned supporterMary Ann Cooper, who retired in 2007 as manager of the Cabarrus County Fair, knew McEachern for 52 years. She met him when he had a booth for his business, Mac-Victor Electronics, at the 1965 fair.McEachern went on to serve on the Cabarrus County Fair Advisory Board, as vice president of the Cabarrus County Fair Scholarship Fund, as past president of the N.C. Association of Agricultural Fairs and as Cabarrus County Fair Manager from 1991 to 2001. He was instrumental in helping work out the details with Cabarrus County Commissioners so the county could take over the fair and move it to its current location, said Cooper.Cooper, who talked with McEachern regularly, said he loved the fair and all the people who helped organize it. The 2012 fair won 21 international awards. McEachern told Cooper he was proud that the younger generations have continued to build on the fair that he and Cooper helped create.He came to the fair this past year and I walked around with him for a little while, said Cooper. He just loved the fair, and he loved to help promote it. He had a really sweet smile, and he was just a good friend to a lot of people.
Friday, Mar. 01, 2013
Concord residents reflect on mayor Harold McEachern's legacy
Harold McEachern, the former mayor of Concord, passed away February 26 at age 84. COURTESY THE CITY OF CONCORD