‘Legendary Locals’ showcases people from Concord

Published 12:00 am Sunday, December 15, 2013

“Legendary Locals,” by Michael Eury. Arcadia Publishing, Charleston, S.C. $127 pp. $21.99.

For our friends in Concord, there’s a new book called “Legendary Locals of Concord” by Michael Eury.
It’s a slightly quirky book of photos and short descriptions of the people who made and make Concord what it is today. Yes, there’s the Cannons and the Odells and other familiar names, plus there’s the Avett Brothers, who rose to fame from their Concord roots and the trio of Ben McNeely, James Nix and Michael Knox, who created Modern Film Fest, bringing lesser-known great films to the public’s attention.
In between, you’ll find all manner of people, like Bruton Smith, whose speedway complex has drawn millions of dollars, millions of NASCAR fans and almost as many celebrities to the city. Daniel Truhitte, who played Rolf in the 1965 film version of “The Sound of Music,” moved to Concord in 1991 when he fell in love with wife T.J. and still sings and teaches music.
The book begins with Piedmont Pioneers, some of whom date to the 18th century, such as John N. Odell and James W. Cannon. Warren Coleman is here, the founder of the nation’s first textile mill owned and operated by African-Americans.
In the Community Builders chapter, you can see Ruth Coltrane Cannon, wife of Charles, who developed a passion for conservation. Preservation North Carolina gives out a Ruth Coltrane Cannon award for outstanding achievement. Author Eury also honors groups such as the Rotary Club, Historic Cabarrus and the Cabarrus Arts Council. Miriam Cannon Hayes, known for her commitment to music education, is here, along with Jimmy Murphey, who for 40 years cooked for people in need at Christmas, as well as gathering toys and other goods. He truly lives the spirit of Christmas.
The Heroes section includes Donald Shue, whose remains were returned to his family in 2011 after a lengthy investigation into his death during his tour of duty in Vietnam. Lots of business leaders are mentioned, including Helen C. Arthur-Cornett, who wrote for the Concord Tribune for many years and contributed to a history column that had a long run. You’ll see pictures of Ben Mynatt and Buddy Hilbish, politicians Robin Hayes and Fletcher Hartsell.
Shapers of Young Minds includes ministers, teachers, coaches. The Famous, the Familiar and the Infamous rounds out this black-and-white volume, and this is where you find the Avetts, and father Jim. Beth Feeback became famous when her $9.99 painting turned out to be by a legendary artist and worth $34,000.
Eury is a Concord native, as well, and has had a career in communications and publishing. In 2011, Eury’s book “Images of America: Concord,” was also published by Arcadia. “Legendary Locals” is available at area bookstores, online and through www.legendarylocals.com.