Community mourns loss of three leaders

In Memoriam: Pamela Jones, Tedd Messner, Nan Robinson

Messner

Ted Allen Messner, 64, died on June 18 in Tampa, Fla.

He was a graduate of The University of Akron and was a U.S. Navy veteran.

Messner was a member of Queers United in Concord/Kannapolis, MeckPAC and One Voice Chorus.

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LaWana Mayfield, Mecklenburg Justice Program coordinator at Grassroots Leadership and a current candidate for Charlotte City Council, shared in a Facebook posting, “Ted brought a lot not only to the Charlotte area but to me personally. He always had a strong hug and a bright smile when we saw each other and I always heard his smile through the phone on our calls.” Charlotte Business Guild’s Bert Woodard said Messner was “an asset to so many organizations.”

A memorial service will take place on Aug. 14, 4 p.m., at Myers Park United Methodist Church, 1501 Queens Rd.

Memorial gifts may be made to One Voice Chorus of Charlotte, P.O. Box 9241,Charlotte, NC 28299; MeckPAC, P.O. Box 9807, Charlotte, NC 28299; and Myers Park United Methodist Music Ministry, Business Office, 1501 Queens Rd., Charlotte, NC 28207.

Robinson

On June 26, Nancy Elizabeth (Nan) Robinson, 58, died in Charlotte.

A memorial service was held on July 17 at Black Mountain Presbyterian Church.

Robinson, who came from Lancaster, S.C., received her bachelor’s degree in media arts from the University of South Carolina and served the South Carolina Arts Commission as director of media arts after graduation. She also attended the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, as well as American University at Aix en Provence in France.

Later she co-founded and co-owned Kingfisher Films, providing screenwriting, production and editorial services. Two of her documentaries were “Growing Up With Rockets” and “Dizzy Gillespie – A Night in Tunisia.”

Afterward she lived in Washington, D.C., where she served as a freelance editor. There she also worked for Hood College’s Department of Public Relations, as well as Washington’s Children’s Museum.

In 2004, she moved to Charlotte where she spent time volunteering at the LGBT Community Center of Charlotte, in addition to the Society of Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

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Teresa Davis, center secretary, shared that when they launched the GayCharlotte Film Festival, Robinson was present at every screening to take tickets, calculate demographic information and ensure that everyone found a comfortable seat. She was also a member of the center’s Diversity Diner’s Club, and she contributed a wealth of ideas to the center’s programs committee. “It breaks my heart that she’s no longer with us. For all you awesome LGBT Community Center volunteers, I promise you that she is giving you a huge thumbs up for all that you do. For Pride Sisters, Film Festival attendees and everyone else in our awesome community, I know that Nan appreciated the magnificent strength of our community and relished being a part of it.”

Contributions may be made in her memory to the LGBT Community Center of Charlotte, P.O. Box 33535, Charlotte, NC 28233, and the Greater SPCA of Charlotte, P.O. Box 77491, Charlotte, NC 28271.

Jones

Pamela Renee Jones died on July 19 in Charlotte.

This transgender person gave of herself to her community, be it as a volunteer with the LGBT Community Center of Charlotte, Equality North Carolina or Sean’s Last Wish. She did not stop there. She was a devoted member of Holy Trinity Lutheran Church where she served as a lay pastor. Jones also co-founded the Charlotte Gender Alliance.

Pastor Nancy Kraft with Holy Trinity Lutheran Church, commented in a memorial on July 22 that “Pamela had a particular passion for bridging the gap that exists between religion and the LGBT community. … Pamela spoke widely about the transgender experience with university classes, civic groups, churches, and at the corporate level. If you ever had the opportunity to hear her speak, you were probably blown out of the water. … Pamela Jones knew who she was. I can’t say that about very many people I’ve known.”

Kraft also shared a quote from Jones which said, “Many of us spend a lifetime trying conform to what others think we should be, rather than who we were intended to be. There eventually comes a time when the need to be a real person takes precedence over all else. There comes that defining moment when we must take off the mask and become genuine. Before we can give the world our best, we must first give ourselves our best. We learn that it really is okay to be who we are, no matter who we are. It is in these defining moments when we learn how to live, rather than to merely survive, when we feel that spark of hope that lies within each of us and come to the realization that our lives have a higher purpose than we ever dreamed.”

Long-time friend, Stephanie Marie, said of her: “Pamela was one of the most principled, centered, yet down-to-earth people I have ever met. I was inspired by her reaching out to LGBT and mainstream groups. My friends in the contra dance community can credit her with helping me to search for that place where I could grow and blossom. A place where I can be me and give back. You will always see a bit of her light in me. Even in recent weeks when I knew she wasn’t feeling well, she took the time to comfort me following a job loss. She even said to not worry about her but do what I needed to do. That’s a friend through and through. So with many tears, I take comfort in knowing she has been commended as a ‘good and faithful servant.’ I can only hope we carry her memory through giving to others as she did so often.”

Jones’ parting words were shared on Facebook and spoke to how she held life. “Lasting peace and joy do not come from our worldly endeavors, or the individual successes that we may attain to in our present circumstances. It is in that abiding sense of hope, that comes from deep within, that we are progressing toward something that is good and right…something essentially supernatural in scope, and in which, we know without doubt, that our eternal future is secure (author unknown).”

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Posted by Lainey Millen

Lainey Millen is QNotes' associate editor, special assignments writer, N.C. and U.S./World News Notes columnist and production director. She can be reached at specialassignments@goqnotes.com and 704-531-9988, x205.