A friend of a friend-Karen Granger and Bebe Bollinger- April 29

One thing I have learned is that good friends have other good friends. This is a series of stories about “friends of my friends”. The post below is the story for April 29, 2015.

My goal in 2015 is to learn or get re-acquainted with 365 people and doing a daily post on the “the friend of a friend” is helping me get closer to my goal.

Last Friday the youngest of our five children Mack attended the Lumberton NC HS prom. His date for the event was the sister of one of his best friends. A friend he has known since he was three years old. His friend’s name is Drew and his sister is Mollie. Drew and Mollie are the two oldest out of four children belonging to Bebe and Stevie Bollinger.

Prom pictures below of the Bollingers:

Mollie Bollinger with Mack Kenney

Mack and Mollie

Drew Bollinger with Raegan Santana Reeves

Drew and Reagan

Mack Prom

I met Bebe Bollinger under some pretty unusual circumstances. In 2001 I had settled into my career as athletic director and was beginning to enjoy doing things as a parent I have never experienced as a dad before. With our four oldest children I was a college basketball coach and my wife was the one who got to watch our four oldest do sports, dances, gymnastic meets, and school awards. I showed up one Saturday morning in 2001 to watch my three-year old son play soccer with some other 4 and 5-year-old boys. My wife had convinced the recreation director that his birthday was so close to the 4-year-old cut-off to let him play. So there I was sitting on the grass just being a spectator and enjoying it. As the warm-ups began prior to the first game starting I noticed Mack had two young moms coaching the team. I want to stress that I am using the word coaching loosely. The two moms were Bebe Bollinger and Megan Ward. I want to be kind but Bebe and Megan had been told that there weren’t enough coaches for their sons to play so they volunteered to be coaches so their boys could play. Bebe and Megan were like two lost balls in the high weeds they were out of their element.

My wife overheard one of the other parents say can’t one of the dads help those two. My wife uttered the words I actually dreaded hearing at the time “my husband is a former college coach.” That was all it took for Bebe and Megan they heard college coach and came over and asked if I would help.  I said yes and that is how I got to know Bebe Bollinger. Over time the friendship has strengthen thru the bonds formed between her son Drew and our son Mack. Drew is a senior who will attend the University of South Carolina in the fall on an academic scholarship. He is bright young man with a great future.

Drew and Mack have been part of a group of six friends that Bebe has served as a second mom to.

Those six friends depicted as 9th graders can be seen below (l-r) Hayden Martin, Jace Ward, Raleigh Forrest, Will Everitt, Mack Kenney, and Drew Bollinger.

Macks Friends 9th grade

Bebe Bollinger is the definition of a mom and wife that multi-tasks. Her four children range in age from preschool to high school. Next year her range will go from kindergarten to college. She doesn’t just give to her family, our community and church benefit from her service centered heart. She has been a fixture on summer youth mission trips. Bebe has chaperoned a number of church winter ski trips for the youth. If there is a cause at First Presbyterian Church in Lumberton she is supporting it.

On top of all that she is a very creative person. Her artistic abilities bodes well with her friend and neighbor Karen Granger.

The Friend- Bebe Bollinger

Bebe II


The Friend of the Friend-Karen Granger

Karen and her husband James Granger

Karen and James

Karen in middle with Bebe 2nd from right

Karen and Bebe

Artists on the same block

Sometimes couples get connected in a lot of different ways. Sometimes the women bond, sometimes the men bond, and if your are lucky everyone bonds. That has occurred with the friendship between the Grangers and Bollingers.

They have not always been neighbors but they have been friends for a long time. Stevie Bollinger and James Granger share a passion for football and both have been gigantic supporters of youth football in Lumberton. They were both founding members of the Lumberton Youth Football Association. When the Grangers sold their house on Chestnut Street in Lumberton and moved across the street from the Bollinger’s that took the friendship to a another level.

Karen grew up  in Lumberton, N.C. as did Stevie and Bebe. Karen Granger went to college in South Carolina and received a Bachelor of Arts in studio arts from Converse College. She continued her education and received a Master of Arts in art education from the University of Georgia. While at UGA, she coordinated symposiums for gifted students for the Georgia Museum of Art. In 2004 she came to work at the University of North Carolina at Pembroke to direct the NC Teaching Fellows Program. Prior to 2004 Karen taught art at Orrum Middle School, where she won a Bright Ideas grant from Lumbee River Electric Membership Corporation for a project that wove the threads of Robeson County history into a quilt. She also worked with the Public Schools of Robeson County’s Very Special Arts program.

I got to know Karen very well when we both served on non-profit boards together. She was a member of the Board of Directors of the Robeson County Communities in Schools and  also served as Special Events Chairperson for the Robeson Road Runners Rumba on the Lumber and Chevy to the Levee road races and festivals. I will never forget the apple pies she arranged to have at one of our Chevy to Levee events.

Today Karen serves as Program Coordinator AIG Add-On Licensure at UNC Pembroke. Her and husband James have two children that keep the neighborhood hopping along with the Bollinger’s. Glad to see that football loving husbands and artistic wives can find happiness as friends.

Maybe Bebe wasn’t going to make it as a coach but she is a world class mom and friend.

One comment

  1. Diane Councilman · · Reply

    I am very proud of my niece. She is and always has been the epitomy of a truly beautiful person. So happy for this wonderful recognition for her.

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