A friend of a friend-John Nicholson-Phil Marion-September 16


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 September 16, 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.

I have touched on the topic before but the people we love or hold in high esteem may physically leave us, our communities, our schools, or the workplace. That loss doesn’t diminish you thinking about them. Events over the past two weeks have reinforced that doing a daily blog is good for my soul. Writing about special people whether I see them often, or infrequent, or never again is good therapy.

September has been hard because not only have I lost someone close to me but I continue to hear about “friends” and “friends of my friends” battling some serious medical, emotional, and physical conditions. It is painful dealing with loss.

The opposite of lost is found. Finding something you haven’t seen in a while for instance can be joyful. One example is reconnecting with a friend. “A friend of a friend” is all about that.

I don’t ignore the bad news that my friends are dealing with but I must confess that no matter how down I have gotten the past couple of weeks I am still optimistic I can find good news. I just keep looking for it and it always appears.

Case in point is last week a man that did a lot for Lumberton, NC when he lived in the community stopped by at UNC Pembroke. His name is Phil Marion and he is currently the President of the Southeast Region for BB&T Bank. The bank’s Southeast Region comprises New Han­over, Brunswick, Duplin, Sampson, Bladen, Onslow, Columbus and Robeson counties. Phil in his role today continues to make sure that BB&T supports a lot of good causes in Southeast North Carolina including UNC Pembroke.

Phil has more than 33 years of banking experience with most of it all associated with BB&T. He joined BB&T in 1985, and has served as a business services officer in Raleigh and the Piedmont region in Winston-Salem, corporate banker for the Piedmont Region and city executive for Lumberton.

Phil was very involved in Lumberton, NC when he lived here and made lots of friends. Phil has not stopped being involved and recently just finished serving a four year term on the Board of Trustees of the University of North Carolina Wilmington. He has a long history of community service in Southeast North Carolina, including volunteering with the Cape Fear Council of Boy Scouts, Greater Wilmington Chamber of Commerce and Cape Fear Area United Way.

While he was in Lumberton he became friends with another dynamic business leader John Nicholson who served as General Manager of Belk’s Department Store in Lumberton, NC.

The Friend-PHIL MARION

Phil Marion

The Friend of the Friend-JOHN NICHOLSON

John Nicholson

Two Lumberton Leaders

John Nicholson spent a large part of his professional career in Lumberton working at Belk’s in Biggs Park Mall. During his time in Robeson County he worked to stay involved. If you have been around John you know that he is going to bring some excitement and enthusiasm to anything he undertakes.

In 1989 he was part of the UNC Pembroke Board of Trustees while I was serving as Head Basketball Coach and he always was supportive of our athletic program. He enjoyed playing a round of golf out at Pinecrest CC and being with his friends.

Today John is retired and he and his wife Terry live at Sunset Beach, NC.

I know that Lumberton, NC may think we have LOST Phil Marion and John Nicholson physically to our community since they moved on. What we didn’t lose as a community when Phil and John left were the contributions they made as leaders while they were here. What we didn’t lose is their friendship and support even if it is from afar.

I am glad that I got to reconnect with both of them in the past week. Seeing Phil on campus and sharing birthday wishes with John via Social Media.

Reconnecting is a real good feeling to find when you are experiencing loss.

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