Friends of the North Carolina Room Board Members

Phillip Blocklyn

Phillip Blocklyn worked on Long Island as a publisher’s sales representative, antiquarian bookseller, librarian, archivist, and historical society director before finally retiring to Asheville in 2017. Now he enjoys volunteer work in the open air for several environmental conservation organizations, hiking in all seasons, and studying the historical development of libraries in the Asheville area. Regular visits to the North Carolina Room help him maintain faith in the transformative power of community collections.

Philip has previously served on the boards of the Friends of the Oyster Bay Public Library, Friends of Sagamore Hill National Historic Site, Long Island Museum Association, Oyster Bay Historical Society, and Theodore Roosevelt Legacy Partnership.

Jon Elliston is an Asheville based journalist and historian and a long-time user and devotee of the North Carolina Room.

Jon Elliston

Sharon Fahrer is a  recovered  New Yorker with a background in geography and urban planning. She and her husband  were drawn to Asheville 22 years ago by its wonderful historic neighborhoods.  She co-founded History@Hand with Jan Schochet when they set out to reveal the history of Jewish businesses in downtown Asheville from 1880-1990 in their exhibit titled  The Family Store. This sparked her mission to encourage families and institutions to donate material to our local archives which remains her passion.

Sharon Fahrer
Roy Harris

Roy Harris, Industrial Engineer, retired from Meritor Inc., is on the Board of Directors of the Y.M.I, and is a storyteller, being also on the Board of Directors and past President of the Asheville Storytelling Circle. Roy is from the eastern part of North Carolina and moved to Asheville in 1984. Green Opportunities (GO) honored Roy in 2016 as Volunteer of the Year, for his work as a regular volunteer and contributor to both Southside Kitchen and the Southside Community Garden. If you do so much as nod at Roy in passing on the street, he will ask you how your day is, and then he will ask you to tell him your story.

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Louise Maret

Louise Maret has worked as a researcher in primatology, botany, and public health. As a writer, she has been involved in several training and educational projects, most recently as co-author of a college-level humanities webtext,The Search For Meaning and Value. After living in New York, Ohio, Vermont, and Georgia, she moved to Asheville in 1988 and settled in Lakeview Park where she raised two children and a variety of plants and animals. While at Pack Library one day, she found the North Carolina Room–“where I became immediately entranced.”

Joe Newman

Joe Newman is a retired educator living happily in North Asheville.  A native of Decatur, Georgia, he received a B.A. in English Literature from Emory University.  After teaching high school English in the Gwinnett County, Georgia, public schools, he did graduate studies at Georgia State University and received a Ph.D. in Educational Foundations with a concentration in the History of American Education.  Joe taught for 29 years in the College of Education at the University of South Alabama and stayed busy with teaching, research, and professional associations.  In 2006 he and his wife Wanda retired to Asheville, where both took active roles in the Montford Neighborhood Association.  Joe served for six years as editor of the Montford Newsletter, a job that has led to collaborating with Zoe Rhine and others on a variety of local history projects. Most recently he worked on the successful campaign to rename the Montford Recreation Center for Tempie Avery, the freed slave who became one of Asheville’s most esteemed nurses and midwives.

Jennifer C. Vogel is originally from Southern Pines, N.C. She graduated from UNC-Chapel Hill with a B.S. in Journalism and received an M.S. from Columbia Journalism School. She has worked as a reporter on several newspapers in N.C. and won the N.C. Press Association Award for News Writing in 1978. Her career includes work as an editor and in public relations before becoming a realtor in New Jersey and now at Beverly-Hanks, Associates in Asheville.

Currently, she is on the advisory board for the Center for the Study of the American South at UNC-Chapel Hill, and a strong supporter of its oral history program. She co-chairs the grants committee at Grace Covenant Presbyterian Church, which has a strong focus on racial justice. Jennifer also volunteers as an author presenter at the Carolina Mountains Literary Festival in Burnsville. She is a bookworm at heart!

Terry Taylor
Terry Taylor

Terry Taylor is as close to a native as one can be without being born in a Buncombe County hospital. His grandparents and parents both hail from the Billy Cove in Candler and the Big Sandy Mush community. He’s lived in the mountains of WNC since 1964 except for a decade in Durham County’s rolling piedmont.  After careers in special education and craft book publishing (both authoring and editing), he earned a diploma in Jewelry from the Professional Crafts Program at Haywood Community College. He lives and has a studio just outside of Asheville’s city limits.

Janis Wolff

Jan came to Asheville in 1991 with her recently acquired Bachelor’s Degree, 1984 Ford Bronco, and fiance. After a few months of decorating Christmas trees for places like the Blake House and some private Biltmore Forest homes, she moved on to the Grove Park Inn as a Front Desk agent. Three months later she was offered a position as an Admission Counselor at Warren Wilson College. Most recently, she has worked at the Biltmore Estate as a harvest worker and now as a wine server…while enrolled in two graduate programs (the MLIS Program at UNCG and the Museum Studies Program at Harvard-both online of course).

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Janis Wolff

Jan’s love of history didn’t just begin one day with a book or favorite teacher. It’s always been there, and it’s always been a struggle because no one in her family likes talking about the past, theirs or otherwise. This made Jan all the more determined to ask other relatives what they knew. Stories of moonshine and turpentine were prominent on her Dad’s side, but then her Mom’s Aunt Kitty gave her a family tree, and she’s been looking back at that tree, and making new discoveries ever since. Planning a trip to England in 2006, she decided to find some of those ancestors herself, and now she brakes for graveyards and historical markers pretty much wherever she goes. Now a member of the American Association of Professional Genealogists, she began Look Homeward Ancestry in September, and is currently working on the Irish immigrant Ancestors of her first client. A trip to Ireland seems to be the only solution.

Married nearly 23 years. Two daughters at AC Reynolds HS, Abby and Callie. I play golf and I play at gardening. I’m an Aquarius.

The first board met December 17, 2013. Meetings are held every other month on the third Wednesday.

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