In endowing the foundation, Mrs. Irene Harrison Strowd of Chapel Hill wished to honor the memory of her husband, Fletcher Eugene Strowd, by providing in perpetuity for the maintenance and care of the Gene Strowd Community Rose Garden (which he founded) and by funding projects and nonprofits that improve the quality of life for residents of Chapel Hill-Carrboro. Irene’s sister, Gladis Harrison Adams also left her estate to us.
Irene and Gene Strowd married in Danville in 1932. Following World War II they moved to Chapel Hill, where Gene joined in partnerships with Bernice Ward and Mabel Johnson to establish the Johnson, Strowd, Ward furniture store on Franklin Street. There he remained until his retirement in 1979.
The Strowds faithfully served the Chapel Hill community for a lifetime. They were committed to public service and to the welfare of their fellow men. As a successful businessman, Gene was an active member of the Chapel Hill Board of Alderman and the Board of Directors of the North Carolina National Bank. He was also a faithful member of the University United Methodist Church.
As a president of the Chapel Hill Rose Society, Gene planted beautiful gardens throughout the town for all to enjoy. Not only did he grow roses, he became a nationally recognized rosarian, whose expertise earned him the American Rose Society’s coveted Silver Honor Medal. While Gene grew the roses, Irene was the creative artist whose spectacular flower arrangements adorned countless homes, churches, hospitals and special events in Chapel Hill.
Throughout their marriage, Irene and Gene Strowd were a remarkable team who gave themselves to others. Together they had a dream. That dream – the fullest expression of their remarkable creativity – was realized in the creation of the Gene Strowd Community Rose Garden.