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John Hope loved Mt. Holly

Feb 13, 2020 11:01AM

John Hope

By Alan Hodge

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The late John Hope made a big impact on Mt. Holly before he passed away on June 28, 2016 at the age of 63.

Hope was a long time City of Mt. Holly employee. In 2005 he received the 15 year award from the City. In 2006 the City of Mount Holly presented him with the Community Award and in 2014 he was the recipient of the City of Mount Holly’s Lifetime Achievement Award and Key to the City. 

He was born in Mecklenburg County, son of the late Robert and Zelma Anderson Hope. He was a member of the Kappa Fraternity, and an inductee in the Mount Holly Sports Hall of Fame. As 2011 Mount Holly Man of the Year and a former Grand Marshall of the Mount Holly Christmas Parade, Mr. Hope was an active and vital member of the Mount Holly Community. He served as treasurer of the Gaston County Democratic Party and Board of Directors member of the Mount Holly Community Relief Organization (CRO) Board of Directors. He was a former recipient of Gaston County’s Organization of Community Concerns Award in recognition and appreciation for his many years of service to the community. Hope was  active in the Community Relief Organization as well as the Mount Holly Historical Society. 

Hope was also one of the founders of the Black History Forum that chronicles and celebrates the city’s African-American Heritage. The Black History Forum  started out with just a few members but now its annual banquet packs the Grand Hall at the Municipal Complex. Hope called the Black History Forum his “baby”.

Hope grew up in Mount Holly and attended Rollins School. He went on to graduate St. Augustine University in Raleigh.

A hard blow fell on Hope in 1996 when he suffered kidney failure. A 1999 transplant failed in 2006 and he had to go to dialysis several times a week while looking for another donor.  Hope turned that lemon into lemonade by working with the Kidney Foundation giving lectures on how to not only survive, but thrive under those health conditions.

Mt. Holly city manager recalled Hope and his legacy.

“John Hope worked for the City of Mount Holly 18 years before he retired,” Jackson said. “Therefore, our relationship began in the workplace, even with me being his supervisor for a number of years. In the workplace John was a valued employee, who could be counted on to do a great job. He took pride in going beyond the call of duty. It’s nice as a supervisor to have an employee that you don’t have checked on to make sure they are doing the right thing for the company. John was really community conscious and loved Mount Holly, which was his home. The same traits described above are the same traits exhibited in his community service. John can rest in peace knowing that he dedicated himself to help make Mount Holly a better place through his service.”