Area native President Emeritus of A-B Tech passes

This Special to the Tribune

Asheville – Harvey Lee Haynes, President Emeritus of Asheville-Buncombe Technical Community College and a native of the Reems Creek valley, died on Sunday, January 12, after a brief illness.

Haynes was born on September 21, 1930, a Sunday morning, high up in the Reems Creek valley. He was the only child of the late Nathaniel “Dan” Haynes and Betty Lou Penland. He was a descendent of the very early settlers (1796) in the Beech community.

After graduating from Weaverville High School, he joined the US Air Force and went on active duty. Upon completing active duty, he entered Asheville Biltmore College and was recalled to active duty at the beginning of the Korean conflict and was assigned to the 20th Fighter Wing. After being released from active duty, he reentered Asheville Biltmore College and played both baseball and football. He transferred to Western Carolina College and after graduating, he accepted a position at the newly consolidated North Buncombe High School, where he coached three sports.

After one year of teaching, he joined the Outdoor Lighting Division of General Electric. In addition to working as a product designer, he was assigned to teach tool and dye apprentices and that experience led to his interest in adult education. He applied for a position with the Asheville Industrial Center. It was his responsibility to visit high schools in the state’s 14 western counties, since high school students would be admitted on a half-day schedule. It was also his responsibility to develop the curricula for the center program.

In the fall of 1961, he was invited to Greenville, South Carolina to open the first technical education center for the state, now known as Greenville Tech. After completing construction and staffing, the center opened for students and he returned to the Asheville Industrial Center prior to the passing of the Community College Act for the state. He worked for the next fifteen years as the academic officer. In September 1975, he was elected president of Asheville-Buncombe Technical Institute.

After retirement, he served for 16 years as a member of the Board of Trustees. He also served as the director of Western Carolina Tomorrow and as interim-president of Southwestern Community College.

He was a long-time member of the Masonic Order, a member of the American Legion, and a member of the US Air Force Association. He received many honors including the “Big A” Award from the Chamber of Commerce, the Manufacturer’s Executive Award, and the National Leadership Award from the University of Texas.

The Buncombe County Commissioners named June 30, 1990, Harvey Haynes Day and the Governor of South Carolina named a day in his honor for his work at Greenville TEC. One of his greatest honors came when the State Board of Education asked that he be relieved of his work at AB-Tech for a time to develop and present a program concerning economic development to the Community College Presidents. He received the Distinguish Alumni Award from Western Carolina University in 1990.

Over the years, he completed additional graduate studies at Western Carolina University, Appalachian State University, and NC State University. He grew up in the Beech Presbyterian Church, was a long-time member of Oak Forest Presbyterian Church in Enka, and was presently a member of the First Presbyterian Church of Asheville. He was ordained as a Deacon and ruling Elder and taught Sunday School for many years.

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