James E. and Lelia N. Essic Scholarship
James and Lelia Essic met while attending college at Appalachian State University, where he studied History and she majored in Home Economics. After they married, James went on to work in the accounting department at R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company for over 40 years, and Lelia became a teacher, although not in the usual way. For over 20 years, she taught academically gifted children during the summer, and worked with emotionally children during the winter.
James and Lelia made their home in Davie County, living together in their home on Cana Road for over 50 years. They were happy to have a large family consisting of four children, seven grandchildren, and five great-grandchildren. All of their children and grandchildren are college graduates, and James and Lelia were proud of the fact that their children and grandchildren were all gainfully employed and active in their local churches.
When James and Lelia found themselves with three children in college at the same time, their thoughts turned to other families in similar situations who might need and appreciate some financial assistance. They began their scholarship program in 1989, and since then, over 200 deserving students have received Essic scholarships totaling over $140,000, with many students receiving awards over multiple school years.
James passed away in 2010, and Lelia in 2021, but during their lives they both considered themselves richly blessed. They both considered their children and extended family to be their greatest legacy, but they took much joy and satisfaction from helping their scholarship recipients through the years. They considered the Essic scholarship to be one of their most worthwhile investments, and their descendants are proud of the impact they continue to have on the community they loved so much.
The James E. and Lelia N. Essic Scholarship is available to high school seniors or college students demonstrating financial need.