Listen to Charlene Noblett talk about her parents, Rory and Hazel Masters, and you’re transported back in time.
It was a time when there were more farms than developments; when people looked out for one another; when hard work and the community good trumped just about everything else.
“They were the best parents God could have given any daughter,” Noblett says in a recent interview, sitting in the home her father built on Maple Drive. “They were just hard working, kind, honest people.”
On Jan. 27, Asheville City Council plans to honor the family by naming a new park in the Haw Creek community Masters Park.
Rory Masters, born in 1905, inherited land from Dr. Foster Sondley‘s estate and passed it along to his children. But a family member put up the park parcel for sale, and that’s when the community came together, according to the Haw Creek Community Association Newsletter.
Noblett says her father loved animals and nature and “cringed” at the thought of housing developments cropping up throughout the valley. He lost some of his land to the construction of the Blue Ridge Parkway, but was always thinking of the community and donated the property for the Haw Creek Volunteer Fire Department. Noblett says her mother was a steady force of strength for her father and the family.
“She was a very religious woman who read her Bible every night and loved to watch Billy Graham,” says Noblett’s son, Tom Noblett, of his grandmother. “She practiced her life that way by doing what was right.”
Naming the park for the Masters is a fitting recognition, says neighborhood activist Chris Pelly.
“The community has really come together” for the park, Pelly says, noting that the city of Asheville and Buncombe County each contributed $250,000 in taxpayer money to buy the land just up Maple Drive, with more than 200 local families contributing the rest to reach the $750,000 asking price.