Announcing the Fall 2015 Class of Asheville Living Treasures

Clark Olsen

is 82 and a Unitarian Universalist minister.  In 1965, he was gifted by his Berkeley, California, congregation to travel to Selma, Alabama, in response to Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s call to clergy to join him. It was there, on the evening March 09, 1965, that Olsen and two ministerial colleagues were attacked and beaten by racist thugs; Rev. James Reeb died of his injuries. Later, Olsen became a staunch advocate for civil rights and racial justice.  He joined other civil rights veterans and toured the South with church and school groups in an effort to assure that lessons learned from the period were not lost.

O. L Sherrill

is 85 and has lived in Black Mountain since 1962. He had an illustrious 27-year career as a teacher and administrator with Asheville City Schools where he was a father figure and mentor to hundreds of young people. He spent most of his adult life spreading the message of education and the doors that it will open. He has served in a leadership capacity on numerous boards and committees. Sherrill’s focus and commitment to improved race relations has influenced many of Asheville’s prominent leaders for over 40 years.

Oralene Simmons

is 75 and grew-up in a home where the focus was on civil rights and social equality. In the 1960’s, she was a founder of ASCORE (Asheville Student Committee on Racial Equality), the student group at all-black Stephens-Lee High School that worked for racial integration in the city. Simmons is perhaps best known for her work as founder and chair of the Asheville Buncombe Martin Luther King, Jr. Association Prayer Breakfast where, for over 30 years, she has mentored youth and raised money for academic scholarships.

Join us in honoring our fall class of Asheville Living Treasures

 Sunday October 25th, 2015


At the Osher Life Long Learning Institute at UNC Asheville

 Welcome to Asheville Living Treasures

 We are an all volunteer organization dedicated to honoring elders in the Asheville and Buncombe County area who have shaped our community and helped make it a better place to live. We collect the oral histories of our treasures and catalog them in the Ramsey Library at the University of North Carolina Asheville. Living treasures are honored at the Osher Life Long Learning Institute (OLLI) in the Reuter Center at UNCA.

We rely on nominations from the community to recognize our elders who have made a difference. Our treasures are friends, neighbors, co-workers and family members from all walks of life. Do you know an Asheville Living Treasure? Learn more about nominating here.

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”
– Margaret Mead