For sage advice on piloting life’s travails and joys, Dad’s got it covered.
by Michael J. Solender
As we navigate life’s unmarked side streets or celebrate mountainous achievements, many of us first turn to our dads to share the experience. Whether we call him Pops, Father, Padre or Daddy, he’s our trusted life-sherpa whose advice we seek, follow and revere. It’s his wise counsel we incorporate into our own advice canon to share with our children or others in our orbit.
My dad, for example, imparted a joy for life, and demonstrated how being generous with others and open to new experiences could be rewarding. When I became of age, he also schooled me on the perfect way to enjoy a martini — straight up, with an olive and a twist. His words resonate with me to this day.
Though June honors dads everywhere with their very own 24-hour holiday, these Charlotte notables keep their dads in their hearts every day of the year. Here are the lessons they most cherish.
Featured image: David E. and David B. Chadwick; Muggsy and Brittney Bogues; Felix and Tamu Curtis
David B. Chadwick
founder and CEO, RealResponse
David B. Chadwick, founder of the RealResponse feedback platform for college student athletes, enjoys a closeness with his father that was built early on through their shared love for basketball.
His dad, David E. Chadwick, senior and founding pastor at Charlotte’s Moments of Hope Church, had a storied athletic career at UNC Chapel Hill. Son David B. starred at Charlotte Latin in high school and went on to play at Rice and Valparaiso universities. And while Chadwick points to lessons from his dad through the lens of the hardwoods, he’s picked up many additional life lessons from him off the court.
“My time with my dad in adolescence, high school and college years was very much tied to basketball,” Chadwick says. “While I didn’t have the honor of playing at Carolina like he did, their [ethos] of ‘play hard, play smart and play together’ is something he continually preached to me. It had a significant influence on my approach to basketball, being a good teammate and beyond.”
When the younger Chadwick got married, his father told him a story about the night before his own wedding. “He asked my grandfather for the one piece of advice he’d share [to be a] good husband and father. My grandfather told him, ‘The best way to love your kids is to love their mom.’ That’s something that resonates with me to this day.”
His father also imparted parenting wisdom when David B. became a dad. “He told me that children spell love ‘T-I-M-E’ and to be thoughtful and intentional in spending time with my kids, because that’s what they care about most. One thing his dad said to him, and he said to me, and now I say to my kids is whenever they go out in public to remember not only who they are but also ‘whose’ they are. The idea of who they are revolves around them as individuals, and the notion of whose they are is they’re Chadwicks, and their behavior represents me and their mom — and there are expectations that accompany that.”
co-founder, Charlotte is Creative
Tim Miner’s father Ken has long been his best friend, coach and hero. When Ken Miner retired from his career in the Navy, he parlayed his project-management skills into similar roles in the corporate world. According to Tim, co-founder of Charlotte is Creative, regardless of how busy his father was with work, he always was available for quality time for him, his only child. It’s time Tim cherished growing up and revels in today as the two connect regularly.
“I learned and continue to learn so much from him,” Miner says. “But the lesson I come to over and over again is how to use uncertainty and fear of the unknown as motivation to stretch and grow.”
“Dad always said, ‘If you don’t wake up every day a bit afraid of the challenges that lie ahead, it might be time to move on from what you’re doing.’ He taught me how to lean into the anxiety I sometimes have and harness it to push through to success. He showed me [that] if things are too comfortable, there’s no challenge there. On the ballfield as a kid, he coached me and always reminded me if my uniform was clean, I likely hadn’t accomplished anything. ‘Go out and get your uniform dirty,’ he’d always say. That advice has stuck with me.”
founder, The Cocktailery
Anyone familiar with Tamu Curtis knows she’s a glass half full kind of person. Curtis, founder and owner of The Cocktailery, a cocktail supply and beverage lifestyle shop, says she gets her sunny disposition from her father.
Her dad, Felix Curtis, is a film historian and founder of the Classic Black Film Series at the Harvey B. Gantt Center for African American Arts + Culture. Felix Curtis moved to Charlotte in 2007 from the San Francisco Bay area; Tamu followed him in 2012.
“Dad’s taught me to be optimistic and know that there is always a solution to every problem,” Curtis says. “He’s always so calm and even keel. He’s not easily rattled. That’s a trait he’s helped me develop over the years.”
“Years ago, when I lived in southern California, there was a series of traumatic events that occurred very close to me, only two days apart. There was a bad car accident that killed several pedestrians, and a small plane crashed one apartment over from where I lived at the time. I was very shaken up and shared my anxiety about even leaving the house with Dad. He paused and told me to go out and buy a lottery ticket. With that advice, he showed me the next freak occurrence could be a positive one. It was brilliant and helped me see there’s always another perspective.”
R. Glenn Sherrill Jr.
chairman and CEO, SteelFab
“A very early lesson, one of so very many I learned from my father, is how gracious and nice he was and how to treat people with respect,” says Glenn Sherrill Jr., chairman and CEO of SteelFab, one of the country’s largest steel fabricators. “He treated everyone he dealt with, from a server in a restaurant, to a building developer he was selling steel to, with respect and how he wanted to be treated.”
Glenn Sherrill grew up in the family business and in 2017 succeeded his father, Ronnie, who led the company for many years before retiring as chairman emeritus. R. Glenn “Ronnie” Sherrill Sr. passed away in 2021.
“When I began working, I strived to emulate him — he was such a wonderful role model. In business, he taught me to always do the right thing, even if it cost us money. There may have been a situation where a decision might be costly in the short term, yet was the right call to maintain a long-term relationship — there was never a question what to do.”
When his father became ill, Glenn recalls his father telling him, “Glenn, I love our business, but I love the people we work with even more. Do not ever sell it.”
At the end of the workday, he and his father (pictured right and center, with Glenn’s brother Stuart, left, on a golf trip to Scotland) knew how to enjoy themselves as well. “As I reflect back on all the good times I had with my dad — skiing when he was younger, playing golf, working together and traveling together — that conversation keeps me wanting to go to work every day.”
founder, Bogues Group
Brittney Bogues was born in 1987 — the same year her father, Muggsy Bogues, was drafted into the NBA. For Bogues, founder and chief innovation officer for Bogues Group, a Charlotte events and marketing firm, growing up with a dad who was always in the spotlight seemed perfectly normal. “I knew things were a bit different attention-wise for my dad,” says Bogues, “but my parents kept us very grounded and as close to normal as possible.”
Lessons from her father, an immensely popular guard for 10 years with the Charlotte Hornets, were learned over time. She often saw his values in action in the way he interacted with others, including zealous fans and complete strangers. “He always treats everyone with incredible kindness,” Bogues says. “I recall we came home after being out to find a family waiting outside our house. They had experienced some misfortune and were there to ask for [financial] help. After hearing their story, Dad didn’t even hesitate in helping with some cash for them. He is the living embodiment of kindness.”
Brittney’s father also encouraged her to believe in herself and her abilities. “So many people told him he was too short to play in the NBA,” Bogues says. “It was his confidence and belief in himself that fueled his success. He’s shown me and many others, including our mutual friend, Wake Forest alum and NBA star Ish Smith, to be our own champions. I hear stories all the time from people who tell how motivated and inspired they are by Muggsy and what he’s been able to accomplish, on and off the court. It’s heartwarming.”
Former ER physician and novelist Kimmery Martin recalls her father as a Renaissance man — and someone who taught her that logic and emotion are not mutually exclusive.
Her dad, Richard Martin, designed and built energy-efficient, affordable homes in eastern Kentucky. “He was funny and caring and could figure out most anything,” Martin says. “He was a relentlessly logical genius, but despite his nerd status, he was also funny. When I was little, he’d perform elaborate practical jokes and leave biting, sarcastic signs around the house when I failed to do chores.”
“He was also my person. No event went unheralded by a letter from Dad: He wrote after every academic achievement, every wretched boyfriend breakup, every little triumph and disappointment. Each time I moved, he’d drive hundreds of miles to haul my stuff and hand-build me furniture. When a troll I’d been dating dumped me for somebody prettier, he sent me a 10-page letter detailing his own romantic misadventures in college. He asked my opinion about geopolitics and physics and human rights and economics and history.”
Martin revered her father. And though he passed away 11 years ago, he’s never far from her thoughts and always in her heart.
“It would be hard to overstate the impact of my father’s unconditional love,” Martin says. “What greater blessing could a parent ever give their child?”
journalist and co-anchor, WSOC-TV
For Erica Bryant, the behavior her father, David Hankerson, modeled for her growing up is a lifelong source of inspiration, admiration and learning. Bryant, an Emmy award-winning journalist and co-anchor at WSOC-TV, grew up in Marietta, Ga., and saw how hard work and determination led her father to many accomplishments.
“What stands out to me about my father,” Bryant says, “is the way he’s lived his life and all that he’s accomplished. He’s the son of a sharecropper from Waynesboro, Ga., where he grew up on a farm — one he went on to own. He served in the military and used the GI Bill to go to college and get his degree in agronomy. He then worked in soil conservation for Cobb County (Ga.) and served for more than 24 years as the county manager there.”
Bryant finds it captivating to see how people use their talent and skills to move along life’s journey. “I’m always intrigued with how someone can go from one place in life to another and have the vision and drive to do that,” she says. “For my dad to go from such humble beginnings, growing up in a farmhouse with dirt floors, to accomplish so much, taught me nothing can substitute or replace the value of hard work. He also taught me that your word is your bond. Those are two lessons I learned by watching him.”
founder, Caroline Calouche & Co.
“One important lesson I’ve learned from my dad is how to value spontaneity,” says Gastonia native Caroline Calouche, founder and artistic director of the eponymous nonprofit dance and aerial circus troupe, Caroline Calouche & Co. Her father, Samir Calouche, is an environmental engineer.
At her wedding in 2011, Calouche recalls, the traditional father/daughter dance the two had prepared for didn’t exactly go as planned. “The song was the Nat King Cole duet with his daughter Natalie, ‘Unforgettable.’ We’d practiced and timed it all out. But when the time came, my dad kept adding twirls and dips, and when the music ran out [he] had the DJ replay it so we could continue dancing. It was warm and fun and memorable. He is so much fun with a quirky sense of humor — all good lessons for me.”
Calouche said her dad recognized she had a head for business early on and encouraged her to work for herself. “I don’t think he saw circus arts in my future,” she says. “But he knew I should be my own boss and follow my passion. That’s a wonderful thing to learn — to never give up chasing your dream.” SP