BREVARD - Cynthia Parker Platt, 65, passed away unexpectedly in her home Wednesday, July 24, 2013.
She was born on September 2, 1947, in Atlanta, Ga., to the late Jean Stridde Parker and James Alfred Parker. She graduated from D'Youville Academy in Atlanta in 1965, attended Queens College in Charlotte, N.C., and in 1969 received her BA in Psychology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. On August 23, 1969, Cindy married her high school sweetheart, Alfred F. Platt, Jr., and moved to Valentines, Va., where she worked in a special education classroom in nearby Roanoke Rapids, N.C. In 1971, she began graduate studies in Guidance and Counseling at NC State University before withdrawing in order to begin raising her family.
In 1975, she and her family moved to Brevard, N.C., and soon she began serving on the 4-C Board (Transylvania County Citizens Concerned for Children). During a brief relocation to the coast, she co-founded and served as president of the Parents' Community Preschool in Wilmington, N.C. Thus began a lifetime of activism on behalf of children and families.
Upon her return to the mountains in 1982, Platt began to participate in the organization and direction of many area non-profits. As a director of the Transylvania County Arts Council she co-founded the Arts in the Schools Program in 1984 and, in 1999, the Number 7 Arts Fine Arts Cooperative. She was co-founder of the Children's Center in 1991 and, in 1996, the Whitewater Group Home for Children. That same year, along with her late friend and actress, Pat Fuliehan, Platt conceived and organized the Chameleons, an "issue-based, teen drama group," serving as hostess and snack lady during its run of several years. In 2000 she became the first Chairman of the Child and Family Coalition Commission of Transylvania County.
In 1995, Platt was elected to the first of two terms on the Brevard City Council, serving as Mayor Pro Tem from 1999 to 2003. As an elected official, her focus remained on children and their families. Always working with, through, and sometimes around others, she helped conceive and create many important community resources, including "The Big Play" redevelopment of Franklin Park playground and pool, the rescue and reopening of the Coed Theater, the establishment of Brevard's bike/hike path, the renovation of old city hall, and the development of the "Focus 20/20" community planning process.
As her council tenure was winding down, Platt began, in the company of a group of local youth advocates, to explore the idea of a Boys & Girls Club in Transylvania County. In 2000, a club serving 30 youths a day, from three schools, opened in the Mary C. Jenkins Community Center. Today, in the renovated and expanded former Gallimore Rd. Medical Center, the Boys & Girls Club of Transylvania County serves 200 members daily from all the county schools with a staff of 23 persons offering over 27 youth development programs. Platt, along with some of her dear friends, could be found every Tuesday afternoon at Gravy, the downtown emporium founded to support the club, where she was part-time shopkeeper and sock lady. "Something Pleasing and Unexpected" is Gravy's tag line, which many would consider an apt description of an encounter with Platt. On September 13-14, 2013, in support of the Boys & Girls Club, the Eighth Annual Mountain Song Festival will be presented at the Brevard Music Center. The Festival fulfills Platt's vision of a celebration of children, family, community, and the other great love of her life, music.
Locally, Platt was the recipient of the 2001 AAUW Women Who Make A Difference Award and the 2005 Brevard/Transylvania Chamber of Commerce Esther Wesley Citizenship Award. In 2008 she was named Board Member of the Year by the North Carolina Area Council of the Boys & Girls Clubs of America. In 2005 she received the Boys & Girls Clubs of America National Medallion.
Platt was preceded in death by her parents and by a sister, Jamie Elizabeth Parker. She is survived by her husband of 43 years, Alfred F. Platt, Jr.; three children and their spouses, Parker J. and Susan B. Platt, Megan P. and Christian T. McLauchlin, and Alfred F. (Woody) Platt, III and Shannon O. Whitworth, all of Brevard; two very beloved grandchildren, Noah Parker McLauchlin and Luke Robert McLauchlin, of Brevard; and her sister, Pamela Parker Parkhurst, and Thomas Harris of Amherst, Mass.
At 11 a.m. on Wednesday, July 31, 2013, a memorial will be held at Brevard College's Paul Porter Center to celebrate the life and spirit of this extraordinary woman, whose patient and caring attention to others expanded the possibilities of joy for everyone around her. The family will receive friends in the Scott Commons at the Porter Center and a luncheon will be offered to all guests.
Memorials may be made to the Boys & Girls Club of Transylvania County, P.O. Box 1360, Brevard, NC. www.bgctransylvania.org.
On-line condolences may be sent to www.moodyconnollyfuneralhome.com.
Published in The Times-News on July 30, 2013