Fund to support Town of Henderson memorializes Frances Powers

This post was updated in April 2024.

The Frances Abbot Burton Powers Fund was created to support the Town of Henderson in Vance County.

Frances Abbot Burton Powers

Frances Abbot Burton Powers was a native of Henderson, the Daughter of the late Kalford L. Burton and Ruth Abbot Burton. When she passed away in 2012, many said that she truly never met a stranger and anyone fortunate enough to come in contact with her could not help but be caught up in her enthusiasm and positive outlook on life. Frances attended Henderson High School, graduated from Hollins Preparatory School, attended Converse College and graduated from Peabody Conservatory of Music in Baltimore. While at Peabody, she was chosen to audition for a role in the movie, “Gone With the Wind.” She was a member of the first Girl Scout troop in Henderson and a lifelong member of First Baptist Church. Frances was active in politics and as a lifelong Democrat, was close friends with Lady Bird Johnson and maintained ties with her cousin, former President Jimmy Carter.

Powers (right) pictured with her cousin, former President Jimmy Carter and former First Lady the late Rosalynn Carter

She had many humorous sayings but would often recite one of her favorites: “What I got don’t need no pearls.” During the first grants ceremony, her husband, Preston Powers, was emotional talking about his late wife. “She loved everybody. If there were more people like Frances in the world, there wouldn’t be any wars and everybody would get along. She loved everybody, and I’m especially grateful she loved me.”

The endowment set up in her memory makes grant funds available for government entities and nonprofit organizations that benefit the Town of Henderson and have a physical location in Henderson. Since the first grants awarded in 2014, the fund has given over $170,000. 

Learn more about applying for grants from this fund.