The stories flowed easily from friends, pastors and family members of the late Conrad Burrell on Tuesday afternoon at Southwestern Community College.
They spoke of his service to citizens, his dedication to family, his overall kindness, friendliness and attention to detail. Each one of the five speakers at a ceremony to dedicate a section of N.C. 107 in his honor shared a story of how Burrell helped not just them, but all citizens in Western North Carolina.
The N.C. Board of Transportation unanimously adopted a resolution this spring dedicating N.C. 107 between Moody Bridge Road and Old Cullowhee Road as the Conrad G. Burrell Highway.
On Tuesday afternoon, NCDOT staff unveiled the signs along the highway eight miles from the college campus where everybody gathered in the building named for Burrell.
“His determination has made all of Western North Carolina a better place because of his long-term, unquestionable commitment to service,” said Brian McMahan, chairman of the Jackson County Board of Commissioners. “When I think of Conrad, I think of a man who loved these old mountains, who loved the people of these old mountains and loved all that he did.”
Burrell, who passed away in 2019, lived a life full of public service, specifically to the citizens of Jackson County. He served as Register of Deeds for 24 years. He served on the N.C Board of Transportation, the Jackson County Board of Commissioners, SCC Board of Trustees, the Rotary Club of Sylva, and other boards as well.
The highway naming application packet included letters from Glenn Ubertino of the Cashiers Chamber of Commerce; Don Thomas of Southwestern Community College; and Mike Wade of the Sylva Rotary Club. The Jackson County Board of Commissioners unanimously requested the highway dedication
The speakers Tuesday included Thomas; Jackson County Board of Commissioners Chairman Brian McMahan; Burrell’s friends Jimmie Stewart and Johnny Phillips; Burrell’s daughter Karen Burrell Herron; all preceding a long benediction from Burrell’s nephew Rev. Dennis Burrell.
“I could go on and on with stories, but the point is that my Dad always included me in his life,” Herron said. “He was an incredible Dad. He always taught me what a good man is.”