A man who had no children of his own, who could not himself afford to go to college, has made it possible for hundreds of younger people and adults to attend college.
Royal Ware Sands died in 1980, survived by three sisters. His will established a trust for his sisters and directed the remainder of his estate to go to Main Street United Methodist Church, following the death of his last sister.
“While growing up, I never had the chance to attend a summer camp nor did I have the luxury of receiving a college education,” Mr Sands stated in his will. “Therefore, I desire to help some people enjoy some of the opportunities that I did not have.”
Mr. Sands and his late wife Claire had been members of Main Street United Methodist Church for many years, so he turned to the church to carry out his wishes.
His will directed the church trustees to create a “Claire Huneycutt Sands Memorial Scholarship Fund to provide scholarships for the children of Methodist families in the Reidsville vicinity to attend summer camps within the State of North Carolina and to attend institutions of higher learning within the State of North Carolina.”
When Mr. Sands’ last sister died in 1995 and the estate was received by the church, the trustees began the task of developing guidelines to implement the philanthropist’s wishes.
The first Claire Huneycutt Sands Memorial scholarships were awarded in the spring of 1996. By the spring of 1997, 100 college students had been helped by the memorial. In addition, 66 children and young people attended summer camps in the first year.
A World War I Navy veteran, Royal Ware Sands was organizer and director of the Reidsville Tobacco Market and retired as plant manager from the American Tobacco Company Leaf Department. He served as a director of the First National Bank, as chairman of the board of directors for Annie Penn Hospital, and as a member of the board of stewards of his church.
A man who lived and worked in a small town all his life, who served his community in many ways while alive, has honored his wife in a way that neither will be forgotten.
Royal Ware and Claire Huneycutt Sands will be remembered by hundreds of people for their legacy of hope for a better future.
To date, through Mr. Sands’ generosity, Main Street has awarded over $4 million in scholarships for higher education in North Carolina institutions and summer camp programs for United Methodists living in the Reidsville area.