Cecil Foard

Obituary of Cecil Jerome Foard

Cecil Jerome Foard, known to all as Zeke from his youth, passed away in his residence in Charlotte, on March 23, 2024.

Born April 30, 1931, he was the youngest of three children born to Al Burtis and Aline (Yandle) Foard. He grew up in Charlotte, NC, with his older brother and sister, Erskine, and Dorothy.

Zeke graduated from Harding High School in 1951. He served in the U.S. Army from 1953 to 1955, leaving the service as a Sergeant 1st Class. During his service, he trained cadets at Fort Jackson, in Richland, SC, in weapons qualifications and marksmanship.

He married Nancy Kathleen Grady on January 12, 1952. The newspaper noted, in the classy style of the day, that the couple would live in Charlotte “after a trip South.”

He and Nancy grew the local sign company they bought from her father, Ernest D. Grady, into a thriving regional operation. By 1984, when Zeke was named Small Business Enterpriser of the Year by the Charlotte Observer, signArt boasted 35 employees and revenues of $1.5 million. Zeke, ever full of wit and a wry sense of humor, often said he loved working at the company but he really wished his damned boss would let him have a day off once in a while.

When he did manage to take a day off, he enjoyed sailing his green-hulled Tartan sailboat on Lake Norman, or showing his classic restored Morris Minor’s at car shows. His grandsons’ fondly recall weekends with Zeke in the classic cars and on the sailboat.

He was an avid fly fisherman, traveling to fish in some of the most pristine fishing spots available; across the Carolinas, from the coast to the mountains, as well as the wilderness of Alaska and many other spots in between. He was part of a group of fishing buddies and surely whatever happened on those trips...stayed on the trip! He always came home happy.

A memorial service will be held at Unitarian Universalist Community Church, where Zeke was a founding member and frequent attendee, at 2:00 p.m. in Charlotte, on June 15.

In lieu of flowers, you may consider a donation in Zeke’s name to the women’s social services organization, Crittenton of Charlotte, whose work Zeke supported throughout his life.

Zeke is survived by his sister, Dorothy “Dot” Perry, of Columbia, SC; his three children, Tim Foard (Brandy), of Kill Devil Hills, NC; Kathleen Foard Davies (Tim), of Marshall, NC; and Matt Foard (Patricia), of Charlotte, NC; 12 grandchildren throughout NC and across the country, including AK, CO, FL, NYC, PA, SD, and WA; and eight great-grandchildren.

Online condolences may be made at HankinsandWhittington.com.

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We are deeply sorry for your loss ~ the staff at Hankins and Whittington Funeral Services
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