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Who was Buddy Kemp?

The story behind our cancer coping center

photo of Buddy Kemp

Francis "Buddy" Kemp was president of NCNB Corporation (formerly North Carolina National Bank, a predecessor of Bank of America) when he died of brain cancer at age 50. To recognize Buddy’s commitment to his profession, NCNB, his community and family, NationsBank committed $250,000 to Novant Health Presbyterian Medical Center (NHPMC) to build and operate a cancer caring house to serve as an education and resource center for cancer patients and their families.

Buddy was raised in Reidsville, N.C. He earned a bachelor’s degree in history from Davidson College in 1962 and a master’s degree in business administration from Harvard University. In 1967, he joined NCNB as a credit analyst and became one of 20 “up and coming” bank leaders recruited as a part of NCNB’s “Young Turks,” charged with the responsibility of influencing the bank's emerging culture  and growth.

Rising through the ranks, Buddy took over the NCNB retail group in 1977. He served as chairman of VISA USA, and in 1985 became president of NCNB Corp. Following NCNB’s acquisition of the largest bank in Texas, the failed First Republic Bank Corp., Buddy was named president in 1988.

During his lifetime, Buddy was also very active in community affairs in North Carolina and Texas, serving as trustee of his alma mater, Davidson College, and as a member of the Association of Reserve City Bankers. He served as director of the Greater Dallas Chamber of Commerce and the Dallas Citizen’s Council. In North Carolina, Buddy served as a director of the North Carolina Citizens for Business and Industry, the Charlotte Uptown Development Corp. and the United Way of Central Carolinas. He was also president/chairman of Spirit Square Arts Center, the Arts and Science Council of Charlotte-Mecklenburg, the North Carolina Symphony, the Charlotte Chamber of Commerce and the North Carolina Bankers' Association.

Buddy became ill shortly after moving to Texas and died in November 1990. His surviving family members included his wife, Ginger, their two children, Frank and Elizabeth, and his brother David. While his good humor and warmth complemented his professional skills and engendered strong personal affection and loyalty, Buddy is often credited with advancing affirmative action policies, family leave and child care programs. Friends and colleagues attribute his success to his intelligence and abundant energy. He touched many people in his brief but full life. It is the hope of NCNB and Novant Health that the Buddy Kemp Cancer Support Center enables the spirit and warmth of Buddy's memory to continue touching the lives of thousands of fellow citizens faced with the frightening experience of cancer.

Donate to the Novant Health Buddy Kemp Cancer Support Center

Our center relies on the generous support of individuals and organizations throughout our community so we can keep our services free for everyone.

Our center relies on the generous support of individuals and organizations throughout our community so we can keep our services free for everyone.

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