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Who is Buddy Kemp?

The story behind our cancer coping center

When you come to our Buddy Kemp Cancer Support Center, you’re entering a space designed to help you and your family in the times following a diagnosis. The story behind Buddy and this compassionate cancer center is one we like to share – so you know exactly how dedicated we are to supporting you.

Who was Buddy Kemp?

Francis “Buddy” Kemp was president of NCNB Corporation (the 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 his family, NationsBank committed $250,000 to Novant Health Presbyterian Medical Center to build and operate a cancer caring house to serve as an education and resource center for cancer patients and their families.

Francis “Buddy” Kemp was born Sept. 10, 1940, and 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. In 1967, he joined National Bank of North Carolina (NCNB) as a credit analyst, beginning a successful and distinguished 22-year career with a company that was to become one of the most prominent banking companies in the country.

From the beginning, Buddy was destined for success at NCNB. In 1968, he was one of 20 “up and coming” young bank leaders recruited as a part of NCNB’s “Young Turks,” who were charged with the responsibility of influencing the emerging culture of a growing NCNB.

Rising through the ranks, Buddy took over the NCNB retail group in 1977. He also served as chairman of VISA USA, and in 1983 he became president of National Bank of North Carolina. In 1985, he 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. Shortly after moving to Texas, he became ill, and in November 1990, at age 50, he passed away.

Buddy’s family included his wife, Ginger, their two children, Frank and Elizabeth, and a brother David. He was often credited with advancing affirmative action policies, family leave and child-care programs. Friends and colleagues attribute his success to his intelligence and tireless energy. Good humor and warmth complemented his professional skills and engendered strong personal affection and loyalty.

During his lifetime, Buddy was also very active in community affairs in North Carolina and Texas, serving as a trustee of his alma mater, Davidson College, and as a member of the Association of Reserve City Bankers. He served as a 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 Kemp touched many people in his brief but full life. It is the hope of NationsBank (now Bank of America) and Novant Health that the Buddy Kemp Cancer Support Center, named in his honor, will enable the spirit and warmth of Francis “Buddy” Kemp to continue to touch the lives of thousands of his 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.