On July 31, 2004, Beverly Anne Jurgensen passed away. Miss Jurgensen’s passing has left a void in the North Carolina Azalea Festival family that will never be filled. The Azalea Festival Officers made the decision to name the North Carolina Azalea Festival Scholarship’s award in memory of Miss Jurgensen because of her astounding 49 years of devotion and service to the North Carolina Azalea Festival. In 1992, Miss Jurgensen became the first female president of the Azalea Festival. Prior to 1992, Miss Jurgensen served as the secretary of the Azalea Festival for an incredible 25 years from 1965-1990. During this same period, Miss Jurgensen also served as house manager of the Azalea Festival. After watching the first Azalea Festival parade in 1948, she served as a celebrity escort for the Festival the following year. In 1950, Miss Jurgensen became the first parade messenger. Even after completing her term as president of the 1992 Azalea Festival, Miss Jurgensen continued to serve as a member of the Festival Board of Directors from 1993 to 1996. For the Azalea Festival’s 50th Anniversary in 1997, Miss Jurgensen was instrumental in compiling a historical compilation of the event’s first fifty years.

In addition to her remarkable contributions to the Azalea Festival, Miss Jurgensen worked in her family’s trucking business, ultimately becoming a partner and general manager for 22 years. After parting from the trucking industry, Miss Jurgensen worked for approximately 28 years as Director of Human Resources for the Wilmington Star-News. Miss Jurgensen was the first female member of the Lower Cape Fear Personnel Association and eventually became its first female president.

Despite her long hours of work in her career and for the Azalea Festival, Miss Jurgensen still found the time to serve on boards of many civic and community organizations including the City of Wilmington Safety Advisory Board; American Red Cross; Employment Security Advisory Board; Family Services Board; Beta Sigma Phi sorority; and, the Hospitality Board for New Hanover Regional Medical Center. Miss Jurgensen was also an active member of St. Paul’s Luthern Church.

It is the hope of the Azalea Festival family that all young ladies competing in the North Carolina Azalea Festival Scholarship Pageant will strive for success in all aspects of their lives. There is no better example and role model of a wonderful and successful life than that of Miss Jurgensen. The North Carolina Azalea Festival will always remember Beverly Anne Jurgensen for her love and dedication to its and the community’s continued well-being, and to her success in life as a person and as a professional.

The Past Princess Endowment fund has been made possible by the vision and contribution of Mary Frances All Forrester, the 1956 North Carolina Azalea Festival Princess. She recognizes from her own experience the value and the impact such a scholarship can have on a student’s life.

Mary Frances Forrester’s generous gift to the North Carolina Azalea Festival is the initial donation to an endowment fund established to assist with the scholarship for the future North Carolina Azalea Festival Princesses. The Festival is honored to name the endowment the “Past Princess Scholarship Fund, founded by Mary Frances All Forrester.” The Azalea Festival Board of Directors and the more than 1,000 Festival volunteers are very thankful for this contribution. It is because of generosity like Mrs. Forrester’s that the Azalea Festival continues to be an event that Wilmington, and all of North Carolina, are proud to call our own.

Mary Frances All Forrester earned the title of North Carolina Azalea Festival Princess in 1956. She graduated from New Hanover High School in 1957, and went on to Butler University in Indianapolis, Indiana, Wake Forest University, and Bowman Gray School of Cytotechnology. She has worked as both a professional model and cytotechnologist. Mrs. Forrester lives in Stanley, North Carolina with her husband of 42 years, Dr. James S. Forrester, who is a family physician and North Carolina State Senator. She is the mother of four children and has five grandchildren. Mrs. Forrester has been a Sunday School teacher for more than 25 years and has been involved in numerous community organizations including the American Red Cross, Heart Association, St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital, Girl Scouts, North Carolina Medical Society, MADD, and League of Women Voters. She was a principle dancer and artistic director for the Winston Salem Ballet, a choreographer for the Winston Salem Little Theatre, and a preliminary pageant director and judge for Miss America. She is involved in various medical societies and associations including the North Carolina Medical Society Alliance. She is a life member and past president of the Sir Walter Cabinet and has been a Regent for the National Society of Daughters of the American Revolution. Among her numerous awards, honors and distinctions, she was named 2001 Woman of the Year in Gastonia, North Carolina. Mrs. Forrester’s dedication to her community and this state is apparent, and the North Carolina Azalea Festival is proud to be able to call her one of our Past Princesses.