The Heart of Kernersville: Jan and Wade Hampton

By NJ Clausen

Hello and Happy Fall! It is such a pleasure to introduce you to various members of our community each month, and to share their different stories. This month is a double bonus, as I invite you to meet Jan and Wade Hampton.

In May of this year, Jan and Wade celebrated 40 years of marriage. When asked what they believe contributed to the success of their marriage, Jan said that they were lucky, and the reason that people get married will determine how successful the marriage will be. She added that long term responsibility is a lot more important than a cute moustache. Wade added that they have a lot of common interests, and they enjoy being around each other every day.

Jan and Wade met at Wake Forest University, and although vaguely familiar with each other, they became friends when working as editors on publications their senior year. They started dating the following year.

Jan grew up just outside of Washington, DC and went to college with the intent of going into journalism. Jan worked as a corporate writer for Hanes for over 25 years, with a break in the middle to work with United Way as the Vice President of Marketing. Jan chuckled as she recounted having packages of treats delivered that included 20 different kinds of cookies, cheesecakes, and brownies that she needed to sample enough of each to write about…in just two days! Jan also managed teams of people and was responsible for managing the process of photo shoots.

Wade grew up in Asheville and as both of his parents were teachers, he also had an interest in teaching. After Wake Forest, Wade continued his education and acquired his master’s degree at UNC. Wade stayed in education for his entire career, a career he really enjoyed. He worked mostly in Guilford County schools where he began as a teacher at Guilford Middle School and ended as a Principal at Millis Road Elementary then at Jesse Wharton Elementary.

At the start of their married life, Jan and Wade lived at Oak Ridge Military Academy where Wade was teaching for a couple of years before moving to Kernersville in 1985. This was a perfect location for them, as each travelled different directions for work.

For many years, Wade has been involved with different vision committees. Most recently he attended a meeting of the implementation group for ‘Onward Kernersville’ which looks at where Kernersville has been and where it is going. While it is true that many enjoy the hometown feel, they also want the larger town amenities and the choices offered for culture, shopping, and dining. He pointed out that while keeping the old traditions, there is a willingness to adopt new ideas.

Jan likes the progressiveness that has happened over the years, especially that there is no need to travel out of town to have a celebratory meal or buy a pair of jeans. Having grown up in the D.C. area, Jan was used to a lot of stimulation in the environment. She used to tell newcomers who came from more urban places that it was by considering the entire Triad as your playing field that you could find restaurants, theatre, and cultural events. Now that they have lived here for close to four decades, Jan cherishes the relationships that have been formed over the years. Neighbors, church friends, parents met through school meetings… it is rare to go to the supermarket and not know someone. Wade added that they have had some of the same neighbors for over 30 years! He has been on the Parks and Recreation Advisory Board for 14 years, and before that, the Pedestrian & Bicycle board. Wade is an avid bicyclist and is excited that the Greenway Development project broke ground. Both Jan and Wade have enjoyed playing tennis, and they appreciate the various diverse groups often enjoying the 4th of July Park. Jan is currently on the WFDD Community Advisory Board and has been in a book club for over 15 years. A fun part of the book club is that they create a dinner or food related event relating to the book. Both are active with their church.

In addition to Covid year, Jan and Wade both had cancer battles to fight. Both are now on the other side, and when asked what they could share, Jan stated that every cancer battle is different and that you need to be patient and find out where your path leads. There will likely be some unexpected paths. Jan was emphatic when she added that this is the time to let people help. Wade is thankful for the support network that surrounded him—his family, friends, church members and the skilled doctors and nurses who found an innovative approach to an unexpected development.

To family, friends and neighbors, Jan and Wade are grateful for all the love and support, especially during this rough year. They encourage people to get involved in the community and help make this a good community for all.

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