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Sid Rancer - Chapel Hill's Iron Man

by Charly Mann 

Sid Rancer was Chapel Hill's steel man. He was also once a member of the Chapel Hill's city council. Sid's first love outside of his family was acting and he was in countless theatrical productions in town, and even played supporting roles in several cult films. I only recall meeting Sid once, and that was when I was eight years old in 1958. I rode my bike across town to visit his home on Bradley Street off Barkley Road to look at a used bicycle basket he had for sale. I am not sure if I bought the basket, but I do remember being impressed with his sales enthusiasm.

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Comments:

nonnie(mays)harvey      7:50 PM Fri 8/12/2011

I remember moving to Ga(very sad day) but Sid Rancer my godfather flew me back to my home ---CHAPEL HILL for my sweet 16th b-day took me out on a date and showed me how a man should treat woman and don't let anyone treat you less than you been treated tonight.I love you sid
 

nonnie(mays)harvey      7:47 PM Fri 8/12/2011

loved that man and his family so very much and glad to say that Sid Rancer is my godfather and his wife Vi,that family is the best of all..
 

larry stephenson      7:05 PM Fri 4/15/2011

I forgot to put the years we played in the junk yard they were :1946-47-48
 

larry stephenson      6:59 PM Fri 4/15/2011

my brother ,hershel &me would play in the rag house in in the junk yard on sun. with alot of other guys.we lived on ramsuer st.
 

Gayle Rancer      1:56 PM Sun 3/20/2011

I'm going to try to find and post some photos of Sid Rancer. Meantime, feel free to visit us on facebook....... the radio station in Hinton is Radioam1380.com streaming 24/7 on the web. A memory of dad that I felt compelled to share on the radio here, was a moment when dad appeared as a guest celebrity on WCHL-AM in Chapel Hill...dedicating a song to daughter, Gayle: "Jim Crotch... Time in a Bottle". I could've knocked his block off!!!! That Croce, dad, NOT CROTCH!" We laughed a lot in this family! Dad had a way of becoming the life of every party. At most parties, especially at our house with cast parties, etc, and at all of Paquita's many fun parties, Sid usually ended up on the piano. I have my Dad's piano, from 1920, here in WV in serious disrepair. Like "Northen Exposure" we need to either catapult it into the New River OR bury me in it! It would cost more than a car to restore it, but it would make one nice box! It's a Somer. So sad it's has seen BETTER days than it enjoys here.
 

Elizabeth Williams      11:05 AM Sun 3/20/2011

The best production I ever saw on stage or screen of Fiddler on the Roof was with Sid Rancer, and he made the play memorable. I wish he had starred in the movie version.

I had not known until reading this article, and his daughter comments, that Sid was a local businessman. I had just assumed he was a Broadway actor doing work in a local production.
 

Gayle Rancer      9:46 PM Sat 3/19/2011

Sid Rancer...... The most special man ever in my life. I was blessed to have this outstanding man as my dad. He was one of a kind.
 

Gayle Rancer      9:42 PM Sat 3/19/2011

Oh, my Daddy. It's a joy to read about him, and the comments from my "adoptive brother", Bob Jurgensen.
That Playmaker's production Kai directed was the Danish version of "The Taming of the Shrew". Bob's sister (Kai's stepdaughter, Debbie) and I were also cast as "pages"...and wore the cutest, silliest costumes. My name, in the play, was "Sugar Sop"...and when my Dad, Sid, gave me a collie puppy in the early 70s, I had to name her "Sugar Sop". It was a FUN production. Sid played a drunk, who was in bed in the middle of the stage while the entire play was put on FOR HIM. It was a very funny version.
Sid (Dad) was so talented, and "so much in one package". He was also a lot of fun. He was a businessman, an artist, an actor, a politician...way too honest politician... and a great dad. He put his family first......and we had lots of fun together. He loved his boat, and we spent many, many weekends at the coast on the cabin cruiser. Then, the passion became art metal, and we spent lots of weekends at art shows. Then, the passion became politics, and we spent a lot of time in meetings. THEN, acting. His wish was to become a professional actor in his fifties. He announced he was going to star as Tevye in 'Fiddler on the Roof", and he was going to give himself two years to star in that play. Running lines became my sister's job...helping Dad learn to memorize his parts in different plays. He DID it. He was among only 6 professional actors in the entire world starring as Tevye! It was the perfect part for him. His first theatrical experience was the lead in the Durham Theatre Guild's "Born Yesterday", a perfect part for him then! After all, he was a scrap metal processor, "reclamation engineer" as he would remind us. His passion for recycling was a constant. In first grade, he helped me write a little paper about recycling and bauxite mining. If everyone would recycle aluminum, he would say, there would be no need for mining more bauxite. He was a wonderful father, an incredible person, my inspiration. I named my daughter Sydney. I miss my dad so much.

I was 16 when my dad took me to Raleigh one afternoon, to a production studio, where I recorded my first radio commercial with Charlie Gaddy and earned my first $15 in radio. My passion was writing. Dad directed me toward applying with the 'Durham Sun' to write a weekly column in the newspaper about Chapel Hill High School. So, as a teenager I was writing and recording. In fact, Bob Jurgensen's mother, Paquita, was my mentor. In college, I was again directed into broadcasting. That led to a wonderful broadcasting journalism career with WPTF-AM, WQDR-FM and WRDU-FM. As a hobby I began playing with metalsmithing, and, my dad and mom helped me learn about metals and propelled me into a career as a jewelry designer and producer. I find myself following in my father's footsteps in so many ways. His spirit gives me self confidence. After nearly 20 years of precious self-employment, a new opportunity in broadcasting arose here in Hinton, West Virginia, and I have returned to my writing and on air career. I'll once again enjoy metalsmithing as a hobby, and will continue to do a few shows and market my work through Tamarack in Beckley, WV.
 

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Bite Sized Facts Link



Chapel Hill is located on a hill whose only distinguishing feature in the 18th century was a small chapel on top called New Hope Chapel. This church was built in 1752 and is currently the location of The Carolina Inn. The town was founded in 1819, and chartered in 1851.

 

 

What is it that binds us to this place as to no other? It is not the well or the bell or the stone walls. or the crisp October nights. No, our love for this place is based upon the fact that it is as it was meant to be, The University of the People.

-- Charles Kuralt

 

 

Dark Side of the Hill -- Pink Floyd, the creators of the most popular album in history, Dark Side of the Moon, took the second half of their name from Floyd Council, a Chapel Hill native, and great blues singer and guitarist. He once belonged to a group called "The Chapel Hillbillies".

 

 

Check out Charly Mann's other website:
Oklahoma Birds and Butterflies

http://oklahomabirdsandbutterflies.com

 



We need your help. Send your submissions, ideas, photos, and questions to CHMemories@gmail.com.

 

 

 

 

There would probably be no Chapel Hill if the University of North Carolina Board of Trustees in 1793 had not chosen land across from New Hope Chapel for the location of the university. By 1800 there were about 100 people living in thirty houses surrounding the campus.

 

 

The University North Carolina's first student was Hinton James, who enrolled in February, 1795. There is now a dormitory on the campus named in his honor.

 

 

 

 

The University of North Carolina was closed from 1870 to 1875 because of lack of state funding.

 

 

 

 

William Ackland left his art collection and $1.25 million to Duke University in 1940 on the condition that he would be buried in the art museum that the University was to build with his bequest. Duke rejected this condition even though members of the Duke Family are buried in Duke Chapel. What followed was a long and acrimonious legal battle between Ackland relatives who now wanted the inheritance, Rollins College, and the University of North Carolina, each attempting to receive the funds. The case went all the way to the United States Supreme Court, and in 1949 UNC was awarded the money for the museum. Ackland is buried near the museum's entrance. When the museum first opened, in the early sixties, there were rumors that his remains were leaking out of the mausoleum.

 

 

The official name of the Arboretum on the University of North Carolina campus is the Coker Arboretum. It is named after Dr. William Cocker, the University's first botany professor. It occupies a little more than five acres. It was founded in 1903.

 

 

Chapel Hill's main street has always been called Franklin Street. It was named after Benjamin Franklin in the early 1790s.

 

 



We need your help. Send your submissions, ideas, photos, and questions to CHMemories@gmail.com.

 

 

Chapel Hill High School and Chapel Hill Junior High were on Franklin Street in the same location as University Square until the mid 1960s.

 

 

The Colonial Drug Store at 450 West Franklin Street was owned and operated by John Carswell. It was famous for a fresh-squeezed carbonated orange beverage called a "Big O". In the early 1970s, I managed the Record and Tape Center next door, and must have had over 100 of those drinks. The Colonial Drug Store closed in 1996.

 

 

Sutton's Drugstore, which opened in 1923, has one of the last soda fountains in the South. It is one of the few businesses remaining on Franklin Street that was in operation when I was growing up in the 1950s.

 

 

Future President Gerald Ford lived in Chapel Hill twice. First when he was 24, in 1938, he took a law couse in summer school at UNC. He lived in the Carr Building, which was a law school dormitory. At the same time, Richard Nixon, the man he served under as Vice President, was attending law school at Duke. In 1942, Ford returned to Chapel Hill to attend the U.S. Navy's Pre-Flight School training program. He lived in a rental house on Hidden Hills Drive.

 

 

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