Mr. Everett Leo Mast, age 84, of Sugar Grove passed away Sunday evening, July 15, 2012. Born February 8, 1928 in Sugar Grove, he was a son of the late Vardry Ben and Dora Schell Mast. Leo was a retired attorney and a US Army Veteran.
Leo was honored in 2011 among the first inductees in the Watauga County Democratic Party’s Hall of Fame. His award citation read:
Leo Mast is a native of Sugar Grove in Watauga County, descending from a long line of Mast postmasters in the Sugar Grove Post Office. The P.O. was established by his great-great grandfather John Mast in 1837. Leo never missed a single day of school and was never late, and that was after a 4 a.m. job every day delivering the Asheville Citizen-Times to the neighborhood. In 7th grade, he took up the clarinet. He was a member of the Cove Creek High School’s first graduating class in 1945, joined the Army in 1946 and became a paratrooper, and then entered Appalachian Teachers College in 1948, going on in 1954 to the Duke Law School. He worked for many years in Washington, D.C. and in Atlanta for the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. In the early 1990s, Leo moved back to Sugar Grove, became deeply involved in historic preservation and in the Democratic Party. He spearheaded the formation of the Cove Creek Community Council and worked to preserve the WPA-era stone Cove Creek School building from destruction. Thanks in part to Leo’s efforts, the old Cove Creek School is now on the National Register of Historic Places and is home to the Doc & Merle Watson Museum, the Sugar Grove Developmental Day School, and The Jung Tao School and Clinic of Chinese Medicine. We are so very pleased to honor him among the first members of our “Hall of Fame”!
Born in Ruston, Louisiana, Dr. Dorgan received a B.A.degree in speech and theater (the University of Texas-El Paso), a M.F.A.degree in theater (the University of Texas-Austin), and a Ph.D. in speech communication (Louisiana State University). He joined the Appalachian State University (ASU) faculty in 1971, remaining with the Department of Communication until his retirement in 2000.
During his time at ASU, he studied Southern rhetoric, later pursuing research in Appalachian religious studies. A prolific writer and esteemed scholar, Dr. Dorgan authored fifty journal articles, book chapters, and encyclopedia entries. His thoughtful writings about Central Appalachian Baptist communities resulted in numerous books and awards, including the 1993 Thomas Wolfe Literary Award for his book “Airwaves of Zion.” A beloved teacher and respected faculty member, he received the 1993 College of Fine and Applied Arts Outstanding Faculty Award.
Dr. Dorgan also served as president of Appalachian Studies Association, president of Southern States Communication Association, and editor of “Southern Communication Journal.” He was a loyal and dedicated Democrat, serving as precinct chair for many terms and as the County Convention parliamentarian.