Evelyn Lloyd: Paving the way for women in Hillsborough

Lloyd marks over 25 years of service with the town board 

Evelyn Lloyd is determined, an advocate for this town and for the residents she has grown up around and come to love.

In December 2016, she marked 25 years of service on the Town Board of Commissioners, to which she was elected in 1991, and was also recently recognized for her 41 years of service to the Historic Hillsborough Commission, a position she has held since the mid-1970s.

Born and bred in Hillsborough, she walked along the streets where the now-vintage downtown signs held their original stores and where Hillsboro High School was still in operation.

Her family’s roots in the town date back to the 1800s, and she spoke of the days when her grandfather owned a grocery store and would take horse and carriage rides through town on Sundays and say hello to friends and neighbors as they rested on their porches. 

If Lloyd has deep roots in the town and knows it intimately, the town knows her just as well – she has been a mainstay downtown, having worked alongside her father Allen Lloyd at James Pharmacy and then at Lloyd’s Pharmacy, which she now runs herself. 

Whether it is for working over 30 years at Lloyd’s, or if it’s from her involvement with numerous boards over the years and the way she approaches subjects and projects she is passionate about, Lloyd is herself a local historical beacon. 

Read this article on The News of Orange County website

A Woman in Power

First serving on the Historic Hillsborough Commission for about 10 years, she simultaneously served on the Orange County Board of Elections, and as the Chairperson of the Health Board, a title she held for six years. She also served at points on the advisory board for the Orange County Human Relations Commission and was on the NC Pharmaceutical Association Board.

In 1965 she graduated from the UNC-Chapel Hill School of Pharmacy, and in 1981 was the first woman to be elected as the President of the North Carolina Board of Pharmacy.

“The Dean of Pharmacy school gave me a lot of encouragement, and he told me I should run for the Board of Pharmacy and I said, ‘I’ll never win,’ and he said, ‘Yes you will, I know you will,’” Lloyd said. “So I won! And he said, ‘I didn't think you would!’”

“[The Dean] was really a good influence, but maybe it’s because he taught Daddy,” Lloyd said. “Or maybe he saw a spark of light, I don’t know.” 

This was no flash in the pan – Lloyd was re-elected the following term, and continued to be a community leader for women in leadership positions. 

“The Board of Pharmacy was very interesting because they had never dealt with a woman before,” she said. “There was one board member who didn’t speak to me for the first year … but when he saw that I was going to work hard, and had to, he began speaking to me. 

“I guess the most exciting moment, if you can say that, was when I got into an argument with a guy who didn’t pass the state board, though he had taken it three or four times,” Evelyn said. “He didn’t like women … So I’m here, I’m president of the board, and he said we aren’t grading his exam right. We showed him the exam, and he got very agitated and said, ‘Who are you?’ and I said, ‘I’m the president of the board,’ and he said, ‘You can’t be. You’re a secretary. You can’t be president – there are no women on this board.’ and then he said, ‘Go sit in the corner.’

“I called him out of order and he got mad and he left,” she said.

Lloyd never let incidents like this bother her much, and has been honored with three different pharmacy awards during her career. The first, from Pharmacy School was The Pharmacy Senate Award, the second, the Bowl of Hygeia, and lastly, in 2013, she was awarded the Samuel Burrus Award for Community Service for should outstanding service outside the scope of regular pharmacy practice.

The Lloyd duo, father and daughter

In 1940, Allen Lloyd finished pharmacy school at Chapel Hill and worked as a pharmacist at James Pharmacy until Mr. James died in 1952. Allen continued to operate the store, and once Evelyn graduated, and worked there for a time, they decided to open their own pharmacy in 1986. 

Evelyn primarily paved and paid the way for Lloyd’s Pharmacy, finding the space, opening it on limited funds, and paying back the money borrowed.

Allen had been elected to the Town Board in the 1960s, and during his last term in 1991, Evelyn joined in as well, actually filing for candidacy only 10 minutes before the noon deadline because she was waiting to see if anyone else would run and provide competition.

“As a pharmacist I guess [my father] got so many complaints that he decided he would run for Town Board,” she said. “He was very quiet, he was soft spoken and I’m a little more ... outspoken, obviously … but we had the same approach, being pharmacists, with people talking to you in town.”

The Lloyds were accessible and involved, making them a voice and advocate for the residents of the town. 

They both dipped their feet in many different areas, and Allen even wound the old courthouse clock and kept it running for over 30 years, “until he couldn’t climb up there anymore,” Evelyn said. 

“Later the clock stopped and I kept at it until we got our committee to have the clock taken to New York to be cleaned,” she said. “It hadn't been cleaned since the early 1800s.”

Allen came to the pharmacy everyday and sat and talked to customers as he grew older, and until he passed away. 

Continuing to stand out

Evelyn has helped and succeeded in, quite literally, a lifetime of accomplishments within this small town.

“I’m determined. If I want something, I’m not going to sit back and not fight for it,” she said.

She is proud of the improved infrastructure of the town, from the documentation of all sewer and water lines, to the fostered renewal and growth of the Fairview community and its park. She’s proud of a recently purchased fire truck with a ladder. 

“People keep saying, ‘Why do you keep working?’” Lloyd said. “Well, what am I going to do? I’m not a good gardener, so I wouldn’t be much help in the Garden Club, Idon’t particularly like playing cards, and I’m not really a social [person], so I don’t know what I would do … I’ve [also] got a cat to look after for goodness sake,” Lloyd said, laughing. 

The pharmacy shelves hold framed images collected over the years: one features her dwarfed beside 7-foot-tall former UNC standout Eric Montross – her cat “Z” is named for a different 7-footer, Tyler Zeller – and another frame holds the proof of purchase document from when her parents bought 66 acres of land, the tallest point of the mountain for preservation and protection from mining projects, now included in Occoneechee State Natural Area. And of course, one holds her prized degree from the UNC Pharmacy School.

As afternoon sun beamed in the window and regular customers began to roll in, they all spoke as close friends, and laughed about the times Evelyn “saved their lives,” knowing which medicines and doctors to recommend. 

“I enjoy the town a lot, but it’s a good deal of worry sometimes,” Lloyd said. “But the longer I’ve served, I’ve learned I may worry about it, but I don’t lose sleep over it.

“People will come in and be very upset, and you try your best to help,” she continued. “I enjoy trying to help somebody and I enjoy fighting for a cause. I don’t always win, though I give it my best.”